The last few weeks and then days before leaving home you spend on fantasising about your brand new life. Finally, no parents telling you to do chores, no annoying siblings you have to share every bit of your privacy with and hide secrets from. Going out and coming back any time you want, leaving a pile of dirty dishes in your room without having to wash them immediately after using, curiously observing how the clothes you scatter on the floor every now and then begin to form a very colourful carpet. This is how you might envision living with no parental supervision, and that picture is really tempting. Unless you are already mastering the art of adulthood and you have everything under control. In that case, you are my hero, because I’m one of those who used to think how peaceful and unproblematic it’s going to be, presently realising that it’s not actually easy, not at all.

First of all, you have to deal with loneliness. Not even in any existential sense, but simply with having to be physically alone. Although that little brother of yours drove you crazy sometimes, he was a good companion. All the familiar places in your hometown were also making it feel like home. And now, even if you have flatmates and friends, it’s still not the same. The way to get over it is to simply give yourself some time to get used to the new surroundings. Also it’s good to be open, chat with people, find the right societies. Even if you don’t particularly feel like talking with this person that is sitting next to you in a lecture – try, you never know where you’ll end up. It’ll make you feel less out of place when you make effort to transfer people from strangers to at least acquaintances.

Second of all, having a terrible mess in your room happens, but cleaning it all gives you a sense of accomplishment and doing ‘the grown-up thing’. Same with shopping for food. Since it was always your mum buying groceries, now you are completely lost realising you need to buy everything – even potentially meaningless items, like salt or butter. You should try to remind yourself about things you could find in the fridge at home and include them in your shopping list. Learn how to cook, not necessarily types of dishes Gordon Ramsay would praise you for preparing, but something that suits your taste. Just buy ingredients you like and try to be creative in preparing a meal out of it. It’s as simple as this.

Third of all, make use of your own room with no parental supervision. Put up posters – nobody’s going to tell you that you can’t. Whenever I have people over, I’m proud of my ‘beverage shelf’ – not even alcoholic beverages, there are just many different things to drink or eat, and that makes me feel like a housewife who’s inviting guests to her own house. But that’s me, perhaps you are more of a poster-person. And don’t forget about your favourite music playing at all times – no exceptions. That’s the key factor for making it your personal space.

Finally, fourth of all, don’t be afraid to initiate meetings, to participate, to hang out with new friends. That’s the most important way of shaping your brand new life. Even though you might miss your family and friends at home, you are here to build everything for yourself. This is how you can make use of the freedom you are given. The best way to learn is to go through it yourself.

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