A Messy Start, But On My Way

by Shubhechha Dhar on December 01st

Piled-up laundry. Unwashed dishes. Messy dorm room.

Sound familiar? Having come so far away (8,668 miles, to be exact) from my home and family, I knew that I would have to do things on my own at college. If I could travel all alone from India to Philadelphia, doing simple tasks and errands should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong!

I remember my first few weeks at Arcadia vividly. Trying to get everything done on time seemed like an impossible feat. My mother was no longer around to nag me to clean my room. There was no one to make sure I woke up on time for classes or that I ate a healthy meal.

I would go to the grocery shop and come back with half the things I needed because I forgot the other half. I would often run out of clothes to wear because I forgot to do my laundry. My dorm floor was barely visible under the heaps of clothes and books. (I didn’t even notice it; my mother pointed this out once after I tripped over my clothes on the floor while on a video call with her!)

Cooking was a whole other story. Having never stepped inside the kitchen back at home, I didn’t know how to cook anything apart from Ramen.  

At first, I hated doing everything by myself as I was overly parented in India. There was always someone to do all of these things for me. But I soon realized that I was learning practical skills, like how to be independent and manage my time. These are the things I would never learn in a classroom, but are the skills that are going to be invaluable in the long run.

A picture from my trip to New York. I traveled there by myself!

I am happy that as the days pass, I am relying less on others. I am now halfway through the semester and I’ve learned how to sweep, wash dishes, and take out the trash. I’ve learned the importance of making a grocery list before going to the store. I’ve learned how to do laundry without shrinking my jeans or turning my white clothes blue. I am responsible for making healthy eating decisions (no more surviving on Ramen!).  

I’m doing other things, too. I’ve traveled alone to the city a couple of times now. Although it was scary, it was liberating and exciting. And I attended an AU Lead workshop to gain more skills for life from Arcadia’s leadership program.

With each day, I’m feeling less overwhelmed and I’m even looking forward to more challenges ahead. This independent-living thing isn’t so bad after all.