The first time you run our of toilet paper in your own apartment is a real moment of growth for any young adult. In high school your parents always made sure that the cabinets were stocked. In college, the nice custodial staff cleaned your bathroom for you. Now in your own place, it’s all up to you. Sure there’s a landlord for the big stuff, assuming you’re renting, but there isn’t anyone in the next room to kill that spider for you or wash the dishes you left in the sink. It’s all you, baby.
2. Live With a Significant Other
After you figure out how to be Miss Independent, spend some time figuring out how to accommodate another person…one who you actually care about. Unromantic roommates are great, but the dynamic just isn’t the same as when you are intimately mingling your life with someone else’s. You learn how to schedule, how to compromise, and what habits of yours tend to clash.
This “living together” thing can take a lot of forms. A lot of people aren’t comfortable with the idea of legally sharing a dwelling, but there are ways that you can try it without jumping in headfirst. EJ and I have two separate apartments, but I stayed with him for a month this summer while I was in between leases. We learned a lot about each other in that month, despite having been together for almost three years! A quick stay, or even shared space on vacation can be really eye-opening.
I am the first to swoon over a cute puppy or kitten. I want to take them all home to my 250 sq ft studio and just love them. I grew up with pets, so that means I am equipped to handle my own, right? Wrong.
Before you take the plunge into pet ownership, do some pet-sitting first. Pets, especially dogs, can be a handful. They have a lot of attention needs, routines that have to be followed, and can be quite destructive and messy if neglected. Watching my parents’ five month old puppy for the weekend convinced me to stay a cat person for the time being. She’s cute, but ain’t nobody got time for that!
This kind of has the same premise, fast forward a few years. Once rings are exchanged and wedding bells rung, there is this huge societal pressure to procreate and give your parents grandchildren (looking at you mom…I’m not even engaged yet). If you have a friend or relative with kids, offer to take them for the day. The parents will be super thrilled to have a day off, and you will get to see what a life plus 1 or 2 is like. Scary stuff.
5. Spend More Time With Your Family
College is a time of distancing and the last place anyone ever wants to be is home. Even the month long winter break can drag on forever! But now that you’re a “real person” (told ya) and are thinking about relationships and families of your own, it’s important to get back to your roots. Spend the time with your parents and grandparents while you have the time. Re-kindle your relationship with your siblings. Inherit recipes, watch family movies, and learn the holiday traditions. Even at long-distances, make an effort to get home.