Snip. Snip. Snip. The time has finally come to cut the umbilical cord tethering you to your mother (or perhaps both of your parents). I know, I know, it’s absolutely terrifying imagining living without mom and dad down the hallway. Until now, your parents have likely been your sole caretakers. You’ve depended on them for just about everything, from changing your diapers when you were but a wee infant all the way to helping you survive high school. Now that you’re in college or entering the workforce, it’s time to be an adult and move out.
Transitioning from your comfortable home environment into a new, foreign atmosphere is going to feel a bit like culture shock at first. Whether you’re moving into an apartment with your closest friends or you’re going to be sharing a space with unfamiliar faces, rooming with people requires a significant adjustment on your part.
First things first: it’s essential for any living accommodation to define space. Space is a set distance, extent or portion of something that can be modified as needed. When it comes to space, parameters need to be established early on to assure that you don’t overstep your boundaries, just as your roommates don’t interpose with yours.
For instance, if you’re sharing a room with another person, take the time during your initial move in to make him/her aware that your belongings are off-limits, unless you’re comfortable with sharing. This same notion applies if you have your own bedroom. Let your roommates know that your space is your space. The last thing you want is to come home from an exhausting day of classes and/or work to find your roomies scrounging through your closet to borrow clothes without your permission.
Next, some people find that breaking down everyone’s chores for the week or month proves to be useful. Chores aren’t enjoyable, but unfortunately these pesky duties are critical in order to maintain a clean living space. Whether you set up a calendar, a rotating list or you assign each person a set of duties to accomplish, everyone must pick up after themselves to avoid tension.
Finally, become familiar with your emotions. As I mentioned earlier, moving from home into a new environment is going to feel like culture shock at first. There may be a short period in the very beginning where you find yourself loving everything about living with roommates in your own apartment. No set curfew, no parents, etc. Though you will now be living under your landlord’s rules, you are more or less independent and self-sufficient. Right away, this freedom is going to feel exciting!
However, don’t be surprised when this honeymoon period fades. Eventually reality will set in as you are expected to manage a budget for your monthly rent, utilities, and your own groceries. This is entirely normal. A fantastic way to stay in touch with your emotions during this transition period is to keep a journal. For many people, journaling their troubling mental buzz can help to cope with some of the stresses in life.
All in all, the take home message is this: stay in check with your emotions, establish boundaries and, most importantly, promise to communicate! Communication is vital, so remind yourself to converse honestly with your roommates and yourself to assure an effortless transition!