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Tips for Having a Successful Year in Your New Home

So you just settled into your new home for the year and are so excited about a year of new experiences. Whether you live on or off campus, there will always be challenges to overcome in your home. Being a junior, this is my third year in a different living situation. Going from the dorms, to an apartment and now back home with my parents, I took a lot away from my experiences. So here are some of my tips for making your year the best it can be in your new home.


Dorm Life

Welcome to the dorm life, where you live in a small box and take showers in a room with multiple other people in it. This is a brand new experience, and here are some tips to make your room home. I believe that every college student should experience the dorms at least once to get the humbling college experience. When using the bathrooms in the dorms, never forget your shower shoes, and use robes or Velcro towels going to and from the showers, they are lifesavers. Behind the closed door, there will definitely be some tense times in your room, due to the fact you and your roommate practically live on top of each other. Whether it’s getting woken up by your roommate at 6:30am when you don’t have class until 11:00am or your roommate watching a movie when you’re trying to do homework. The best advice I can give, is just communicate with your roommate. Be clear and honest about how you want the year to go because you both share almost everything. Have the serious conversations like when you each go to bed, when should the lights go out, and how much time will you spend with each other. Appreciate the times you have in the dorm because it goes by fast.


Apartment Life

Welcome to your apartment, you are officially an adult paying rent and buying groceries. Being in an apartment can be a high and low in your college career. Even though you have to follow the contract you signed your life over to when you agreed to enter a lease, you have so much more freedom then when you live in the dorms. You’ll get to decorate your room, cook in your kitchen, and maybe even ditch the shower shoes when you use your shower! But there are some things to be prepared for, rent, groceries, and stress. Making rent each month means working hard, giving up freedom, and cutting down on spending money. This is the point where you earn the title, “broke college kid.” This is where roommates become more vital, where you need to have the serious conversations about financial decisions like rent, how groceries will be paid for, how utilities are paid for and the really awkward question, so when are we ending this lease? Being in an apartment will test your friendships, your responsibility and your wallet.


Living with Parents

            Welcome back home kid, you’re back with mom and dad. Don’t worry though, it’s not as bad as you think. I decided to move home after my sophomore year because the dorm and apartment weren’t just the right fit, (and I’m lucky to have my parents so close.) So here’s my thoughts about living at home. My advice is to act like a normal college kid even though your roommates are your parents. Joining clubs is more important than ever to make sure to stay involved on campus, when you don’t live so close anymore. Take advantage of the situation, and use it as a way to meet new people, not just the people you live with. What I’ve learned is that moving home is one of the best decisions I ever made for my mental, emotional and financial state. There’s no doubt that you save a lot of money by moving home and I am taking advantage to save for my future. I have less stress about making rent, dealing with lease contracts, and roommate problems. And having a home cooked meal more often doesn’t hurt anyone. By not having to make rent, I get to work less, and spend more times with clubs, school and friends and giving myself the best college experience I can. So even though people may not be the biggest fan of your decision to move home, if it is the best thing for you, there is no shame in doing so, it is the reality for way more people than you think.

            No matter where you call home, there’s always good to find in the situation. It’s important to explore and find your fit to figure out what the best living situation is for you. Enjoy your time in your space while you can, and no matter where you are living, welcome home.




Erin is currently a senior at UW-La Crosse majoring in Marketing and minoring in Interpersonal Communications. Being born and raised in La Crosse, she can't part with her hometown and her family. Fun-loving and outgoing, Erin smiles every chance she gets!
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