My own experiences of moving into halls at university to living independently led me to question the preparation I had been given. Moving away from home was is a huge step in life for all young people. My experiences of boarding at school and managing personal assistants at home and on weekends hadn’t equipped me with everything I needed to know.
What could possibly go wrong?
I don’t really know what I expected when I moved to first living independently. I definitely had rose-tinted spectacles that all would be well and somehow life would just be easy. Since September 2013 I have grown and matured. I’ve experienced a few things I never want to experience again and many more things that I do! Every day I’ve learned continually, about myself, other people, and societal expectations. My lived experiences have shown there is definitely more I should have known and prepared for:
There is plenty of other material out there on specifics about things like benefits so I’ll leave that to the experts. Another key facet though is to understand safeguarding and what is acceptable behaviour for you and those who work with you.
The second section is around having an accessible environment to live in. Besides living in student accommodation I lived independently in 3 different flats. None of these were fully accessible but this made me realise what I did need for life. I’m lucky to have built a home that meets my long term needs so this explains the processes we went through.
The third area of focus is around what I now believe are key skills to live independently. These are in addition to the skills all young people need. Specifically, what I’ve needed to learn to manage my home. And, some of it is based on definitely having a few hair-raising moments.
Finally, life never stands still so this is a section on transitions in life and planning ahead. Interestingly when I got to the end of this I realized how much of life is cyclical and how this brings us back to the importance of training your own support team.