Moving out of your house and moving in with total strangers (most of the time) might not sound as exciting as it should be, but hey—freedom is yours at last! Though some dorms might have curfews, there’s literally no one to tell you what to do. Either way you see it, independence certainly does not come overnight. You’ve got to earn it.
Freedom comes with “trying to adult” and all that comes with being an adult, such as paying bills, buying your own groceries, and cleaning up after yourself—literally and figuratively. It won’t hurt to admit that you don’t know where to start, so we can begin with that at least.
Trust me, been there done that. You’ll be fine. We got you, fam.
Budget is bae
The hardest part of being away from home is trying to balance out your money. I never had to sustain myself financially before university and it scared the wits out of me to try to budget the cash I had in order to pay for utilities, meals, laundry, and everything else before the arrival of next allowance. It’s true money can’t buy happiness but it sure can buy a lot of other things that’s guaranteed to make you happy.
Try budgeting your daily expenses. There are several user-friendly apps on Google play or the Apple store that cater to budget purposes. I personally use Mint.
Mint is a budget application that should help you get just about everything managed. It’s packed with features including personal finance organization and bills payment. You can keep track of what you’re spending, get free credit score, and make a plan for financial goals (for all those future travel plans you want to embark on with your new college friends, of course).
Also, it’ll massively help if you segregate your needs from your wants. Prioritize the ones you (literally) can’t live without and save the excess. You never know when you might need it.
Household appliances are your new best friends
Not all dorms have fully functioning pantries or kitchen areas. For most, only microwaves are accessible. But despite the limited options it has, microwaves have infinite possibilities when it comes to culinary feats. Explore the possibilities your microwave or toaster oven has to offer. If you’re in a rut, there are plenty of recipes you can mimic online.
Irons aren’t only for straightening out the wrinkles on your clothes—they can help straighten out your hunger as well. By wrapping bacon in tin foil then using the iron to heat it up, you can both cook the bacon itself and avoid the oily mess that usually comes from pan-frying bacon. Same goes with grilled cheese sandwiches!
Rice cookers can also be used as deep fryers. Some rice cookers have a heat option that can be used as a substitute deep fryer for making fried lumpia. They can also be used as a hot pot if you feel like soup for dinner.
There are more basic conventional household items that can be utilized far more than their destined use. So don’t be afraid to try new things, in both cooking and your college career.
Stock up and save a life
It’s best to stock up on shampoo, soap, and other necessities to avoid running out at the worst possible time. Oftentimes, buying things in bulk also lowers the retail price of the actual item, so not only are you prepared, but you’re saving your wallet from the excruciating financial pain.
Create a budget plan when you go grocery shopping and limit yourself to a certain amount. For example, I would bring only 3000php with me at a time. I would buy everything I need for one month in one go, with the remainder of the money giving me the option to splurge or save. It makes it easier for you to shop without overspending and will also save you all those extra trips back and forth.
Do unto others what you want others do unto you
Closed toilet seats in communal cubicles are the reason why I have trust issues. Gone are the days of showering without slippers on. More often than not, dormitories have bathrooms that have you sharing shower cubicles.
No matter where you turn, you’re practically sharing everything with everyone. The only way to combat it is to join it.
Mutual respect goes a long way. Yes, you may be free from chores or having your mom wake you up and tell you what to do, but you’re not home anymore. Clean up after yourself every once in a while. No one wants to live in a sea of garbage (*cue Manny Villar election jingle*). It’s the healthy relationship that you keep with your dorm mates and roommates that will determine how welcome they are to having you in your community.
You’re going to live with strangers, most likely. You don’t know them and they don’t know you, so it’s the perfect time to reinvent yourself. Your first impression to the first people you meet will be the first impression everyone will see you as.
Moving out—and sometimes on—will be hard, painful even. You will be confused beyond belief and you will want to go home every time you possibly can. It’s difficult but it will get easier as you adjust to a new life and home. Regardless, it will definitely be worthwhile. Sometimes, the things you need to learn the most aren’t always found in between the pages of a book.
By Katrina Tiu
Photos from Airbnb