Out of the Nest: What They Don’t Tell You About Living On Your Own

Alexis Kunke, Social Media Director

The average teenager is expected to follow the suburban plan of moving out. This plan means that you stay with your family throughout high school, pack your bags on the day of graduation, and head off to live on your own in a dorm somewhere with your new roommate. But what about the kids like me? Kids who spent their Junior year hopping from house to house. Kids who have been prematurely kicked out of their parents residence. Kids who stay with their best friends or significant others. The kids who are out of the nest before they are even out of high school.

The first day of being on my own was a day full of nerves and excitement. I hustled about my new apartment unpacking clothes and knick-knacks and childhood remnants. I hit all the thrift stores and bargain shops for cute decor. My life had just begun at only 17. But it wouldn’t really begin until the first month.

The first month of being on my own was a month full of tears and triumphs. I gathered all I had to pay rent, electricity, and phone bills. I had begun to get into the new routine of this life. However, while I had accomplished the adult tasks of paying bills and decorating the apartment, I forgot about all the little things that adults have to do in order to survive.

Then six months into this adult life and everything came to a halt. I discovered that the medication I needed

would be withheld because I no longer had health insurance. Cue my first adult trip to a welfare office.

No one really tells teenagers about the benefits and struggles of getting welfare. They don’t tell you that you need to bring every single document you have in your arsenal with you. They don’t tell you that you need to take the whole day off from school because it’s gonna be at least 3 hours before you can leave the office, if you’re lucky. They don’t tell you that you need to know every little detail about your employment and income and they don’t tell you that a panic attack during your interview is normal. It all seemed pretty daunting, but I walked out of that office with my head high, my new food stamps card in my pocket, and my health insurance renewed. The welfare was in the works.
Living on your own is not easy. You need to be determined and show perseverance. If your power goes out you need to be prepared to drink that gallon of milk you just bought before it spoils. If your AC turns off you need to be prepared to call the superintendent or maintenance. But in all seriousness, if your life seems like it can’t be a good one without some help, then reach out. You might be living on your own, but you’re not alone. There are programs out there that are made to help us. Go the extra mile and reach out for food stamps. Stay safe and apply for health insurance. Do whatever you can and need to do to make it good now that you’re out of the nest.