The college experience

Lessons learned living on my own

Managing your own laundry is one of many big steps in moving out of your parents' house. 

Photo Credit: Victoria Garabedian


A few useful skills that college taught me that made me a stronger individual:

1. How to handle a crisis by yourself

College brings a tsunami of studying, work, socializing and lack of sleep. Consequently, a mental breakdown is bound to happen at some point throughout the semester. Usually parents are there to help their children work through issues and find a solution, so their absence in college is heavily felt when a complete meltdown occurs. The reality, though, is that I’m an adult now. The problems I face are the ones that I must solve alone. My parents will always be a phone call away for support but, when a crisis happens, sometimes a phone call will not suffice. It’s my time now to apply the advice that my parents have given me for years to my life.

2. How to appreciate home-cooked meals

In high school, I would often groan whenever my mom told me to eat dinner with the family instead of going out to eat with friends. But now that the dining halls and the Drag are my main sources of nutrition, I’m regretting those many instances that I wished my mom wouldn’t cook. Now when I visit home, I ask her to cook every night and savor every bite. Thank you for cooking, Mom! And thank you for continuing to do so even years after I took it for granted.

3. How to manage my time

Living on my own without curfews and parents checking in also taught me the immense value of time management (and sleep). I never realized the truth of the saying – “There aren’t enough hours in the day,” until I had to balance school, studying, organizations, sleep and finding time to eat. I quickly learned that I couldn’t be involved in every club that interests me or attend every social event that I am invited to. College is definitely a taste of the real world as it is not completely the student’s responsibility to accomplish personal and education tasks. Keeping a planner is one of the most effective ways to begin smart-time management.

4. How to budget your money

Financial independence is directly correlated to gaining independence in college as the realization soon hits that I cannot live off of my parents’ money my entire life. Even with an allowance and savings, money management is still a vital skill to develop since every student will have to pay for their own housing, food, bills and basic necessities eventually. At some point every college student will discover that his or her bank account is empty. This is an experience that marks a rite of passage as one learns that money is a product that must be earned and monitored.

5. How to do laundry

One of the most difficult things that I had to learn since coming to college — and I still do not completely understand it – laundry. Seeing the mountain of unwashed clothes in my laundry basket and having to schedule an entire afternoon to cleaning my clothes have opened my eyes to the beauty of having loving parents. It also reminds me to always thank them for these grueling tasks that they do for me. Not only have I learned how to do laundry, but I also learned that the more I visit home, the more chances I will have to get all of my laundry done.