Just over two months ago, I (finally) moved out. I am in my final year of study and wanted to go flatting to experience the freedom before I finished uni. I live with three friends who I have known for a very long time. I have learnt a number of things I would like to share with you:
1. Check the water pressure of the shower.
Honestly, we tell people that we have low shower pressure and they sort of laugh about it saying it can’t be that bad. As soon as you turn it on, you will realise it is literally like a trickle. It is the kind of pressure where you can only have a small portion of your body under the water at one time. However, you get used to it.
2. It is a smart idea to practice cooking before moving out.
Don’t get me wrong, I can cook. Let’s just say my practice was mainly around mastering a stir fry and thinking I was going to be the flat master-chef. With a little more practice, I could have avoided having to google what ‘blanching’ meant one night, as well as thinking I had overcooked pasta when I had in fact undercooked it. I am getting there.
3. You will have a great time, almost all the time.
I live with three friends and there is not a day where I am without a smile on my face. I feel like I am always laughing, and the company is top-notch. I say almost all the time, because it can be lonely when no one is home.
4. You will drink more than you ever have.
This is assuming you drink, and if you don’t, I admire you. When I was living at home I hardly ever went out. Since moving out, we have consumed alcohol and gone to some kind of event every weekend. Except for the weekend I am currently writing this post. I am taking a stand for my poor livers sake; emphasis on the ‘poor’.
5. If you need advice or support, you have that at pretty much any time.
If you are going through a rough time, or need some advice there is mostly always someone to talk to. And you can also be that support person for your flatmates, too. It is the honest, straight up, non-judgmental chats that make a huge difference to how you are feeling.
6. You will become poor (compared to your financial situation prior to moving out, anyway).
For me as a student, my income is not consistent, nor is it a lot. You really start to prioritise what you need and what you don’t. However. you still buy stuff you shouldn’t, like alcohol, the occasional tray of sushi, and that top you really didn’t need (but hey, that’s ok). My parents were shocked this year when I asked for sachets of white chocolate mocha for my birthday, because I really can’t afford to consistently add that luxury to my groceries.
7. You will feel a complete sense of freedom.
Living at home I could do what I liked, but there is something about flatting that increases your freedom by a ridiculous amount (well you feel amazing, anyway). You don’t have to clean your room if you don’t want to, you don’t have to explain where you are going, you can literally do whatever you want (within reason… you can’t just invite 100 people over without asking, or get a pet without consulting your flatmates first!).
8. You will appreciate what you had at home more than ever.
You used to complain about how much you wanted to finally move out, but there is a lot you will miss when you do (sorry mum and dad if you read this, this does not mean I plan on moving home anytime soon). For me, I miss the warm house, the free rent, the shower, the cooked meals, the family dog, my big room, my family, and the free food. Although I miss these things a lot when I am cold, hungry, and the only one home, it is certainly not enough to convince me to move back.
9. You learn a lot about yourself, and your flatmates.
You learn about what makes your flatmates happy, what makes them not so happy, and how they react in different situations. My flatmates learnt pretty quickly that I get scared way too easily; they now intentionally hide to give me massive frights constantly and peer pressure me to sit through horror movies. You learn how you live with other people, what annoys you, what you like, what you’re good at, and how you manage supporting yourself and surviving.
10. Living with friends works.
None of us knew how living together would go. It might not be a situation that works for everyone but it works for us. We have not had any big arguments or disagreements, and if we have any ‘flat issues’, we are generally open and honest about it. I feel like I can be open with my flatmates and they won’t judge me for any (sometimes incredibly silly or embarrassing) decisions or things I do. Just like I would not judge them. It is literally like having a wee family.
So that is what I have learnt from flatting! Nothing has gone wrong so far, except for some drunken mishaps, not being able to get into our front door, and a couple of minor cooking fails.