You’ve accomplished the big life task of moving away from home. You’ve met lots of awesome new friends. You’ve survived residence cafeteria food. Now what? Transitioning to off-campus living and becoming what I call an “adultier adult” can be daunting. You now have to apartment hunt, navigate your way through a world of questionable landlords, and possibly even start cooking for yourself for the first time ever. But fret not, my fellow up-and-coming adults! Here are a few tips for how to prepare yourself for the off-campus housing experience.

How do you turn this oven on?

If you’re like me, moving out of residence means cooking for yourself for the first time. I knew how to fry an egg, make grilled cheese, and follow the directions on boxed pasta, but that was about the extent of it. To avoid eating anything and everything that comes in a pre-prepared package for the rest of your life, I highly suggest learning how to cook. Whether it’s shadowing your parents in the kitchen before dinner, watching cooking shows, or simply trying to follow recipes and hoping for the best (my strategy), teaching yourself how to cook proper, nutritious meals is key to your success living on your own. Better yet, spend your first week in your new place swapping tips, tricks and recipes with your roommates. You’ll all be cooking pros before you know it!

What do I need?

One thing I learned from off-campus living is that almost every parent has a bunch of pots, pans, and utensils they’ll probably never use again. Your first step should be to check what resources you already have for free before hitting Ikea to buy plates in one of every colour. The way my roommates and I made sure that we didn’t wind up with twenty bowls but zero spoons was to create a spreadsheet. The three of us entered what we had already scavenged from our parents’ homes, and then decided on who was in charge of buying what. This way, we all saved money and moved into an apartment that had everything we could ever need.

You mean to tell me that I have to clean?

Speaking from experience, one of the first places that conflict will arise with your roommates is when someone doesn’t clean up after themselves. To avoid all of this fuss, start your experience off on a clear and fair note by creating a chore list and plan with your roommates. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a colour-coded, comprehensive schedule, but establishing rules right from the start can help to make it clear as to what responsibilities everyone has. Alternating who takes out the trash each week from the start is much easier than having one roommate eventually getting mad at the others for never doing it. Trust me, you want to avoid this at all costs!

Of course, these are just a few tips to get you started in this next chapter in your life. It might seem scary to move into an apartment all on your own, but this is also one of the most fun and defining times of your educational journey. Embrace it!

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