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#33 Be. Young Be. You 3: On Moving Out

Erin at university with friends sitting on the grassTens of thousands of feet up in the air and I’m writing a blog post! Two hours of flight time left, apparently. I’m not off anywhere too far or exotic; just across the Tasman to Melbourne to visit my parents and sister. They moved there just over two months ago after my dad got a job at a university.

Both moving out and having them move to another country has been an interesting adjustment – a double whammy of sorts. To be honest, I was nothing short of terrified at the thought, especially since it was quite a sudden move, but having now lived a full semester in student accommodation, I’ve managed to surpass my own expectations! Here are some valuable things I’ve learned:

#1: Schedules are important

As tempting as it is to skip those 8am lectures for an extra hour or two in bed, probably the most important thing that I’ve learned is that planning one’s day out is important. I’m not usually a big planner, but I find that looking at my schedule and working out where I need to be when really does help, especially since I can no longer rely on my parents to remind me. I also find that working out what I’m going to study when makes it more likely for me to actually do it and less likely for me to spend the time on Facebook instead, though being a student that still does occur! If I do forget something, I make sure to reschedule and to make a note of it in my phone so that I'm reminded before I forget again!

#2: You’re not always going to end up with ideal flatmates

Part of the whole student experience is sharing one’s living quarters with others, and while in a perfect world, everyone would end up with flatmates they can relate to and get along with, that’s not always going to happen. I’ve had to spend the semester living with four guys, since by the time I moved in they were in the only accessible unit available. This isn’t something I was anticipating or that I preferred but something I have dealt with alright all the same. I can’t say that we all have hit it off like a house on fire – in fact, most of them prefer to spend all of their time in their rooms, but the key is to have some ground rules so that everyone is on the same page and so that conflict can be resolved quickly should it arise. Thankfully, in my case, it hasn’t and to their credit, the guys I’ve lived with have been generally very good at respecting my personal space, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

#3: Sometimes you are going to need help and asking for it is hard

Personally, I’m a “helpaphobe” – that is, I hate asking for help and instead would rather struggle and do things myself. It sounds quite silly, especially since asking usually makes things easier and quicker, but it’s always been something I have struggled with. The fact is though that everyone is going to need help at some point, disability or not, so it is important to learn how to ask for it. I find that it is something I need to practice, but like everything, the more I do the easier it gets. I tend to ask those I am most comfortable in asking first and then work my way into asking for help from strangers. I also find it useful to occasionally ask for help with things I don’t actually need help with, because the way I see it, it’s not what you need help with that’s important, it’s how you ask for it.

#4: Hang onto your existing friends while also trying to make new ones

With my family so far away, I’ve found that it’s been important for me to socialise as much as possible. I don’t have a lot of friends, but the ones I do have are very valuable to me and I’ve found that reaching out to them when I’m feeling a bit lonely always helps. I’ve also found it helpful to get involved with a range of extra-curricular activities as a way of meeting new people. In a lot of ways, I think being forced to socialise outside of my home environment has meant I have been able to come out of my shell a lot more, which has helped me become more confident.

I’m not going to lie – moving out has been a challenging and sometimes downright scary experience, but now that I’ve proven to myself that I can do it, I’m loving the opportunities it is presenting. I think it’s an important milestone in every young person’s life and though being disabled may make things a bit more complicated, these obstacles can be overcome if one plans enough.

I encourage anyone out there wanting to move out to seriously look into doing it! It’s totally worth it and there is a lot of help available when one knows where to look. Of course, everyone is different and everyone has different experiences, but I hope my tips have been somewhat useful.

Preparing to land now apparently – gotta go!

Keep Be.ing young and Be.ing you,

Erin