University is awesome for a number of reasons, but the one I’ve heard the most is freedom. It allows you to make your own decisions and set your own schedule, and you can eat whatever you want. The problem is that the best thing about university can also be the worst thing. Freedom comes with a lot of responsibility. It can be difficult to manage all of the things you have to do with all of the things you want to do. Now that the school year is well under way, you might have noticed a few things you have trouble keeping up with. It’s pretty common to feel like you’re drowning in choices, so here is some advice to help you with the hardest parts of living on your own:
Doing the laundry
Living on your own is fun until you realize that the housework gets done by you now. Things can start to pile up, like dishes and mopping the floors. Those things are surface cleaning and you can get them done quite quickly if you really put the effort in. The one thing that always falls by the wayside is laundry. Throw it in a hamper or the back of your closet and forget about it until one day you wake up and it’s -10 and you don’t have any socks. That job you didn’t’ want to do becomes the only thing on the agenda. Four loads of laundry take a lot longer than one. My advice is to try to keep up with it. Pick a set day to get that particular chore done and bring some homework to work on while you do it. After a load or two – and some reading for class – take a break and fold it all so you can tell the difference between clean and dirty when you get home.
Making a budget
Money may no be as great as it seems. Either you don’t have any and you want more, or you have some but you have too many things you want to spend it on. Making a budget is a very grown up and unpleasant thing to do. It forces you to decide in advance where you’re going to put your money. Having to choose between going out and paying the hydro bill is part of the whole living on your own thing. Unfortunately it’s an important part. Even though it might be fun to do whatever you want with your money, it’s a good idea to make sure you pay the important things – like rent and your phone bill – before you go on a spending spree on amazon.
Pizza! Chinese! Sushi! You can get all of your favourites from an app without even having to speak to anyone. Even bothering with the grocery store can seem like a waste of time. Lots of leftovers and instant gratification are the main benefits of take out food. Of course, it’s kind of expensive and only rarely does it constitute a balanced diet. Reminding yourself that you shouldn’t order pizza because you’ve got a phone bill coming due is a pretty difficult task. It might be better to just go to the grocery store and make a real recipe once in a while, even though it isn’t really what you want.
Getting enough sleep
Nobody is getting enough sleep. When we were kids we fought nap time, but now napping is all I want to do. They say you’re supposed to get between seven and eight hours of sleep every night and for university students that can seem unrealistic. With nobody telling us when to go to sleep we might not be making the best decisions. Yes, it’s important to get your papers done on time, but that doesn’t have to mean an all-nighter. Cramming all night isn’t good for you either. Getting enough sleep can help you retain more information. You’ll do better on tests. Eight hours might not be realistic but figure out what is and try to plan for it each night.
Setting your own schedule
This is the hardest part of living on your own. Nobody tells you what to do, nobody tells you where to be. You can have all the good intentions in the world of handling all the things listed above and still not manage to if you don’t schedule your time. It’s not as simple as knowing when you need to be in class. You’ve probably noticed by now that class actually involves a lot more work than just showing up. You’ve got to do the reading and probably an assignment or two, and that’s for every class. Taking some time at the beginning of the week to plan out what your week is going to look like can help you make sure you can fit everything in that needs doing. You can prioritize so you’re not just doing things because they’re due tomorrow at 9 a.m. Set a schedule and try to stick to it and you’ll get a lot more work done than you used to.