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College to Day Kid: Adapting to Life off Campus

University library shelves

Although I'm more than halfway through my degree, this year it feels like I have started all over again. Why, you ask? I've finally grown up, moved out of on-campus accommodation and into my very own home. While I haven't yet mastered the this whole "day kid" thing, I have learnt a lot. Here are some things I've picked up in the past month of living off-campus.

1. Parking, Parking, Parking!

You'd have to be living under a rock to not be aware that universities have a major lack of parking. I'd heard people complain for years but it wasn't until I tried to get park at 11am that I realised it really is an issue.

Lesson Learnt: If you have to drive, consider going to uni early. I find 7am to 8am works well for me because I abhor traffic. If you can, get the bus. Not only do you save the effort of finding a park but you also save yourself some much needed money.

2. Take lunch with you!

For someone with major dietary issues, taking my own lunch was always a no-brainer for me. I may have neglected to ensure my salads did not go rotten during the day so I had to resort to campus food on multiple occasions. It is busy, expensive and doesn't even taste that good.

Lesson Re-Learnt: take lunch. If you can't, buy lunch slightly before or after the peak lunch times so you don't have to wait so long.

3. Get there early!

If you are driving to campus, getting a park requires arriving early. Even if it didn’t, being super early has great benefits. You can take the nerd approach and use the time to study or you can chillax and check out the freshers.

Lesson learnt: Not only can you make use of some time you didn't think you’d have, you can spend time doing other things on campus, such as utilising the high-speed Internet (loving the quota-free YouTube), browsing the second-hand bookstores for bargains and working on the tan.

4. Timetable matters!

As I signed on for classes this year I realised that for the first time ever, my timetable actually mattered. In the past living on campus and not having any employment meant it didn’t really matter if I didn’t get the perfect tutorial. While others laboriously eliminated the times that didn’t fit, or that meant a giant gap in the day, I just selected any class that started after 10am and ended before 6pm where possible.

Lesson Learnt: If you are no longer a mere five-minute walk away from campus, your timetable is going to matter! True story. Try to schedule classes one after another, with an hour to two hour break at most. Any more than that and you will get bored, no matter how many times you tell yourself you will use the time to read the 4 cases needed for the next class: It won’t happen! Also, you can no longer be certain that a hot meal will be waiting for you at 8pm when you finish class. You’re going to have to cook it yourself.

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