Four things I’ve learned from living on my own

(Graphic by Grace Needham | Collegian Media Group)

From growing up living with my mom to living in the dorms to living in a sorority house, I have always lived in a situation with little responsibility. Now, living in an apartment on my own, I have to adjust and create a routine to keep my college experience special. These are the top four tips that make living on your own easier.

  1. Assign tasks to specific days 

One of my most valuable tips is to establish a routine with distinct tasks for each day. At first, with tasks like cleaning and dishes, it was easy to put things on the back burner in the chaos of college life. To avoid this, I decided to assign specific tasks to certain days. For example, Mondays are for cleaning my room, Tuesdays are for laundry and Sundays are for grocery shopping. This not only keeps me on track and keeps me from forgetting tasks, but it also keeps things from piling up at the end of the week.

  1. Stay involved on campus

Moving from group housing, where I was surrounded by tons of people, to an apartment was a big adjustment. I felt like I lost a sense of belonging on campus and found it easy to spend a lot of time at home. I decided to make the conscious choice to stay involved and connected. Joining clubs and attending campus events helped me to fill my social cup when needed. My biggest suggestion is to find weekly activities you enjoy so you have a recurring reason to stay involved.

  1. Embrace alone time

Involvement is important, but it isn’t realistic to be social all the time. Living alone presents you with the perfect opportunity for self-exploration and growth. I started to use the time I had to rest, recharge and explore my interests. Having time to spend with yourself is as important as your time with other people. I learned to embrace the chance to pick up hobbies I might not have. Now, I feel like I am much more equipped to take on life after college.

  1. Budget, budget, budget!

Managing finances was a completely new thing for me. I always saved money for things like getting a coffee with friends, but never for electricity. In the dorms and the sorority house, these costs were already factored into what I was paying. Moving into my apartment, I learned how to budget for rent, groceries and other expenses. While this is something I’m still learning how to tackle, my best advice is to get a budget-tracking app. Tracking my extra expenses helped me cut down, making it a lot easier to pay for necessities.

All in all, my first experience living in an apartment was an invaluable growth opportunity. The things I learned developed me into a more responsible and prepared person. At the same time, I’ve learned how to stay involved and enhance my college experience. Living in an apartment during college might not be for everyone, but the lessons I’ve learned are amazing.