Apartment hunting? 5 things no one tells you about moving out for college

Illustration of a cozy apartment interior
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For most of us students, moving away from home to university is likely the first time we experience living on our own. This experience is often idealized, but in the middle of our fantasizing, we don’t anticipate much of the unpleasantness related to moving out of the comforts of our parents’ home. Even though we have roommates (it doesn’t matter if it’s two or 10), there are many surprising (mostly annoying) things that we aren’t warned about before we move out. Read on to see if you can relate! 

Everything is expensive 

All the little things you need to buy for your place add up faster than people line up at Artichoke Basille’s Pizza on a Friday night. From groceries to cleaning supplies to your utilities bill, it’s tough to keep track of everything you need to pay for. I suggest making a spreadsheet to organize all of your expenses. 

It takes a while to feel at home 

Even after spending an absurd amount of time putting up pictures of your friends, family, and pets on your walls and other miscellaneous decorations from your home, it takes a long time for your place to feel like your home (or you might never feel at home, and that’s OK, too). Maybe it’s because you remember it’s a temporary living situation, but it’s always good to make your place feel as homey as you can for the time being. 

You’ll either have too much stuff or not enough

To strike the balance of bringing the right amount of stuff takes practice and expertise. One of the key tactics to bringing the right amount of stuff to your place is trial and error, as you can decide what things you really use and what you don’t even touch the entire time you live there. Freshman year, I brought way too many things to my apartment that I thought I’d use but never did. This year, I brought only what I could fit in my Toyota Camry, and I finally hit the perfect balance! 

You’ll either be an aspiring chef or only eat frozen meals 

When you go grocery shopping, chances are, you think you bought too much food, but it actually ends up being barely enough to last you two weeks. At the beginning of the year, you probably made it a goal to cook a new meal every day from your abundance of food. However, as the semester progressed and you got burnt out from school, you likely turned to frozen meals as an easy option. This is a classic tale among college students, but no one blames you — it’s tough learning how to meal prep and cook enough for each week.

Even though you’re doing everything for yourself, you’ll still feel like a kid 

Our old friend imposter syndrome follows us even in our personal lives. Even though you might not be paying for your rent, you’re still figuring out how to function in the world on your own in this city that’s away from the roots you’ve planted the past two decades of your life. It’s tough figuring everything out, but forging your own path always is.

We hope these revelations can help you Bears who are moving to campus for the first time. Apartment hunting and learning how to take care of yourself can be tricky, but with the right resources, there’s nothing to worry about. Have a fruitful apartment hunting season, Bears!

Contact Özge Terzioğlu at [email protected].