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14 Things I Learned Living On My Own For The First Time

Posted by Auvi Evans on 1/30/19 8:27 AM

living on your own

Living on your own for the first time is new, exciting, and you'll learn way more than you could have imagined. Here are a few things I quickly learned my first time living on my own!

Getting ready to head out to college on your own, or maybe a semester abroad with ILP? You're about to learn a lot of new things about yourself and the world. Get ready because exciting things are ahead! 

Here are 14 things I learned my first time living on my own (which happened to be on a semester with ILP!).

What I've Learned From Living On My Own

I'm Independent

The first thing I realized when living on my own is that I am independent! Little things like realizing you're in charge of buying toilet paper now, to bigger things like making sure rent is paid will quickly remind you that you are on your own, which teaches you to trust yourself.

I'm More Capable Than I Thought

Living on my own helped me realize that I am more capable than I thought. Even if something was new and challenging if I gave myself time I could get through it and figure it out. An example  of this was figuring out how to use the bus system abroad, I'd never used a foreign bus system and felt pretty cool and confident once I figured it out. 

I Learned To Ask For Help

Even though I learned that I am capable, I also learned that it is okay to ask for help. You are not supposed to have everything figured out! Ask for help when you need it and don't be embarrassed. I can't even tell you how many times I've had to call my dad for advice or knowledge on what to do if my sink is leaking or a light isn't working  I still call him weekly with questions! 

Journaling Is Worth It

Even if I just wrote a few lines a day it helped me reflect on what I was learning and how I was changing. Now, looking back it is pretty hilarious to read what some of my thoughts were when I was going through the adjustment of not living at home. 


Homesickness Is Real

For me, homesickness (mixed with culture shock!) was very real. I learned to immerse myself in the new culture I was in and really look for little things to fall in love with. Once I got through the first few weeks it was way better, so just remember to embrace where you are and all the differences that come with it. 

I Can Actually Cook

The days are long gone where my mom cooks delicious meals for me daily. Being on my own helped me realize that I can cook  even if it is extremely simple dishes. Looking up "easy recipes" on Pinterest is a lifesaver and now I have a lot more confidence in myself and my cooking. 

Routines Are Good

Being on my own gave me more freedom over my schedule. This resulted in many late nights which led to sleeping in too much. Set a routine and stick to it. For me setting a time to get out bed and get going in the morning is important, even if I don't have to necessarily be awake for anything specific. Figure out what is important to you and set a routine so you can accomplish all you want to! Routines are good and can be extremely helpful. 

living on my own the first time

Support Is Important

Being on your own can be a hard adjustment sometimes. A new place, schedule, and roommates are new and exciting but can be hard. Having a good support system whether that is familiar friends or family is important. Let them know how you're feeling and ask for advice if you're having a hard time adjusting.

I Took My Parents For Granted

I quickly realized I took my parents for granted. Wow, I didn't realize how much they did for me before I moved out. I realized I'm in charge of having food in the house to eat, I need to stay on top of cleaning (without being reminded), and many other things. Everyday I realize a new way I took them for granted!

No Matter Where You Are You Can Find Good People

Living on my own and moving way from home gave me a lot of new opportunities to meet new people. I realized that no matter where you are you can meet good people and make lifelong friends. 

Travel Is Incredible

Being surrounded by a new culture and new people wherever I went helped me realize how important it really is to see the world. There is a lot out there and we can learn a lot about ourselves and others when we explore and visit new places.

what I learned living on my own

Budgeting Is Important

This one hit me hard  I quickly learned that living on my own meant paying for everything on my own. Budgeting became very important to me and helped me stay on top of bills, rent, and other expenses. 

I Learned More About My Personality

Living with roommates helped me learn a lot more about myself and my personality. How do I solve conflicts? How do I help my roommates? What little things that bug me do I brush aside or choose to bring up? You'll learn a lot about how you handle relationships with others. 

You Can Make Friends Even With A Language Barrier

This is more specific to my semester abroad with ILP, but I quickly learned that I did not need to speak Ukrainian to make new friends. My host dad in Ukraine became one of my favorite people I met on my trip and he literally could only say "water" and sing the "I like to move it move it" song in English! Even though there was a barrier, we got close. Don't be afraid to meet new people and friends even if you can't communicate with many words. 

volunteer abroad with ILP

Ready for your own semester abroad?

We send volunteers all over the world to volunteer for a semester. You will teach some of the cutest kids ever, get to know the unique culture you live in, and to be honest, probably will never want to come home! Click the button below to learn more!



Topics: Tips For Your Twenties

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Hi! We are ILP, a non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We share our tips for making the most of your time traveling and living abroad.

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