12 Things Nobody Told You About Living Alone In College

It's officially the best time of your life; you've moved out, away from your parents' nagging (water the dog, walk your room, vacuum the grass, the list goes on) whenever you have a spare second. But, horror of all horrors, there's... work to be done? You have to wash your own clothes. Sneaking snacks out of the press just isn't the same when you stock it yourself. Living alone, though immensely gratifying, has its ups... and downs.

1) No rules = far too much responsibility. 

Staying up until 5am watching Netflix is all well and good, but if you have a class before 2pm... you fucked up. Somehow staying up late is different when you live alone; the night seems like a wild stallion only you can tame, but when you wake up at 9am for your lectures, you realise that your wild stallion theory was entirely bullshit, aided by ridiculous amounts of either alcohol (bottles of which litter your room, adorned with flowers because... aesthetic) or coffee, neither of which you'd get away with at home. Top tip: suck it up and just go to bed, from one sufferer to another - it's worth it!

2) You have to wash everything you use, most likely straight after you use it.

It's not likely that you have a dishwasher, but even if you do, chances are you only have something like one big plate and one small plate anyway. Dishes are the only downside to food, They're not a big problem when you live at home, because somehow you have approximately 1,278 different pieces of dishware hidden in various presses, so dishwashers or doing the dishes all in one batch isn't an issue. The worst thing is - this goes for pots and pans too :'(


3) Laundry is the worst thing in the world.

I'm not joking. What do the buttons do? These symbols on my clothes tags aren't celtic good luck runes? Washing clothes... oh boy. There are so many things that can go wrong. Whether it's that old cliché, the one red sock ruining the white wash, or whether it's just that you have no idea how to work this tiny water spaceship, clothes can come out smelling weird, too small, slightly lopsided, wrinkled beyond belief, or just too damn wet. It's a nightmare. Don't even get me started on drying.

4) Disinfectant is love, disinfectant is life.

When you live alone, there is a certain amount of paranoia that can hit you from time to time. One of these is the "EVERYTHING IS FULL OF GERMS" paranoia, where you have flashbacks to every time you made excuses for the five-second rule, and you start to remember every single one of those raw chicken breast = salmonella = death commercials. Disinfectant makes you feel safe and somewhat cultivated, and that you're armed and ready in the war against germs.


5) Things go rotten in your fridge, and it's gross.

Picture the scenario: you went to the supermarket and bought some fruit and vegetables, because you're mature and healthy. Several days later, you reluctantly force yourself to look at your fruit & veg so that you can stare at them angrily as you try to think of ways to use them up that don't involve throwing them in a blender and only drinking a sip of whatever comes out. You open up the packaging, and - gasp - white fluffy mold (to the tune of 'Shia LaBoeuf'). It's disgusting. You consider spraying it with your disinfectant, and then it hits you - you bought this for nothing! You'll never buy a vegetable again!

6) It gets difficult to remember things.

What day is it? When did I last shower? Is it my birthday? These are but a sample of the questions you may have for yourself when this moment comes, and it will. Living alone, it's only to remind yourself of important things like bin day. It gets difficult to manage when you need milk or, god forbid, toilet roll, and suddenly you realise that it's eleven o'clock on a Sunday evening and your local shop closed about four hours ago. You have two choices: trek to the 24-hour supermarket, or just do without. Scratch that, you have a third option too: cry.


7) Planning meals should be counted as a full-time occupation.

It's ridiculous how time consuming it is to invent meals for yourself out of your pitifully stocked kitchen (seven packets of sweet popcorn, but no table salt? Really?), and it's even worse when you add all the hours you spent trawling through Pinterest. You have to make sure it's nutritious, that it's not too much and not too little, that it has a seven-digit passcode composed of your mother's maiden name and the number of times Jesus sneezed in A.D. 21... you get the picture. And on top of all that, it has to be fairly inexpensive, and preferably something you won't get sick of eating. Easy!

8) Unless you have a car, shopping is going to be difficult.

You'll soon find that your shopping lists will be constricted, as it's fairly difficult to buy three cartons of milk, a box of cereal, juice/water, a bag of sugar, an 8-pack of toilet roll and a loaf of bread all at the same time. It's totally possible, but when you start to add other essentials, the heavy or bulky items have to be either limited or discarded until you grow an extra pair of arms, or do another trip (two trips are for the weak). Trying to do a weekly shop and using public transport is one of life's great hardships.


9) When things break, you have to fix them, preferably by yourself.

In most cases, it's not bad enough to fork out however many hundreds it will cost to fix it, so that strange leak in the kitchen sink? Stick a jam jar under it. Burned a hole in your rug? Cover it with another rug. You will become an expert in DIY, and your creativity will know no bounds.

10) Budgeting is apparently not for the weak.

Turns out it's entirely the other way round, which is massively disappointing. Each month or so, before you can buy your frivolous lattés or splash out for those super cool dinosaur-shaped lava lamps, you have to pay rent, food, utilities... which include wi-fi, btw. Wi-fi doesn't just beam into your phone from outer space, your parents have to buy it, and when you have to fork out for your own, you'll begin to realise just how much data you actually use - *Elphaba voice* Just look at me... I'm limited...


11) You have no good excuses for blowing people off anymore.

Gone are the days when you could use the "Ugh, sorry, my Dad's making me cut the grass" excuse when that clingy friend is looking to, well, cling to you. Now they know where you live, and you'll probably get many people trying to take advantage of your newfound freedom. Whether it's awkward romances, annoying friends or the fact that you just don't want to spend every waking moment with people, your inability to use the parents as excuses is actually quite inconvenient.

12) You might start to talk to yourself.

Out loud. Everyone does it, but when you live by yourself, you almost develop an extra personality as you narrate your entire life (kudos if you get yourself a pet). It's normal, but strange, especially for the delivery guy who's waiting for you, yourself and u to sign for your parcel so he can remove himself from the potentially pants-less, definitely awkward situation he has stumbled into. Freedom is key, though!

Natasha Read
Article written by
Natasha is a procrastinating, snarky asshole who enjoys nothing more than to watch so many tv shows her life almost literally falls apart. She has a deep love for hazelnuts, and her iPod is about 95% full of film scores. Her weaknesses include coffee, Classics and all variations of animal.

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