Kirk: The five biggest differences since leaving home

I’ve officially lived on my own for over a week, and I’m starting to get the hang of it — I think. You heard right, folks: I’m a rookie to the University and living on my own.

Over the weekend I noticed five things that didn’t even occur to me as a 20-year resident of the suburbs. I’ve taken them things and formed a list that I believe many can relate to — or maybe I’m alone in this and was a sheltered adolescent for two decades.

Either way, whether you’re a freshman or an off-campus transfer student like [email protected]@I add off-campus here to separate her from the freshmen living on campus – and to understand the rest of her story@@, these five things have stuck out like that weird bicycle with all the “Jesus Loves You” or whatever signs parked on [email protected]@Great description@@. Here are some of my issues and mysteries:

1. Laundry

I’m sorry, but was I just, like, the most spoiled child in the world and really under the impression that elves did my laundry all these years? You mean, that big pile doesn’t just magically disappear and then fold itself and smell like a meadow of fresh flowers back in its assigned drawer? HOLD THE PHONE. So you expect me to do this all by myself? And then fold those damn things and put them away? You have got to be kidding me. I’m floored. (Well, actually, that’s where my clothes are lying right now.)

2. Food

Here’s the thing: I don’t cook. But I can manage toast, cereal, soup, oatmeal and Eggo waffles. Society really expects me to survive off this crap? Hey, freshman living on campus with that amazing thing they call a meal plan: You don’t know how lucky you are. Eat up! Because there’s a girl about six blocks down struggling to use a stove and wishing the Food Fairy would hurry up and fix her some spaghetti.

3. Bills

Ok, let me get this straight: I have to pay for the water that comes out of my showerhead, and then I have to pay for the water to get pumped under the ground and into the street? This is bogus. Why don’t you charge me for the natural sunlight that comes into my room? No, wait, I didn’t say that. Now, this may not apply to the folks living in a dorm or an apartment with all this included, but it’s really a pain in the ass. I have one thing to say about these things they call “bills”: My parents are downright rock stars for paying these bad boys all these years.

4. Freedom

My new discoveries couldn’t be all awful revelations, right? I have the option to come home at 4 a.m. or not come home at all. I have the option to make or not make my bed. And I believe the most important option of all, which I have the freedom to answer myself, is to drink or not to drink — that truly is the question. That’s the beauty of living on my own: I don’t have to hide my alcohol under my bed or run up my stairs before my parents catch me intoxicated. I can stumble on home and puke in my toilet and no one will judge me. Ok, I might be judged a little. Freedom is pretty fantastic – when you use it to its full potential.

My roommate Genevieve has shown me the best part about my newfound freedom: Razor scootering in the house. You know, Mrs. Brady (of “The Brady Bunch” fame) really ruined our chances with this “Don’t play ball in the house” [email protected]@ There is absolutely nothing wrong with a little recreation indoors.

5. The University

The whole University experience is the biggest difference. Sure, as a Portland native I could have attended Portland State downtown. However, I’ve found that moving to a different town made all the difference in the world in my college years. This place in crawlin’ with people my age! Eugene is a pretty kick-ass town, too. Everyone here has made me feel welcome. The whole moving out thing was terrifying, but the University of Oregon embraced me with open arms and became a great place to call home.

Again, I hope I’m not alone in noticing these things. As living-out-of-the-house rookies, I feel that we can all band together to tackle these major cons and embrace the pros. We didn’t all expect college to be one big Jersey Shore episode, did we? Ok, I guess I did a little. So let’s take a breather and kick back and enjoy this ride. I’ll face my fears and try turning on the scary laundry machine, cooking something beyond the skill level of a fifth-grader and chill out when it comes to paying the bills — only if you plan to take advantage of your newfound freedom and live it up.

Spread your wings during Week Two, little ducklings, and I’ll be back when we find out what happens over the next weekend.

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