Transition from life at home to life on your own can be hard. Everything’s different–all of a sudden you’re treated like an adult. You have bills, you have decisions, you have deadlines–everything is different.
To be honest, it can feel like you’re being pushed off the high dive before you’re ready.
But it can be made an easier transition! So now, in January, before you get super busy with the actual “moving out” part of moving out, take these last few months at home and really focus on what’s important. Trust me–do it while you still have time.
Here are the 5 things I think everyone should take some time to sort out before moving out on their own for the first time! I either did these or wish I did–so this is from personal experience.
1. Get Your Money in Order
Seriously, with all the stresses school has to offer, you really don’t want to worry about money. I don’t mean have enough money, I just mean know exactly how much you do have and how much you’ll need to work to make up the rest of it.
Create a budget for yourself. Be realistic–you’re going to want to go out for lunch with friends, grab coffee with some cute guy from class, and buy new clothes every now and then. So budget that in, but be realistic. I wrote a post more in depth about this earlier–you can find it here: How To Budget Your Money
Before you get to school is the time to do this. You still have time to get a job, save up some money, or watch your spending before you go and blow all your tuition money. If you aren’t sure how much money your parents are helping you out with, sit down and figure out all your finances with them–they’ll likely be impressed you’re actually thinking about it and taking these things seriously.
Lastly on the topic of money, research different scholarship offers. Honestly, you’d be surprised how many strange ones there are out there. Take a day or two and just look up whichever one you are eligible for besides the automatic entrance scholarships, and apply to your heart’s content!
2. Define Your Boundaries
I actually can’t stress this one enough. I know it probably seems obvious at this point because you’ve heard it so much, but when you go to university, your resolve will slip. You may think you are rock solid in your beliefs, and that you know where you stand, but odds are you’ll start to get a little more lenient as the weeks go by in your first semester. You meet some really nice people, but they’re into some really sketchy stuff. But they’re your friends, and can it really be all that bad?
The answer is yep. Yep, it can.
For the first few weeks that I was here, I saw my boundaries kind of disappear in some areas. I never actually did anything, but my opinion on what was acceptable and what wasn’t pretty much disappeared into one giant grey blur. So I had to sit down with my Bible and with God and really wrestle through some things–all of which could have been prevented if I had just thought through what I believed a month or so before starting school.
So figure out where you stand. Be realistic, but find your boundaries and stick with them. Decide whether or not you want to drink, how far you’re willing to go (or not willing to go, which ever way you want to see it) when you get into a relationship–or before you’re in one, too. Decide what your values are, and stick with them. If you feel like you need to tweak your rules a little, by all means do. But change them after you’ve thought about it and prayed about it and researched what the Bible has to say about it. Don’t just change your mind because it seems like the right thing to do at the time–have a reason behind it.
3.Figure Out Your Study Habits
Studying is going to be your number 1 hobby here at school. You’ve got a ton less class time (unless you’re in science–you crazy people), but that’s made up for by the amount of reading and assignments and midterms.
So find what works best for you! Personally I have to either pace while I read aloud, or have a bit of music playing or some other form of white noise while I study. Otherwise my brain goes off in 100 different directions all at once. Some people have to write everything out, some people have to hear it, others have to find ways to connect concepts. Figure out what works for you, and find what is the most time efficient. Trust me, if you can master this, your student life will be 10x easier.
4. Get to Know Your Family
It’s really easy to just coast through life without actually getting to know your parents, siblings, or grandparents.
When you move out, though, and are on your own, they’re really a priceless support system to have. No matter if you’re living with your best friend or on your own, nothing makes you feel better than having a good talk with your mom, getting a word of encouragement from your dad, or listening to your sister rant about the teenage drama at your youth group. It just helps somehow, so make use of the time you still have to actually have some quality time with the people who love you most!
Of course, this carries on into when you’re living on your own–you can’t just drop off the face of the planet when you don’t live in the same house as your family anymore.
I wrote a post about keeping in contact with your family while at school, you can check it out here!
5. Create a Strong Foundation for your Faith
Everyone finds the first few months of living on their own different. Some people don’t have a hard time adjusting, some people find it really hard. Some people don’t find their faith is shaken at all, some people find themselves double-guessing even the most basic parts of their faith.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the statistics about how many teens leave the Christian faith in their first few years of university life, and there’s a reason for that. You can no longer coast through life on your parents’ faith. You’ll be faced with a ton of decisions you’ve never had to make before on your own, and you need to be prepared.
I was lucky enough to not really mess up my first semester in school. I stayed pretty solid, and I don’t have any embarrassing or shameful stories from silly mistakes. I felt my standards drop the first month, and I probably wasn’t the wisest in a lot of ways, but God was really looking out for me. After the first month, I took a week and just figured out my faith and what I actually believe. And it changed my life entirely.
You need to sit down and have an honest conversation with yourself and with God. You need to figure out why you’re a Christian, what you’re doing to foster that relationship with God, and how you can minister to the others around you. Unless you figure these things you’ll drift away from God. Trust me.
So take a few days and just pray, meditate, fast if you need to, and read your Bible. Talk to people you trust, and just figure out what your faith means to you. How is your faith manifesting itself in your life? Is how you live showing God’s love? Or are you living a life you probably shouldn’t be? Be honest with yourself. You’ll be grateful later.
Make sure that when you start your life as an adult you start it on the right foot–it’ll make things so much easier!
Best of luck!
Becca Danielle Gregoire