The time has come and you have bravely packed up the room in which you have spent the last seventeen to eighteen years. Clothes, memories, comfort items all packed into whatever shape bag you can fit them in. You might have spent a few days convincing yourself that you must certainly do need the four pairs of identical jeans, or that jacket that you never wear. Your mother perhaps will have hovered in the background, adding “essentials” to her own shopping every week, “You never know when that jumbo bottle of bleach will come in handy”. You will both have forgotten that you will probably be home every weekend to be fed and your washing was done. Your Dad will have uttered the words “Do you really need all this lot?” on more than one trip to the car boot with your stuff.
Overnight you have left behind the life you have known and now you need to find your own feet so here are some of my tips on moving away from home for the first time:
1. Choose the right place to live.
View more than one room in more than one house. The house with the private bedroom with en-suite might just be a room with a door that locks, but that en-suite might just be a toilet in the actual room. With such shortages in student accommodation now it might be an advantage to start looking for rooms from the time you get the CAO offers.
2. Consider your roommates.
Meet the people who are going to live in your potential home for the year. You might find that the girl who rooms next door is a snorer or likes to play loud music all night, regardless of your requests to turn it off. I get that you aren’t always going to have a million things in common with your roommates, but if you do click then it’s magic.
3. Establish a routine.
Okay, this might sound boring but even having a rough idea of a routine for your evenings will be a big help in those first few evenings in your new digs. Unfortunately, with this the dreaded word – budget – will rear its head! Unless you are lucky to have balanced a part-time job or your mammy has packed your food bag with the essentials for the week, you will need to consider how much you need to set back to feed yourself. Apples in Cider do not count as one of your five a day and hops in Canadian don’t count as cereal.
4. Go out!
It is the first time you will live away from home. You will not have the mammy twitching the curtains to see who’s bringing you home or uttering a disapproving tut when you come in when the sun is coming up.
5. Send your mammy a text.
Let her know that you are okay and that you haven’t run out of clean underwear and you are managing to feed yourself on time. Buffer some of your tales to her, she won’t need to know that you haven’t gone to a 9 is lecture during RAG week. (I am not encouraging skipping classes, by the way).
No matter what advice you get, you will make living away from home your own experiences. Enjoy every second of it. It’s the first of many adventures moving out of your mammy’s nest will bring.