I would like start out this blog post by saying that I am really enjoying second year, much more than my first.
That being said, my life is very different now compared to my first year. Last year I lived in the dorms here at McGill University, with a single room, communal bathrooms, and a mandatory meal plan.
Now I am living just off campus with my best friend for my roommate, I don’t have to wear flip-flops in the shower, and I can eat all the pasta and peanut butter I want.
In my opinion it is very important to live in the dorms or some type of university housing (rather than an apartment separated from the institution) during the first year away from home.
There are definite pros and cons to dorm living. Some pros include: inclusive community, pre-furnished space, not having to make your own meals, and (usually) close to campus. Of course, every person is different and some of those pros may seem like cons.
Dorms are a fun place to spend your time and meet new people. My dorm last year had a bunch of parties (even a prom!) but was very study-friendly during finals and promoted a nice studious environment. There was a no tolerance bullying policy and the entire residence system is considered a “safer space.” I met my best friends in “rez” last year, even though I am not the most social person. In saying that I think there is definitely a place for everyone and people for every person to meet in residence. This is why I think spending your first year in residence is important because then you have people to spend the rest of your years with (and maybe the rest of your life.)
Living in my apartment for the past month (4 weeks today!) has been such an amazing time. My first piece of advice for apartment living would be to choose your roommate wisely. Mine is my best friend Harriet who I can easily describe to be my other half. We know what annoys each other, we understand each other’s limits and respect them, and (most importantly) we have so much fun!
Even if your roommate is not your best friend, make sure you get to know them and spend some time learning about how you work together. Alternatively, if your roommate is your friend, establish some “roomie rules” because living together can be stressful.
Another upside to living on my own is that I get to cook for myself. I am an avid baker and a decent cook so I do enjoy setting aside time to make a nice meal. Let me tell you, though, there are some nights when I get home and think to myself “Nope. Sandwich tonight.”
And you know what? That’s okay! Living by yourself and being an adult, everyone has those days when they slip a little so don’t beat yourself up if you feel your “adulting” (as we like to call it here) slipping.
This year I am definitely more conscious of what I’m buying and how I’m spending my money. I’m not sure if it’s because I am living on my own and paying for groceries but I think that must be a factor. You would be surprised to see how much groceries cost and how quickly they add up!
I highly recommend living in an apartment after your first year so make sure you do if you can! Some colleges require you to live in dorms all four years, others it’s only two.
If you are still looking into where you want to go to college, think about what you want to do after your first year and do some research about your prospective choice’s options!