This blog post is brought to you by Reanna Clark. Reanna is a second year Bachelor of Arts student, majoring in Psychology and Criminology. She also runs her own blog, You’ll Move Mountains – check it out!
Moving out of home to study. It’s one of those life experiences that the stories about it differ from one end of a spectrum to the other. Some people have the time of their lives partying it up, while others eat Mi Goreng every night and wear the same t-shirt for a week. While these may be slight exaggerations, there is one thing I should be honest about: moving out of home is not easy. Personally, moving out of home has been a fantastic experience, but it has certainly had its tough moments.
Growing up in a country town and setting my heart on going to the University of Melbourne led me to the decision that I was going to have to move out of home. I had to consider a lot of things in making this decision, but here are some of the more important questions I asked myself:
Can I afford to move out of home?
This is undoubtedly the biggest question. Moving out of home is not cheap. You have to consider all the possible sources of money you have available, be it parental contribution, your own savings, possible scholarships, and Centrelink. For me, this question led to me making the decision to take a gap year and work in order to make the move.
College, student accommodation, family, or share house?
This will most likely be determined by the money that you have available to you. Colleges, while conveniently located (and awesome fun from what I have heard!), can be very expensive. If I had been moving up to Melbourne by myself I may have gone towards this choice, but my boyfriend (who also conveniently got into UniMelb) was also planning to move out of home. As a result, we were able to score an apartment together not too far from the CBD, and more importantly uni!
Will I be able to cope?
Moving out of home means all your life will be turned upside down. All the familiarity of home, the comfort of parents and life of dependence will be gone. For some people, they may feel that staying at home while studying is a much easier option that is more suited to who they are, and that is perfectly fine. Moving in with someone else your own age – be it friends, cousins, or in my case my boyfriend – can also prove challenging at times. While it is awesome for the most part, it can prove difficult to cope being around each other all the time (particularly in the midst of exam time, not the best time to stop by our apartment!).
Do I want to move to Melbourne?
This may not seem as important as some of these other considerations, but I found that my drive to move to the city really helped me in dealing with moving out of home, and motivated me all the more the save money. Being from a small town, Melbourne’s bustling urban lifestyle was incredibly appealing to me. Those long hours spent dealing with customers at a supermarket during my gap year passed a lot quicker when I thought about how soon I would be living in Melbourne!
Once the decision was made, the months of mundane work began. The choice of taking a gap year allowed me to have a bit more time to prepare for the move. Throughout the year my boyfriend and I began accumulating bits and pieces for when we would leave for Melbourne. I honestly never thought I would be excited about shopping for furniture, but I became one of those people that tried out every damn couch in Ikea. The weeks leading up to moving out of home involved my boyfriend becoming an absolute pro at navigating real estate websites. He even downloaded the app for realestate.com and spent many a night trawling through listings. We were lucky and (somehow) ended up getting the first apartment we applied for. It was small. It was a bit old. It came with a couple of crazy neighbours. But it was perfect at the same time.
The weekend of the move saw both mine and my boyfriend’s parents be enlisted as moving people. It was a chaotic day, but everything came together. It was a bit surreal at first, to close the door behind our parents and realise that we weren’t just in a hotel in the city, but in our own place. Our parents weren’t going to turn up in a couple of days to cook dinner, do the washing, pay the bills, or remind us about some important deadline.
This all took a little while to get used to (except washing the dishes about 5 millions times a day, I don’t think I am ever going to deal with that), but I have come to love the independence moving out of home has offered. I believe it has helped me develop immensely as an individual, and I have developed skills I never would have otherwise. Sometimes I still come home after a long day of uni to realise there is laundry to do and dinner to cook, as well as about 3 chapters of tutorial reading to deal with and work at 7am the next morning, and I wish that one of parents would show up to give me a hand. The feeling passes though. Looking back over this past year (I still haven’t come to terms with the fact I moved out of home so long ago), with all its ups and downs, I don’t regret it at all.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, Reanna!