Believe me when I say that living on your own is not as easy as it may seem. This year, I moved into my very first off-campus apartment. I could not have been more excited to have my own space and a place to officially call home in Amherst. However, within a week of move-in, I soon realized that there is more to living alone than binging Netflix with my roommate. There is almost always cleaning to be done, and I have been cooking most of my own meals, which has left me exhausted by the end of the day. One of the biggest challenges about living on my own is that there is no one to hold me accountable for my school work or chores.
I have definitely had to readjust my routines since moving into my apartment and make more time in my day for things that I am not used to doing at home. I have been very fortunate that my parents have cared for me my entire life and still do whenever I go home. So, moving out for college was a bit of a wake-up call! I find that for me, if I can take the time, cleaning before I do my school work is better than after. I prefer working in a clean environment and tend to lose my focus more if I feel things are cluttered. Keeping the apartment clean helps me keep a healthy lifestyle.
Doing dishes is probably my least favorite thing to do, but when cooking every night, the time ultimately comes where I have to clean those dishes. I tend to do the dishes immediately or soon after eating. That way, dishes don’t get the chance to pile up. It also means I have clean dishes before making my next meal. It’s up to me, and my roommate, of course, to decide when things get done around the apartment. I have learned through living alone that the only way things will get done is if I am able to hold myself accountable.
In order to hold myself accountable, I have to prioritize my tasks appropriately and build in extra time for these new tasks. Most of the time, I try to save my school work for when I am on campus. By doing this, I don’t have any of the distractions I have at home, such as my couch and the television. I am able to stay focused and work efficiently when I remain on campus to do work. Then, when I get home, I typically make myself a small snack and relax for a bit. This small break gives me the energy I need to complete my “adult” tasks later on. I always make sure that I finish the dishes and any other cleaning before I go to bed. Otherwise, I will wake up to a mess when I’m rushing out of the door. Since modifying my new routine, I definitely find myself keeping up with all that I have to do around the apartment.
Growing up can be hard, but with the right mindset and routine, it can be well worth it. Remember, when living alone, accountability is key!