Few weeks into starting uni and strange things started happening to me – I began noticing large creases all over my clothes, which didn’t smell as good when taken out of the washing machine as in past, and I often found myself more exhausted than ever at the end of the day, right after putting that last freshly-clean plate into the tray.
Where did this burden come from? Why do I have to, all of a sudden, spend a large portion of my day just cleaning after and around myself?
Well, the answer was fairly simple – I had someone else taking care of such duties before my arrival in Worcester – my dear mother. And yet, lovely as she is, I do hold her excessive after-divorce pampering of me against her.
Back home, the food was always on the table two times a day, and only when I tried cooking myself did I realize how much I took that privilege for granted. All of the clothes were washed and ironed flawlessly.
And now, I am looking at the washing machine symbols like they are ancient hieroglyphs. How excited was I when I succeeded to turn the machine on and ‘make it spin’? More than I care to admit. And surely, the clothes were ruined afterwards.
Until this very day I still don’t know the reason, I suspect it has something to do with the colours and temperature, but I’ll leave science for scientists.
It was clear to me quickly – living away from your folks, especially when used to a life under their wings, is a difficult change indeed. A dreadful one, if you don’t learn how to cope with it.
From the very start, you will be given two choices; you will either order loads of take-away food to your door and spend more on that than on your education (if that was actually possible), or overcome your laziness and sort your life altogether.
There’s a lot more than cleaning and cooking for yourself; you will have to learn to balance between a hectic triangle of social life, academic progress, and personal development. And your parents won’t be there to open your bank account, drive you to your lectures, or even wake you up for them.
Still, don’t let it evoke anxiety in you, there is nothing as beautiful as independence. It’s the triumph of a thousand wonderfully matched trumpets following your walk through streets of life as you wave the flag of adulthood and freedom. One only needs to learn how to achieve it.
Let me tell you right away that it’s not going to be easy, especially at the beginning. The best thing to keep in mind is that momentum is of great help, in the sense that, once you’ve established a certain routine in completing your daily tasks, it should be a lot easier to maintain it. Go with the flow.
I myself, often forget about a 20-minute walk to the supermarket. On the contrary, I see it as a chance to take a healthy walk and listen to some music.
Making the same walk with a good friend is of help too; chatter instantly erases the dimension of time. See how easily one can alter ‘difficult’ obligations into fun experiences?
Let’s not forget about the glorious reward system of our brains. If you procrastinate, letting the obligations your parents used to deal with hang over your head, there’s a chance you will find yourself demotivated to deal with reality, in other words – depressed, which I assure you, is not a thrilling ride.
But if you sort your daily tasks and make your meetings on time, you will find yourself in a marvelous flow of dopamine as you tick that box on your to-do list and immerse into a favourite TV show or book, knowing everything’s sorted.
At University, you will also find plentiful support as staff knows how hard this transition from home can be. Stay fearless, if you haven’t established strong personal ethics before, you surely will at uni – one way or another, growing up is something you have to deal with eventually.
I love The Catcher in the Rye and its whole ideology of eternal childhood. Still it’s a utopian one. Moving into adulthood doesn’t have to mean giving up your happiness. I’m a living proof, sitting here relatively carefree, finished with my weekend shift, typing these very words in one decent-smelling t-shirt.