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Tips for students living on their own


Living on your own in college can be rewarding. Still, sacrifices must be made along the way, whether you live on campus or not.

In my senior year, I looked for-ward to moving out of my parent‘s house. I would dream of finally being able to come and go as I pleased and bring friends over without asking my parents’ permission.

But I was most excited about the day I could freely blast my favorite music while putting on the best Super Bowl halftime show performance in the shower.

That day finally came, and suddenly, I asked myself, “Wait a minute, why in the world is my water bill $90?” Oh, it must have been those hour-long showers, that’s right.

During the first few weeks of living on my own, I was terrible at taking out the trash bin to the curb the night before collection day.

“Can’t they help a good neighbor out? Jeez,” I would think to myself when I saw everybody else‘s trash bins on the curb.

I can admit I was anxious seeing the dishes piling up. I would be too drained from work and school to wash them and promise I would do them the next day.

So, is this the life? Let me be the first to tell you it is, but you have the power to change the narrative, perhaps to the life you dreamt of.

College is fun, memorable, challenging, but most importantly, transformative. At the end, you will not be the same person you were as an incoming freshman.

Therefore, while you are experiencing all the things you looked forward to in college, please remember it comes with responsibilities meant to transform you into an independent adult.

If there are any takeaways from this story, please let them be the three following tips.

Develop systems. Be honest with yourself about your living situation and assess which areas need improvement. Then, create systems that work for you and your roommates if you have any. For instance, write down a schedule for when you and your roommate(s) will take turns doing the dishes or chores.

Make time for your priorities. Find what is essential to your well-being and prioritize it no matter what. Do you need to exercise to reduce stress? Then go for a run instead of binging on snacks. Do you need to eat well-balanced meals? Then set a day apart specifically for grocery shopping and cooking.

Find balance. I once read somewhere that perfection is not sustainable, which is one hundred percent true. It is okay to say no to tasks that are too demanding on your time and mental health. Set realistic expectations for yourself and those around you. Lastly, allow yourself to have both good and bad days.

Remember you are not expected to know it all and can reach out whenever you need help. Every college offers resources for its students, and you should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to utilize them.

Josie Avila is the audience and engagement editor and can be reached at [email protected]; Joseline Avila on LinkedIn.

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About the Contributor
Josie Avila, Audience & Engagement Editor
Joseline “Josie” Avila, is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) pursuing a double major in communication studies and political science and aspires to be a bilingual news anchor. She is a first-generation college student and the youngest sibling of five women. In the upcoming Spring of 2023, she will be studying, and interning, in Washington D.C. as an Archer Fellow.
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Tips for students living on their own