Now that you have the grades you need for your top choice (or any choice) of university, what's next? Before you try to cram everything from your bedroom into five different suitcases, you should make sure whether moving out to study is the best choice for you.
Now I am not talking about whether you can cook the tastiest, finest meals or simply whipping up some Instant Noodles, or even being the cleanest, most organised person that you may or may not be.
I'm talking about having flatmates, which is a real possibility if you plan to live in student halls; the responsibility of being independent - this may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised by how difficult the transition from home to student flats can be; and even the mental health challenges that comes with all this.
This blog is not intended to ensure that you never leave your parents' side and study at home for the rest of your lives. But it wouldn't hurt to think about these few but essential factors before making any decisions.
How far is too far?
You should first look up the distance between your current residence and your university on Google Maps. I can assure you that the two-hour train ride is not worth it for that one Monday lecture that turns out to be online once you're halfway there. You will cry. So knowing how far your home is from your university will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Moving out is probably in your best interest if the journey takes more than an hour (by train). However, many students still prefer not to move out despite the distance, as lectures and seminars have increasingly shifted to online teaching rather than in person. You may value the cost-cutting option, but living out can also save you a lot of time.
You and your flatmates will have different standards of living
While you might keep the kitchen worktops clean after cooking or wash your dishes immediately after use, your flatmates might not. This could bother you, or maybe it won't. But the point is that everyone has different expectations for how they live, which is something you should consider if you decide to move out. If you live in student halls, you will perhaps share a kitchen with up to 5-8 other people. It isn't as bad as you think if you all work together to maintain a good level of cleanliness for the kitchen: a rota for taking out the bins, for instance, is a good idea. Communication comes into play here and it builds up a great relationship with your flatmates.
If you're a tik tok addict like me and you have come across nasty, traumatic university kitchen moments, don't be put off by that! I will say that communicating and understanding your flatmates is crucial. If you find raw chicken bits in your microwave, it's time to write up a sign to get your point through. That's what I did, and the fridge was never left open overnight after that.
Overall, just as how you wouldn't want to discover pasta sauce spilling down the side of a stove, be considerate of others, and everyone will get along just fine.
Domestic duties are necessary
If your heart's set on moving out because studying at home is too difficult and distracting, you'll need to balance work, social life and domestic responsibilites. It won't be easy at first, especially since you might experience homesickness for a while, but once you settle into your new room and liven up the place with decor, you'll find yourself setting more autonomous standards for yourself. Knowing where your nearest grocery store is can help you save time on the way there and back. Some accommodations also offer a laundry service on site at a cost.
I find that typing up or writing out a list of simple, budget-friendly meals helps a lot when you're unsure of what to make every other day. Fair warning, you'll eventually get sick of frozen food.
Put yourself before others
This is undoubtedly a significant factor to keep in mind. Moving out for university is an enjoyable and thrilling experience in which you will meet many like-minded people and share countless memorable moments. But some of the most frequent problems are when students don't share or relate to such things, and they end up staying in their rooms for hours on end, cramming away at their work, having little to no socialisation for days or taking the time to breathe. This leads to severe loneliness and puts a negative impact on their health.
There are certain advantages to living alone, but remember to find time for yourself and be around others from time to time.
Knowing when and where to seek assistance is an essential part of moving out. Make sure you have access to university's support services and know where to find information, whether it's for your studies or your well-being. Don't be afraid to send a quick email to your professors too!