Author: Tulsi Mali

The Leap to Adulthood: Tips to Being Successful

Tulsi's roommates and friends celebrating Friendsgiving
Tulsi’s roommates and friends celebrating Friendsgiving

Often we think of turning 21 as the big step to adulthood, however, there is a key element which is vital to becoming an adult: being able to take care of yourself. Freshman year it is typical that people move into a one room dorm with a meal plan. However, at some point, there are no options for dorms and no pre-made food there for you to eat whenever you want. That is the true leap to adulthood, when you move into an apartment and have to cook and clean for yourself.

Taking care of yourself seems pretty straight forward, you’ve been doing it all your life. But what about when it’s just you, a student with minimal income and no time for anything except studying and Netflix? As one of the many students who has taken this step, here are some things that I’ve learned in my first year living in an apartment:

  1. Food Budget: With a part-time job only providing a small income, it is EXTREMELY important to budget. I plan out my dinners weekly so I can have efficient shopping trips and keep myself from buying extra food. It is also important to factor in other costs such as buying coffees or going out to eat, as it can add up pretty fast.
  2. Cleaning Schedule: Living with roommates can be difficult, but sharing an apartment with multiple people can be even more frustrating. It is important to set up a schedule for cleaning everything from pots and pans to taking out the trash. You should remember that people grew up with different habits, so you should all be on the same page about how to keep things tidy.
  3. Enjoy yourself! Having my own room in college for the first time has reminded me of how great it is to hang out alone. Me time is always a good idea, it gives you time to de-stress and enjoy your hobbies. As usual, its important to manage your time between school work and you time.
  4. Stay social. Living in an apartment is cozy and can lead to becoming anti-social after discovering how great it is to have your own space. Make sure to still get out there and see people, whether its cooking with your roommates or going out to a basketball game with friends. I can say that I have learned so much from my roommates this year, its been great learning about their cultures and experiencing their food.
  5. Make it your own. Have fun decorating your apartment! I spent a lot of time on Pinterest finding things I wanted to make. DIY is the cheapest option when on a budget, as well as yard sales if you’re looking for furniture. Make your apartment an expression of who you are and enjoy doing it with by making things with friends and family.

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Peer Motivation – Driving Yourself to Achieve More

Pre-Dental Society
Tulsi and other members of the UConn Pre-Dental Society at the Yankee Dental Conference in Boston (January 2016).

Growing up I’ve always known that my purpose in life is to help others; that is how I decided on my career goal of becoming a dentist. Throughout my academic career I have been involved in volunteer work in a range of areas from soup kitchens to medical clinics. Seeing the impact my actions have on improving the life of others is the driving force which keeps me dedicated to being my best. If I can bring a smile to even one person’s face, then all the work I did was worth it. Despite the gratification I received through service, there was still something that made me feel like I wasn’t reaching my full potential. It wasn’t until college though that I found that extra something, a new source of motivation.

In high school you interact with people who have a range of interests and may never meet anyone with the same goals as yours; most people haven’t even decided what their interests are yet. It was difficult to find people with a similar passion for service at an age when many people are still unsure of themselves and their goals . I had accepted it as a fact that I would be working in the medical field for the rest of my life. It wasn’t until college that I found that group of people who wanted the same things I did. UConn has united me with a whole other set of friends who want to achieve what I do, which reignited my passion. My first year at UConn I was able to find everything I could ever dream of, people who were interested in the same things I was and friends unlike any other I had met! I was suddenly able to talk about my favorite things with people who were just as excited and proactive!
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