Moving out of the family home can be both an exciting and daunting prospect. In the summer of 2020, I moved into my first flat to study at university. I wanted to share my personal experience from a student perspective and the lessons I learnt. If you’d be interested in hearing my advice, then keep reading…
A Summary of my Personal Experience: Choosing to Move
For context I’d like to explain the situation I’d found myself in when I first decided to leave home.
I was going to be living with my partner Nathan, and another student we’d not met before, in a three bedroom flat. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’d not been able to see the flat in person – which is so important to do, if you can! Also because of the lockdown, it felt like the time to leave came around suddenly, which was a little overwhelming.
However, I was at a stage in my life when it felt right to move and my family agree. If you are in a position of choice, then you must trust yourself to make the best decision. For myself, I knew that it would be a great way for me to grow as an individual.
Challenges You May Face: Lessons I Learnt
These are some of the difficulties you may face when moving away for the first time. I personally experienced all of them so remember that, if these do apply to you, you’re not alone!
1. Finding your own way of living
A steady routine that comforts you may not come naturally. Depending on your responsibilities before you left home, you might find yourself with many more daily tasks to take on. You also become responsible for yourself, including your overall wellness and so it’s important to acknowledge that.
I found it difficult to maintain a regular sleeping pattern which had an undoubted affect on my mood. Self-discipline is never easy, but necessary. Through this, you discover a lot about yourself and what makes you feel comfortable.
2. Maintenance issues with the property
It may come as no surprise that my rented property came with many maintenance issues. Of course these were all new to me and I didn’t always understand how to tackle them.
However, the more I solved, the more my confidence grew and I began to trust myself. And the same will happen to you, should you be in a similar position!
3. Living with other people
This is a very common scenario for students and something that many people find difficult, or at least do initially. A problem that arose for me was keeping the shared spaces clean, as it was a shared responsibility.
Having a cleaning rota is a great way to encourage everyone to participate, although it can be a little daunting to bring up the idea when living with people you’re not yet familiar with.
4. Missing family
This is completely normal and not something that you should be ashamed about. Equally, if you don’t feel home-sick then that’s completely acceptable too! Personally, although I love my family very much, it was having my pet dogs around that I missed the most!
Being patient and allowing time to help you adjust is, ultimately, the only way to feel more content.
Things to Help You Adjust: Before and During your Move
These are some of the things that I did when adapting to both the idea of moving and the move itself. Keep in mind that not all of these will apply to you and part of the challenge is trusting yourself to figure out what does work!
1. Think about taking a gap year
Of course, this applies to those considering university after their current education but I feel it is worth mentioning. During my own gap year (more on that here!), I was able to get a part-time job in which I saved money so that I could afford to move early.
It also gives you time to start taking on more responsibilities before choosing to leave home.
2. Consider living with someone you know
This isn’t always an option and so I understand how lucky I was to be able to move in with my partner of three years whom I could rely on. But if this is a possibility for you, then at the very least consider it if you are feeling apprehensive or think you will need some extra support. And it could be lots of fun!
3. Get into a routine
If you haven’t already got a morning/night-time routine, then start making one in advance. It could be something as simple as mediating after you wake up or journaling in the evening. Having some daily consistency will be comforting when your surroundings change.
Once moved in
1. Keep in touch with family
Never assume that you should resist contact with your family just because you’re no longer living with them. It doesn’t have to be in-person visits but can be as simple as calling them on the phone or sending a text message.
I started contacting my grandparents more often after moving away and that was wonderful.
2. Be organised
You don’t have to go crazy with schedules, but I do think it’s important to make a list of things you need to do, most days. Perhaps this isn’t so necessary if you’ve been used to taking on many daily tasks but for me, I needed to be reminded.
It could be as simple as writing down that the bins need taking out or the bedsheets need a wash. You can also include less mundane activities to keep you motivated!
Moving out of the family home can help you to learn more about yourself and aid personal development. It’s important to remember that we will all face certain challenges but they can help to grow our confidence and make us feel a little more adult!
What’s on your mind?
What was your experience of leaving home? Or are you making plans to do so? Leave a comment below!
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