the sun setting on a frozen pond surrounded by trees

How I decided to live at home first year

As the school year approaches its end, a lot of the people around me are considering what they’ll do for their living situations in the coming semester. Most of the students I know reside in or around residence right now, and some of them are wondering if they should move back home or search for a place to live among the victims of Toronto’s housing crisis. There are also those incoming first years who are considering residence or commuter life , likely building a list of pros and cons.

 I spent my first year living at home and commuting in for class every day,and will likely be doing the same for my second year as well. Mainly I did this for financial reasons, and because I don’t live too far away from campus – hour and a half commute, no big deal!

But there are other components that came into play when I made my decision to either live with the fam first year or go into crippling debt and make lots of friends, and I feel they’re important ones to consider, maybe some that you haven’t thought of yet.

the sun setting on a frozen pond surrounded by trees
I knew that if I moved downtown for the year I would have limited access to nature, which is important to me.

The Big One : food. Yes, living on res allows for the purchase of meal plans, with which you can have an assured access to food. But this costs a lot of money. What else costs a lot of money? Not having a meal plan. Living at home has allowed me to have access to free food even when I’m completely broke. Not only this, but I have the freedom to make home meals in a kitchen with a stovetop and oven without having to buy all of the ingredients myself. You forget how important a role garlic cloves play in your life until all you have on your dorm room book shelf is a salt and pepper shaker.

There are a lot of small things that seem unimportant while living at home but come back suddenly into your life on campus when you step on a piece of broken glass—like tweezers and band-aids. Every time I have to use a wrench for anything, I imagine with terror all the random cleaning products and other things I’d have to make emergency stops to the dollar store for because I forgot I needed them.

While living at home is certainly cheaper, and I get to spend more time with my family, I also have to spend more time with my family. This fact feels different for everyone, as we all have different experiences with family. I do adore my immediate relatives, but they can be a bit much. By this I mean they’re very chaotic. While this can be good in the way that it often prevents me from being lonesome, it is also quite distracting when I’m trying to study for a midterm. My individual thoughts toward my family aren’t really useful to help you choose, but it’s important to try to imagine how the people you live with will impact your student experience, if they will help or hinder your work ethic.

a cartoon of a dog sitting at a table with coffee, saying "this is fine" as his house burns down around him
me, trying to write an essay while my family plays a board game in the next room

Finally, my priority of my pets played a key factor in my choice to live at home. When I graduated high school, I adopted a pet rat and named him egg. I’ve also had my wonderful pup Missy since middle school. I knew that living on residence meant parting with them for long periods of time, and they bring so much joy to my life! Being able to see them every day has brightened my evenings and mornings considerably, it’s so nice to have an excited creature greeting me when I return home!

a small hairless rodent standing on its hind legs
Here he is, the one, the only, the love of my life-- a hairless rat.

What do you wish you’d remembered to pack before you moved out? Do you miss your pets? Let me know in the comments below!

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