7 Things to Know for Living Away from Home

For the College-Bound High School Senior

Let's face it...moving away from home is a big deal. Whether you're wanting to get away from your family or you're heading off to college, moving away is kind of scary and intimidating. 

I had the chance to move away from my home to stay at a boarding school in my junior year of high school. Two hundred miles away from home with no one to turn to, I began my reclusive ways. I spent my first month hiding out in my room with my overactive imagination telling me that making friends was more of a difficulty than it actually is.

However, I didn't end up being a total recluse. I began to attend events the school put out and ended up with friends I didn't even mean to make. By the end of my two years, I graduated the school with a more confident attitude and a handful of friends that I have gotten to know better than the people I have actually grown up with.

Yet, there were still things I wish I could've known before moving out. Even now, my third year living away from home, I still manage to find new things everyday.

1. Bread can save your life (Actually just your wallet).

You have no idea the things you can do with bread until it's finals week and it's the ass crack of dawn. A loaf of bread is the number-one item on my grocery list every month. Why? Carbs. Not the bad ones, though. Get some wheat bread, slap some peanut butter and banana on them (or whatever your heart desires), and munch on that. It's good, cheap, and convenient. The fiber in the bread will really curb in the munchies.

Instead of going out to eat to the cafe or the grill most days, I'll just make myself a sandwich. Saves my wallet and my stomach.

Eating healthy + Saving money = Win

2. Freshmen dorms aren't going to be glorious.

This one is a given. You either like the freshmen dorms or you don't. Why? Freshmen usually pay more in terms of living arrangements and meal plans but we're forced to have roommates. Most of the time, these rooms will be shared by two people and there will either a community bathroom or suite-style bathrooms. Unless you're used to having siblings, this is going to be a big shock to your life. Having to deal with other people's messes is going to be part of your daily life.

3. Ramen

There's really no reason to add anything else. Ramen is almost like bread. A pack of 12 costs just $2. That could last you a couple weeks. A pack of 40 at Sam's Club costs just $7. That may as well last you a couple months. Satisfy the munchies or a quick and easy meal.

4. Unlimited data isn't really necessary?

You're on a college campus, dude. Wi-Fi is everywhere. Yeah, sometimes it's shitty, but not having money is also shitty (If your parents offer to pay for your phone bills, take it. It's like if they offer to pay for gas). Don't waste your funds on a big phone bill. 

I used to pay $60 a month to have unlimited everything (not really unlimited since they cap us at 22 GB), but I recently switched to AT&T's prepaid just to see how much I would save (since I use like 2 GB per month max). Recently, I've only been paying $30 a month, half of what my bill used to be, and I'm on the 1 GB plan. Yet, I'm still not using up all of it a month. Why? Wi-Fi. Lay off the social media when you're on the road for a bit, or sneakily turn your data on and off every so often just to check when you know someone's snapchatting you or messaging you on Facebook about important business. Free Wi-Fi can be just around the corner.

5. Google Maps is your new best friend.

First, adding on to the last point, Google Maps has this handy thing where you can download offline maps of the city. The beautiful thing is that it downloads EVERYTHING. Search McDonald's and you'll get all the ones on the map that you've downloaded in a list. And it surprisingly doesn't take up all that much space on your phone.

Second, you're likely to be in a new city (if not, hooray!) and it's going to be a challenge to find the places you wanna get to. If you have an address or the name of the building/restaurant/etc., then Google Maps got you covered.

6. Sam's Club & Costco

You might think "Oh I'm just a college student, I don't need to buy food in bulk, it'll go to waste." Dude, you couldn't be more wrong. Seriously though, getting a big box of granola bars or pop tarts is the way to go (it's like seven bucks for a pack of 36 which is pretty damn good). Easy breakfast items on the go! A 24-pack of water, some boxes of your favorite snacks, ramen, etc. You can spend about $80 of groceries per trip if you like to snack or cook at Walmart or Target (totaling up to $200 a month maybe), but if you buy in bulk, $80 can get you things that would last you a few months! Buy the perishables then at a regular grocery store.

I know the membership prices are pretty unsightly, but students get a freebie at Sam's Club. I bought my membership for $45 and got a $25 gift card during sign up. And if you have a loved one or a friend? Split the bill! My boyfriend and I split the annual membership fee 50/50 since Sam's Club gives you two free cards with a membership!

As for Costco, there isn't really a student freebie. It's still $60 for a membership and you only get one card. But, again, split the bill and you'll be good! 

7. Invest in some really warm blankets.

Remember what I said about freshmen dorms? Their thermostats aren't great either. I've set mine on auto at 68 degrees, but it had gotten colder. I woke up one morning with the thermostat sitting at 60 degrees. I ran to change it, but the auto-setting was stuck and despite being set at 70, it refused to go up. Investing in some warm blankets is going to help you at one point. I mean, they're warm blankets. Who doesn't love a blanket to cuddle in? 

If the vice versa happens, good luck. My dorm's A/C was broken for a whole week and the whole building was at a constant 74 degrees. That was too hot for a week in September, especially in the south.

To finally end it...

I hope that this helps you somewhat. By now, if you're still reading this, it probably means you've read other lists on how to help with moving out. Although mine was pretty random, I hope that you enjoyed the time you've spent reading and good luck in your journey!

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