Unlike most college students, I never had the full college experience. I was a commuter, living at home and going to work when I wasn't in class. I've been doing the same routine in the same house for my entire life—and I've done it with my mom a bedroom over from me, there to offer support when I needed it (and sometimes when I didn't).
This summer, after graduating college, I decided to shake things up, pack myself up and move 10 hours south to Maryland to participate in my first archaeological field school. Because, you know, I like to do things backwards sometimes.
And holy crap, I was not prepared.
I mean yeah, there are basic things I was prepared for. I can cook a mean box of mac and cheese, and I can pick up after myself. I know how to do laundry, and so far I've managed to wake up every day at 6:45 to get ready for the carpool to the site without my mom calling to wake me up which—if you know me—is pretty impressive.
But there's just so, so much that I didn't even think of. There are things that I realized I needed because it just never occurred to me before that I'd have to use it—mostly because my mom always handled it. Basically, my mom is my own little Wonder Woman, and I owe her endless praise for not only giving birth to me but also keeping me alive the past 21 years because honestly, I'm shocked I've survived a whole two weeks on my own with minimal incident.For everyone with both mothers supportive as mine, and common sense as dull as mine, here are 8 things you should know about moving out on your own!
1. You cannot survive off chicken nuggets and mac and cheese.
This was the most disappointing thing I've learned, but after a couple days of this, you'll start to feel sick. Eat a vegetable or something every once in a while.
2. Clorox wipes are your best friend.
Seriously, these things are a miracle—especially if you're like me and get grossed out by unfamiliar furniture you have to live with for extended periods of time!
3. Nobody is there to hold you accountable for anything.
Nobody is there to nag you about cleaning your room, or doing your laundry, or your homework, or getting up on time for work/class… it's all on you. Which is terrifying, because you have no scapegoat if you screw up now.
4. It can get lonely sometimes.
I take for granted how much I'm usually around my family. I always have someone to talk to (or to annoy) if I want to—and even if I don't want to. When you move out on your own, there's a chance you'll have roommates that'll be friendly. Or you'll have roommates that all stick to themselves, like mine. Sometimes we don't realize how much we talk to others in a day until we don't anymore.
5. Nobody is there to tell you what to do.
This is both good and bad. On the one hand, freedom is really nice. Like, really nice. But on the other hand, nobody's there to hold you accountable. See #3.
6. Unless you’re a really good cook, you’ll learn how to appreciate a home cooked meal.
I can never make things quite like my mom does, and it's very frustrating at times.
7. Always expect the unexpected.
My apartment has a small ant infestation in the kitchen. I did not expect this. I'm kicking myself for not thinking about the possibility of bugs in rural Maryland, but at least it's a lesson learned for next time!
8. Make lists of everything.
Okay, if you read my work frequently you're probably sick of me pushing lists for everything. "We get it, you write literally everything down all the time, give it a rest." But hear me out: as much as I love lists, I didn't think to make lists of everything I packed in each box, or lists of what I need to pack in my field bag every day, or anything small like that. I make lists of things to do, not things to bring, but ever since I started making regular packing lists my life has changed for the better. Seriously. Even if it's just before, during and after a move, keep track of what's going where so you don't lose anything!
9. You're going to want to hug your mom more.
Seriously, how did she do this??