Uni student 101 - How to survive your first year out of home
Moving away from the ‘rents to go to uni? Here are a few handy hints to make your first time living out of home one to remember.
Manage your expectations
Living out of home for the first time can be incredibly exciting. However, the harsh realities of domestic life, and living in a house that is less comfortable than your parents’ place, can put a dampener on your new-found freedom. Keep in mind that things might not always go to plan, and sometimes you will need to take time out to do those boring cleaning tasks that keep your home liveable.
Appliances will break/leak/explode, and you’ll inevitably have to wait forever for a visit from a plumber/electrician/real estate agent. But even if your current housing is light-years away from your idea of a dream home, don’t worry – it will still be the backdrop to some of the best times of your life.
Set out boundaries early
There’s only one thing worse than a housemate that steals all of your milk, leaves dishes in the sink for ages and thinks the lounge room is the best place to store all their sporting equipment – a housemate who does all of these things and doesn’t realise that it’s driving you crazy. It’s a good idea to outline what everyone’s expectations are early on, so situations don’t build up and get out of control later. The key to a great share house is communication – and knowing whose turn it is to restock the toilet paper!
Have a schedule
Having a simple cleaning roster can save a lot of heartache and despair for very clean housemates. Knowing when it’s your turn to clean the bathroom might not be that appealing, but anything that keeps harmony in the house is a good thing.
Learn to cook something (that isn’t instant noodles)
Living out of home often opens up a world of culinary opportunity, mainly of the takeaway variety. Embracing the uni student lifestyle (i.e. late nights, lots of social activities) on a uni student budget (i.e. virtually no money at all) can be a struggle, and sometimes cost and convenience can overtake healthy and home-cooked. You won’t be motivated to do it all the time, but even scheduling one night a week to cook a healthy meal at home will do your health, and maybe even your wallet, wonders. You never know, you and your housemates might be even start cooking together, and create some great memories (and even better meals).
Make your new house feel like home
Never underestimate the power of a personal touch in making a space feel more comfortable. Whether it’s your favourite colourful throw rug, or photos of family and friends, items that reflect your personality and make you smile will make your new digs feel less foreign.
Keep your landlord happy
Before planning any large scale decorating, you should make sure you have a look at any conditions on the property you’re living in. Some landlords don’t allow nails to be hammered into walls without prior approval, so make sure you check it’s ok before you start on a poster-hanging spree. It’s also common for landlords to prevent tenants from owning pets in the property, so read the fine print before you bring home that new furry friend. Make sure you know what you can and can’t do under the obligations of your lease, and you’ll be more likely to get your precious bond back.
When you first move out, it can be hard adjusting to living with people who are different to yourself, or your family. Some people are early risers, others are night owls. Some people are wild party animals, while others love a chilled out couch/binge TV session. Whichever camp you fall in, living with others can require a bit of compromise, but it will make you gain valuable skills that will benefit you for years to come. So relax and enjoy the ride!