Will Simon

Living away from home for the first time

Will – Exchange to Radboud University, The Netherlands

Semester 2, 2017

Living away from home for the first time has made me more self-dependant and more accountable. Things like cooking, food shopping, clothes washing and general tidying up is left undone unless you do yourself. The experience has taught me a few things about how to get certain things done, and these are included in the following:

  • In order to survive on your own, you must have food in the fridge and pantry, obviously. But you must actively go out and do the shopping yourself. I’ve always been used to having food in the kitchen at my disposal, and would often have dinner prepared for by my parents. Now however, if I forget or am too tired to go out and do the shopping, I have to resort to peanut butter sandwiches for dinner if I’m lucky enough to have some left over bread. Doing my own shopping has meant that I am the only person responsible for my own meals, and have no one else to assign blame to if the pantry is left empty. Tip: always keep on top of your food shopping and never wait until mealtime to discover you have no food and need to go shopping.
  • Staying with the topic of food, you must also always prepare your own meals. This means taking 10-30 minutes preparing a meal that is actually worth eating and enjoyable. I’ve learnt that, generally, the longer you take to prepare a meal, the better it is. Simple. This also means that if you haven’t done your shopping, and are left to look through each cupboard a couple of times for some sustenance that you hope you may have missed the first time you looked, you are left with a pretty low quality meal. Tip: Instead of cooking a meal every night, overcook and then keep the leftovers for another night. This means you can eat a decent meal every night without necessarily preparing a meal that night.
  • Keeping your room and workplace (desk) tidy is something that can make your room environment a lot easier and nicer, compared to if you let the mess build up and then tidy once its unbearable. I’ve found that the beginning of a mess often starts because you can’t be bothered putting away your clothes or unpacking your bag, so you just chuck it on the floor and leave it till later. Until it happens again and again. Tip: Always avoid leaving things on the floor out of laziness, so that it doesn’t get out of hand and inconvenient.
  • Looking for a piece of clothing to wear and finding that it is still in the corner waiting to be washed is really frustrating. You don’t have enough time to wash it and dry it before you need it, so your second preference is worn. Without washing all the time and wasting water unnecessarily, I find that washing either colours or whites when the pile seems to be made up a majority of one of the categories an easy way of staying on top of it. Although it can creep up on you without being aware, getting into the habit of thinking about the washing when you don’t have any other important things to do is effective. Tip: Have a place in your room, or a basket, where your dirty clothes go. Having it in a location that you can’t easily ignore or neglect makes it difficult to forget about it.

Living on my own has definitely changed some habits that has made living more bearable and efficient. These strategies and habits work for myself, and may or may not work for others. I don’t know. But this is how I now operate and it is an improvement on how I was two and half months ago.