Moving Out and Growing Up
If you can swing it financially, moving away from your parents will always be the better choice.
By Katie Sanchez, University of Texas at San Antonio
Senior year of high school can be exciting.
After all, there’s so much to look forward to—prom, graduation, senior pranks. But, there is also a stressful part to this last year of high school: What is going to happen after graduation? Truth is, as frightening as the question may be, the answer is just as exciting.
Chances are seniors will further their education at a university of their choice. No matter what though, once a senior decides which institution to attend, they should look at housing. Even if they will be going to a college in their hometown, it’s important for students to move away from their parents.
Because the experience allows students to grow as individuals and to learn life lessons on their own, living without your parents is a great idea. Students living alone no longer have someone constantly making sure that they have finished daily tasks. They won’t hear, “Have you finished your homework?” or “It’s 3am. Why are you still awake?”
Not only will they lack someone consistently being on their case, but they will also have added responsibility (in most cases), such as paying for rent, buying their own groceries and managing their own time.
If all this sounds terrible to you, don’t worry—it’s actually very beneficial to be on your own. Here are five reasons students should try and move out their freshman year.
You’ll Learn That Not Everyone Is Nice
When I was a freshman, I made friends with my neighbors. At first, they were all really cool, and I got along with them very well. I even introduced them to my friends from my hometown, which made me believe that we were all going to be best friends for life.
I was wrong.
After the semester was nearly over, I discovered that my new “friends” were talking trash behind my back—to my own hometown friends. I was really disappointed because I thought we were all close to each other. We would get snow cones, watch movies late at night and share some stories from our past. I opened up to people who I thought were genuine, but in reality they were people who were so unhappy with themselves that they took it out on others.
Since I lived away from my parents, I didn’t have them to tell me that my neighbors were actually not good for me.
I had to learn on my own who to trust, and I feel that such lessons were best learned first-hand. Though it hurt to lose people that I actually enjoyed, I learned not to trust everyone.
2. You’ll Manage Your Money Better
At home, your parents are always giving you money. You’re gonna hang out with your friends? Here’s $20. Need money for lunch? Here’s some for ya. In college, you don’t receive the green so easily. Sure, your parents can deposit money into your almost nonexistent bank account, but they’re not going to do that every day.
If you’re independent (you make your own money and no one gives you any), you seriously learn how to manage your money.
For the most part, the money I receive is from my job. Therefore, I’m always budgeting. I make sure to always have money for food, the light bill and gas—the essentials. Without a fail, I always see something in a store that makes my eyes grow wide and my heart whisper to my mind, “You need it.” The unfortunate truth is, 100 percent of the time, I don’t need it.
When you’re your own bank, you learn that quieting your roaring stomach is much more important than that drink at Starbucks or that super cute dress you saw online. Sure you can splurge every now and again, but, for the most part, you’re scrapping by, living paycheck to paycheck.
At first, you might go crazy with your new money freedom. After all, you don’t have someone telling you, “Are you sure you need that? You know you should be saving your money.” But, without your parents to guide you, you’ll learn that money really doesn’t grow on trees.
3. You’ll Manage Your Time Better
When you’re living away from home, you have so much freedom. You can be out as late as you’d like or sleep over at anyone’s place without permission. Even though having fun and hanging out with friends are great, you need to remember the true reason why you are at a higher institution: To earn a degree. You need to be in control of your schedule to balance school, work and play.
You’re going to miss your guardians always asking you if you’ve finished your schoolwork because they were the ones who always kept you on track. When you’re on your own, no one is there nagging you to complete your assignments or to start studying for that test that’s coming up. Yes, having your elders on your back was a pain, but they were one of the reasons you were able to be successful. Now you have to learn how to discipline yourself.
I learned during my freshman year that not one soul was going to tell me what to do, so I had to make sure I didn’t go too crazy with my freedom. Though I was aware of this concept, it wasn’t until I earned (yes, earned) a failing grade on my first test did I realize that I wasn’t managing my time correctly. I loved hanging out with my friends and playing video games, but if I wanted to do well in my classes, I had to minimize fun time.
Essentially, you need to have that a-ha moment to manage your time correctly, so have that moment asap.
4. You’ll Appreciate the People You Left
If you leave your hometown, this lesson especially applies to you. Once you’re away from people you’re used to being around, you’ll learn that you don’t have time to see friends and family as often as you’d like, so you need to treasure each moment you have with them. When the people you care about are no longer near you, you’ll experience waves of missing them. You really don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
But missing people isn’t a bad thing to experience. It just shows you how much certain individuals mean to you. When you see them again, it’ll be the best feeling on earth. After all, distance makes the heart grow fonder.
5. Your Parent’s Cooking Will Taste 10x Better
For about 18 years of your life, you’ve had your parent’s cooking, so you’ve grown adjusted to the same meals. When you move, you’ll be exposed to different kinds of cuisine, some of which won’t be all that great, especially if you get a meal plan.
Chances are you’ll get bored of your university’s cafeteria that you’ll miss home cooking so much. Once you go back to your parents, you’ll request your favorite dish and not only will it taste exactly as you remember it, but it’ll also taste like Bobby Flay prepared it for you. All the the flavors will fill your mouth as your heart leaps with joy.
If you’re a senior debating about whether or not you should move away from Mom and Dad—move. Initially, it’ll be a difficult adjustment, but such a change will bring about great reward. You’ll grow so much throughout your college career that, once you graduate from university, you won’t go into shock since you already know how to make it on your own. Once everything is said and done, you’ll come out as a stronger person.