Surviving couch surfing

Mikey Walsh

It’s a major change in any person’s life to move away from the family home. It gives many young people their first real taste of freedom when they are living without their parents breathing down their neck about where they are all the time. No set time to come home at night, choosing what and when you want to eat, its independence.

For most people these days, the change comes when they go to third level education. College is a fun place to expand the mind, open it up to new ideas and progress in life but it’s a huge financial commitment.

What happens when the financial situation changes? For some, this means moving back home and commuting, but for others who live further from college, it can completely change the course of their education.

Here are some tips on how to survive the college year without having a stable place to stay.

It can mean having to rely on the generosity of friends and family so they open their door and surrender their couch for the night, leaving students living out of a gear bag. Always be grateful and appreciative to anyone willing to do that and make sure to show that appreciation. Bringing something small like a packet of sweets or biscuits will usually suffice.

Offer to make food and cook for them. People really do appreciate a good home-cooked meal that they don’t have to make or pay for.

If you have a car, use your car. Nobody really likes going on public transport, giving your friends lifts and just being generally sound can open up many more doors.

Keep a sleeping bag in the boot of your car at all times. Friends may be kind enough to let you stay in their home but they might not have any spare blankets and pillows.

Showering in college might sound like a hassle but it a good reliable place to wash yourself regularly. Even if you don’t go to the gym it may be worth it to invest in a membership to keep up with personal hygiene.

If you are living out of the car NEVER EVER leave anything valuable like a laptop or phone in the car overnight. Bring it with you. Car theft happens no matter where the car is parked so if you can, park your car in a well-lit area, have nothing in plain sight and make sure that the alarm is on and the car is locked.

Using two bags makes lugging around a week’s worth of clothing easier. Use one bag for a laptop, notebook, toiletries, and a fresh change of clothes and use the other bag for holding all the rest of the clothes for the week. Keep the big bag of clothes in the boot of the car and go back and exchange dirty for clean clothes.

Couch surfing can be difficult but if you can power through the slight discomfort and maintain good relationships, you will pull through the far side with an education and very close friends.

Mikey Walsh 

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