Graduating college and thinking about life after school can be very scary, but there are several pros of living on your own. I’ve had this idea in my head since freshman year of college: that I would graduate and then move back in with my parents because it would me help save money, I could still get fed home cooked meals, and I wouldn’t need to necessarily be a "responsible adult" just yet. Life doesn’t always go the way we plan, so I ended up doing the opposite and moved out. I’ve been living on my own since July, and now I’m here to share some pros of living on your own!
I have done so much soul searching since I moved out. Seriously, I feel like a completely new person. I’ve realized that even though I considered myself moved out of the house when I left for college, I was still under the mom and dad umbrella of the university. I went to the cafeteria for meals, always had professors there to guide me, and was still told how and when to do things. One of the greatest pros of living on your own is having time to learn about your passions and your dreams and figuring out what needs to be tweaked/changed/improved in order to successfully transform yourself into a new you!
No more meal swipes. No more laundry swipes. No more running to your RA for something. For the first time in 22 years I feel completely responsible for my own actions and it’s been teaching me how to embrace my independence. Now, this may sound scary to most of you…especially those of you still in college or in high school! But believe me when I tell you, from experience, that it’s actually a really exciting new challenge. I had a tendency to call my parents, reach out to a friend, or contact a professor when I was struggling with something because I always wanted approval before I did anything. Yes, I’ll admit, I was one of those people who didn’t really think for myself. I was always too cautious and too afraid to do something on my own in fear of failing or making a mistake. Moving out has made me learn how to think for myself. I wake up every morning and think, "Challenge accepted!"
If you are a shy person or don’t know how to break out of your shell, moving out can be a really great icebreaker for you. For those of you who are outgoing and loud like me, moving out can be a fun new way to make friends. This friendship journey can begin before you even start looking for a new place. Maybe one of your friends has wanted to move out too – why don’t you guys join forces and move in together? Maybe you want to embark on a more challenging journey by putting yourself on the market’to meet someone through a newspaper ad or online? That’s actually how my roommate and I met. After talking back and forth for a while online, we decided to meet at Starbucks and we just really hit it off. Make sure that you don’t pick someone just because – this isn’t college anymore. You don’t need to live with someone you don’t want to live with or be with someone with whom you have nothing in common with. Ask each other questions. See if the two of you share the same view on things: not wanting boyfriends over on weekdays; respecting each others’ privacy; mutually agreeing to keep the place clean. And don’t forget about the neighbors you’ll meet once you move! My roommate and I have become very close friends with the people who live around us.
How many times have you walked into your room and either saw that something was missing or that something was rearranged? If you can still count these instances on your two hands, you are lucky. As much as I love my parents I used to cringe when they’d change something in my room. I appreciated their thought of wanting to help clean and organize, but I felt so violated. I’ll never forget the year I started writing a mystery story only to discover the next day that the pages went missing. I was probably 16 years old when I began writing it. In my mind, ripping the pages out of a notebook, crumbling them to give the pages a texture, and shoving them back into my desk was a good idea. Little did I know it was children-room-cleaning-day the next day! So much for my book-to-be. I’ll never know what could have become of that story… I could have been the next Stephanie Myers!
This pro piggybacks off enjoying your own privacy. Ladies in college, I’m sure you can relate with this: do you feel like you’re 12 years old again when you go home for a break? I know I felt that way when I’d go home and I was never fond of it. I can’t even imagine how different my life would have been if I moved back in with my parents after college. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to disown your parents or forget about them. Moving out has surprisingly brought me closer with them, but the idea of now being able to set my own rules rather than follow theirs has been so liberating. I have to admit, though, that I really respect my parents’ rules and still implement a lot of them: vacuum every day, make sure the kitchen is cleaned, make my bed, clean my room. Bed time, TV time, when and how I decide to clean and run my place, though, has been the best experience. If I choose to stay up and watch a movie «on a work night” I can – Heaven forbid I could do that at home if I still lived with my parents! If I decide to wait a few hours before cleaning the kitchen I can. Basically, setting your own rules rocks!
Yes this freedom exists on campus, but how would your parents feel if you decided on a Thursday night to invite some friends over and blast music, eat junk food, come home late, and cook breakfast at 2 a.m.? I don’t think they’d be on board. But guess what? You have this freedom when you’re living on your own after school. My roommate and I came to the agreement that we wouldn’t have guests come over during the weekdays because she’s finishing her PT degree and I have to get up early for work in the morning. We do, though, have days off or have nothing planned for a night and randomly call up friends to invite over. I’ve had more sleepovers with friends in the last 6 months than I did in the last 6 years.
This is a biggie. I swear, every time I go to my parents’ house to visit something is changed or moved or gone! I don’t like not knowing where things are. When I moved into my condo, I decided where the dishes went, what each drawer was going to store, how my closet was going to be organized, where my shoes would go, what my room would look like…everything! I wouldn’t have had this freedom if I had moved back into my old room where everything has been the same for years. I almost feel trapped or stuck just thinking about a life of sameness… of going back to what I had known for so long. Do you want to know the best part of all? I don’t need to scream "Mom, Dad, where is ****?" anymore, and it’s amazing.
So although your parents are wonderful and moving back in with them after college may make you feel safe, secure, and comfortable, keep in mind that there is a big world out there for you to see and moving out may be that first step you’ll need to take in order to transform yourself into a more perfect you! It can be scary but if you feel ready to take a leap of faith, it will be one of the best decisions you could make for yourself. What is your favorite part about living alone?
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