Free, at last! Living on your own is a whole new experience for new high school graduates. Instead of living with your parents, you’re suddenly living with peers or by yourself. Your first year of college can be incredibly exciting but all that freedom can put your safety and health at risk. Read on to find out how to be safe and responsible as a new college student while still having fun.
Some college-bound students make plans to live near their parents, so they can be in proximity and go home when they choose. A lot of students choose state-funded universities partly because of this and partly because of their parents’ influence on the decision. As mentioned earlier, it’s also the most economical way of getting a degree. Many students, however, want to get some distance from home. It all depends on you and the home you’re leaving: if you are close to your family and view them as a support system, it may be best to stay close to them; if you’re ready to take the leap on your own, you may decide differently.
Note, also, that the quality of a program at a far-away school may be high enough to warrant moving farther from the nest. Many state universities provide enough quality programs in diverse areas that state residents don’t have to move far to get what they want, but not all do.
It goes without saying that many students on their own for the first time get a little excited. Being on your own is a chance to show your maturity, your resolve, and your general skills at life, but it may also seem, to some, like a time to throw inhibitions to the wind, throw back a 12-pack of beer, and stay out every night until the sun comes up, looking for the shoe you lost on your way home from a late-night trip to Burger King.
Students should be extremely careful when it comes to alcohol and other substances. A criminal conviction, for underage drinking or general irresponsible behavior, makes it hard to get hired, later on. Such discretions could also get you ejected from a college housing system or even result in expulsion. Drinking responsibly is okay, once you are of legal age, and a lot of people with respectable positions enjoy it. Drinking excessively, though, is not only self-destructive, but can lead to very unpleasant outcomes.
Whether you’re of age or not, it’s best to avoid drinking games or any kind of competitions, centered on alcohol or drug consumption. Make sure you make friends who enjoy activities other than drinking. Remember that having fun is great, but long-term relationships should also involve activities in a sober environment.
As a general rule of thumb, whether male or female, it is best to never go out alone––especially, at night. You should always make sure that your friends/roommates know where you are going and when you will be back. It is also a good idea to attend events with friends who will keep an eye on you as not everyone is looking out for your well-being. Remember––school first, then have fun while being smart and safe.
Whether it’s a quick, easy adjustment or takes a while, the important thing is that you’re learning self-reliance and becoming an independent adult. With hard work, you will be a mature, educated, and––hopefully––employed adult by the end of your four years. It’s exhausting work, but it trains you for the rest of your life. Be excited to take the journey!