For many of you, the quickly approaching start of a new school year means you might be leaving your homes for the very first time. This can be both an exciting and terrifying stage in your life. Personally, I was very eager to live away from home for university, but of course I also had my share of jitters. Will I get along with my roommates? Will they keep our place clean? How am I going to cook all my meals? These were just some of the questions I was asking myself before move-in day.

Looking back now however, I’ve come to realize there are some crucial steps you can take to get yourself ready for that fateful day. You have all summer to prepare for yourself for an entirely different way of living, and be sure to use this time wisely! There are, of course, the official and administrative items to plan out, such as confirming your residence, getting insurance if need be, and creating a packing list. Here, however, we’ll focus on activities you should do and practical skills you should brush up on before it’s time to embark on your new adventure.

1. Spend time helping your parents to cook and clean

Cooking for yourself and cleaning up after yourself are two incredibly useful tools for all post-secondary students. Once you’ve already gotten to university, it’s usually too late because you no longer have a guardian around to guide you. Thus, make use of the time you have left at home and help out with more chores around the house. Ask your parents how to cook up some simple recipes, along with your favourite meals. This way, if you’re ever starting to feel homesick, you can whip up a comforting dish to make you feel at home. On top of cooking, also be sure to learn the ins and outs of keeping a tidy home. Learn which products work best for which surfaces, how often you should be cleaning spaces in your home, and how to do a load of laundry without ruining a single article of clothing.

2. Do a pre-university clear out

Living in student housing is very different from living at home with your parents. Of course, it has its advantages, but you have to remember that you’ll be living a much more self-contained lifestyle. This means everything you bring along with you to university, should be there to serve a purpose. With this in mind, take some time to do a huge clear out and figure out what’s essential, what can remain at home, and what’s now ready to be thrown out or donated. As you start a new chapter of your life, you should do it with a clean slate and no unnecessary baggage. It’s a great idea to either donate any unused clothing or items, or even sell them online to make some quick extra cash.

3. Figure out a budgeting system

I’ve spoken about budgeting as a student before, but this is a very important one when you’re not living at home. Use the summer to figure out which budgeting system works best for you; whether it’s using a budgeting app, using the app for whichever bank you’re a part of, or just physically jotting down all your expenses. Though many apps can have great reviews online, it may not work well for your needs, so it’s helpful to try a few different ones out and see what works best for you. Your parents are also a great resource, so take some time to sit down with them and determine some realistic budgets for groceries, housing and entertainment.

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