Transition from dorm dweller to apartment goer does not have to be painful

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The Daily Illini file photo

By JJ Kim, Managing Editor for Reporting

OK, so you’ve gotten to experience the wonders of living in a college dorm. Cramped spacing, stacking microwaves on top of mini-fridges and taking the risky half-naked walk to the communal bathroom for a shower. Now you’ve got that all out of your system, you may be looking to switch things up a little bit by signing a lease on an apartment. For those of you who are about to take the next step into adulthood, be sure to keep these things in mind.

Find the closest grocery store

If you lived in a dorm this year, chances are you also had a meal plan as well. You never really had to worry where your next meal would come from. Now that you’re about to live in an apartment, you have to start adulting more. That begins with preparing meals for yourself. Take it from me and the several angry phone calls I’ve received from my parents for eating out too much, it’s neither cost-effective or healthy to do so. Although it may seem tedious, there’s also a sense of accomplishment when you’re at your apartment and you cook a nice dinner all by yourself. At the same time, grocery shopping inadvertently teaches you how to manage your money better by forcing you to set aside a certain portion of your weekly budget for the trip to the store. 

Don’t forget the little things

Living in a dorm, you’re provided with the bare essentials: a bed, a desk and a chair, because there isn’t space for much more. But when it comes to an apartment, you have to be sure that the living area is furnished; otherwise, that’s another expense to add on top of the monthly rent. Moreover, coordinating which roommate will bring what for the kitchen and common space is imperative. You don’t want to show up on Move-In Day and realize you and roommates have brought four sets of silverware but no dish sponge. Sure, if you forget something, you can always go to Walgreens or Target, but you’ll have to combat the other thousand students who forgot to bring something to campus, and you don’t need to be an Imagineer to know the checkout line will be hell. 

Clean up after yourself, seriously

Cleaning up in a dorm isn’t too difficult when all you need to do is take out the trash and recycling when the bins get full or vacuum the tiny space once in a while. The responsibilities increase tenfold from there once you transition into apartment life. As hinted in the previous paragraph, everyone’s worst childhood grievance— doing the dishes — is an absolute must. After a delicious meal, you may think to yourself, “I can just do the dishes after tomorrow’s dinner,” or “I don’t have much time tonight, so I’ll do them at the end of the week.” Stop. It takes roughly five minutes that will save you a vast amount of time in the future. From personal experience and the experiences of several friends, the longer you let the dishes sit in the sink, the less likely that they will get cleaned. The last thing you want is for company to walk into your apartment and see a mountain of disgusting dishes in the sink. Do your dishes immediately. On that same note, with an apartment, you won’t have a custodial staff to clean your bathroom, and things can get unhygienic faster than you might expect, especially the showers. Having Clorox wipes handy will help keep the bathroom, and you, clean. 

In a general sense, moving to an apartment will be a more enjoyable experience, because you have your own room, don’t have a resident adviser breathing down your neck and a bathroom that hasn’t been used by 100 people in a single day. Always remember to communicate with your roommates (if you have them) about any problems you take issue with, because bottling it up will only make things worse. Just being mindful of your actions and how it’ll affect others should help you ease into the world of adulting. 

JJ is a sophomore in Media. 

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