Oh lord, it’s time. You’ve got your life packed into the back of your parent’s minivan; all of your memories -- compiled into boxes bursting at the seams with the memories of your past. It’s happening: You enter the car and go forth into the new world of where you’ll spend the next couple of years -- alone and by yourself, but you’re ready.
Eight months ago, this was me. I had taken all of my self and moved to the big city, leaving everything behind. However, I wasn’t afraid. For me, this was the most anticipated and exciting moment of my life. I couldn’t wait to leave my small, suburban prison that confined me. Yet, I had a lot to learn; I didn’t know what to expect -- I suddenly found myself surrounded by a wall of overwhelming responsibility that I would soon realize made me the person who I am today. Some would take me by surprise, and even knock me into reality -- they are as follows:
1. You have bills.
Yes, having your own space means you have your own finances! Did you really think that you’d be living scot-free? Mommy isn’t there to pay your utilities anymore; remember, you’re on your own. You have responsibilities now! Since you have your own space, you’ll be spending a good amount of your income on bills! This contains (but is not limited to) gas, electric, cable -- the basics that allow you to live comfortably. On top of that, you have rent, and maybe a credit card if you can trust yourself. Good luck budgeting!
2. Grocery shopping becomes a chore on its own.
Oh, did I mention that your parents aren’t there to feed you either? Surrounded by your already insanely busy schedule, you’ll have to find the time to make it to the grocery store. Yes, this includes also learning how to cook; two birds, one stone. You could cop out and go to Chick-Fil-A like I do, but that’s expensive. You’ll end up spending all of your money on someone cooking for you and end up looking like this:
3. What do you mean I have to clean?
It’s noon, and you’ve just kicked everyone out from the night prior. Looking down at your feet, you see there's trash everywhere; it’s like you’ve been placed in your own personal episode of "Hoarders." It’s a hell-sized mountain of cans and cups covered by a cloak of regret and crushed memory -- and you get to clean it! How exciting! Guess who’s around to help you clean it! You and whatever excuse you might make to procrastinate on cleaning ("American Horror Story"?), but it’s much better to clean up in the moment than sit in a pile of filth.
4. Employment is a necessity.
After you’ve realized that all of your antics cost money, you start to realize that you might need to find a way to replenish your cash. This isn’t "Animal Crossing"; money doesn’t grow on trees. You’ll start applying for jobs and might not see any employment coming anytime soon. After eating Ramen and Spaghetti-o’s for a while, you might get an interview or two, but it’s quite the humbling experience when you get the call that you’re hired.
5. Feeling homesick is almost inevitable.
This is by far the most crushing experience -- especially to those of you who live out of your home state. You will miss home, and unfortunately, some of you won’t be able to just take the train home whenever you feel like you need to see your family. You’ll call your family and miss it all: the warmth, the aspect of family. You can’t take it with you when you leave. But life goes on, and you’ll realize that what once was is what you have with you from the memories.
6. What’s an appointment?
It’s the dead of winter and BAM. You’ve caught yourself a wonderful case of the flu, your stomach is doing backflips, and headaches that feel like a cinder block was thrown at your forehead. Who do you think is there to take you to the doctor? Get out of bed, grab your phone and call the doctor- you have to be the one to take the responsibility to drag yourself to the clinic to get some kind of treatment. Don’t worry, though, this too shall pass.
7. No one can tell you what to do anymore.
All of this responsibility and absolutely no one can tell you what to do anymore! You’ll sit there by yourself and wonder how you’ll balance it all. It’s not easy and there is no instruction manual to tell you what you’re supposed to do. You’ll pull through -- it’s quite the challenge, but almost everyone comes out alive in the end.
Sit back, and dream on your own. It’s your life, and neither I nor anyone else can tell you how to live it. These seven things have been some of the struggles that I’ve gone through; I get homesick, lazy, and sometimes even suffer from the occasional fit of unbearable procrastination. Don’t allow yourself to slip into a self-fueled shame spiral, and never amount to the amazing feeling of being self-sufficient. I promise you that you’ll emerge stronger if you do.