Living Away From Home, FOREVER.

I’m almost finished my final year of college, and something is beginning to dawn on me… Soon I will be thinking about moving out of the family home, for reals.

Leaving the proverbial nest indefinitely – not just the during-the-week-while-in-college or job that I’ve become accustomed to – is a bit sad and scary, as well as v. exciting. Most of us have gotten to the stage where we are literally (well, maybe not literally…) itching to get away from our hometowns and explore the world a lil’ bit.
Buuuuut as we all undoubtedly know by now, there are cons as well as pros when it comes to living away from your mammy.

Lack of free shelter, electricity, heating and food are obvious disadvantages of flying solo. Sponging off your parents has become a way of life for the past twenty-ish years, and why the hell would you want to change such a cushy set up?

The house is always magically warm, the fridge is always miraculously full, the bathroom is always mysteriously gleaming and you never wake up to find random people sleeping on your couch, in your bathtub, in your back garden etc etc – a la college living.

You’re lying if you’ve never returned to Arctic-temperature student accommodation after a blissful weekend at home, searched the fridge and cupboards high and low, and after finding nothing but half a lemon and a tin of spaghetti hoops, pretty much cried yourself to sleep while thinking of days of dinners past and all of the overdue UPC/electricity/heating bills you have piling up…

On the other end of the spectrum, however, is the absolute beauty of having the freedom to do whatever the hell you like, whenever the hell you feel like it.
Want to stay in bed all day, watch Netflix, and eat peanut butter straight out of the jar with a spoon? No bods, go ahead.

Want to go to the pub at 12 noon and return three days later with no phone, no shoes, no memory of what happened, and a new lodger called Xavier who likes to play the harmonica? Go for it.

There’ll be nobody to tell you to empty the dishwasher or hang out the clothes or power hose the dog. (Side note: plz do not power hose your dog.) There’ll be nobody to tell you that 3pm isn’t an acceptable hour to get up at, or that drinking during the day will only lead to bad things…
…SHUT UP MOM. You know my name not my story.

We have all been in what seems like a never ending bubble of education for the past 17-ish years of our lives, and the thoughts of bursting that bubble is both fear inducing and cause for great relief. Never again will we have to worry about handing in an essay on time, or cram for an exam that we have no hope in passing anyway.

We will no longer have to define ourselves by how good our grades are or how many clubs and societies we are a part of. (In my case: zero.)

Instead we get to work full time, pay our own way through life (RIP SUSI grant system, gone but never forgotten) and maybe even grow up a little bit. Oh, the horror.

You’ll meet new people, create a new life for yourself, experience new things, make your own mistakes (and hopefully, learn from them!) and eventually learn to be a ‘proper adult’.

It’s going to be upsetting to go long periods without seeing your family, (and even more upsetting to go long periods surviving on ready meals rather than dinners). It’ll be weird not being able to just bring laundry home on the weekends and have it magically wash and dry itself. It’ll be strange not to be woken up at 10am on a Sunday morning by your twelve-year-old brother squirting water in your face and yelling “JOHN THE BAPTIST STRIKES AGAIN!”

Good luck to all of my fellow final year DCU students in the next few weeks. We will be brave in the face of the unknown, wearing our degrees like a shield into battle. It will be different and terrifying and you’ll miss your mom, but it’s also inevitable – and will be super fun along the way.

Jade O’Leary

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