New life, new home, new re$pon$ibilitie$

New life, new home, new re$pon$ibilitie$

Tony Loyola

Clothes paid for by parents. 

Car insurance, paid for by parents. 

Food, paid for by parents. 

House, paid for by parents. 

   From the day a person is born to the age of 18, their guardians pay for a majority of necessities. Parents handle an overhaul of responsibilities, like transportation for their children or keeping important medical records. But by the time teens turn into adults and move out, responsibilities crash in. 

House, you pay for it. 

Food, you pay for it. 

Car insurance, you pay for it. 

Clothes, you pay for it. 

   Xitlali Loyola was a teen who had necessities paid for by others, but now living away from home, she experiences the tough transition into being an adult. 

   She explained there are a lot of factors taken care of from providing food, a literal place to live, and having the bills paid. When she was 17, Loyola left home and would later transfer to Ferris State University to widen her opportunities.

   “My circumstances were different. I left home before I finished high school at 17, so in a way that helped me get ready to be on my own. I relied a lot on the school I chose to go to on my planning. Every question I had I would ask a college advisor or someone from Ferris (the college I attend). Being a first-gen and the oldest made it harder but again I just asked questions without hesitation.”

   Having to be the oldest out of four children isn’t a simple task. Loyola was the person her younger siblings would look up to. Alongside being a first-generation college student, the pressure just kept rising. With all the pressure coming her way, she would not improvise going into her adult life, so she made a plan. 

   “It’s definitely different said than done when you plan, but it did help. I knew where to go for things and how to do things so it made it easier to get comfortable. I reached out to a college advisor I was close to in high school many times for anything I needed and she was always extremely helpful.”

   With the help of those around her, Loyola was finally ready to start her life in a new environment. Being away from where she was raised, Big Rapids introduced her to many new people, new homes, as well as a brand new set of responsibilities. 

   “When I moved out at 17 I had to figure everything out myself and it hasn’t stopped since. I figured out where I would live, signed a lease, figured out how it would be paid, how to file my taxes and get things I needed to move to a different town. My new sets of responsibilities mainly consist of taking myself to my appointment or doing “adult” things like taxes. Also, cooking for myself has been a surprising challenge because I have to choose something different 3 times a day every day. Before, my grandma took care of that at all times and that never had to be a thought of mine. Another challenge was how much everything cost. Money goes like water. I’m extremely lucky to have a full-ride scholarship or else I don’t know how I would do it paying for the things I need.” 

   Loyola has finally begun living her adult life. Although having a plan in mind, there was a good chunk of information she wished was told to her before leaving home.

   “I wish I was told more about taxes, all types of insurance, government help, and bills. I felt extremely blindsided on how to file my taxes or go to my doctor’s appointments by myself. Also, no one talks about the government assistance programs that a lot of college students can apply for like Medicaid or even food stamps.”

   The pressure, the responsibilities, the cost of everything weighed down on Loyola in her first month, causing her to think of the possibility of moving back and going to a college closer to home. Regardless of the world pushing down on her shoulders, Loyola still pushed forward living in Big Rapids to make her new home. 

   “Life is expensive. That is one of the main things my friends say hold them back from moving away from home, money. Rent everywhere is high and in a college town cheap places can be hard to find quickly.”

   “It took me about a semester until I could really get comfortable at my new place. I struggled the first semester with feeling alone or guilty I wasn’t reaching out or getting the full “college experience.””

   After living at Big Rapids for around a year, Loyola started getting comfortable with the University and the surrounding environment. Despite being comfortable in Big Rapids, the town did not feel like home to her. 

   “Home will always be where I get to feel like a kid. When I got back to my grandma’s to visit it’s a different atmosphere. I also know I don’t want to stay in my college town and I hold onto that. I want to keep the mindset of branching away after. I miss my family of course. It’s hard leaving especially when you’re a first-generation student with immigrant families. They don’t always understand how hard it can be and the guilt you can carry leaving them”.

   Now in her second year of college, Loyola lives outside the campus in a small little apartment only a few miles away from Ferris. Still, the responsibilities came to her. She had to learn how to pay a lease, how to keep her apartment clean, and how to organize money to make the house payment on time. More and more kept packing on but still, she doesn’t regret moving away.

   “I enjoy having control in my life. No matter what, I would move at 17 all over again because I know in my situation at the time I wouldn’t have gotten that if I didn’t. Making decisions for myself changed everything.”

   Responsibilities kept on getting stacked one after the other, but she had it all under control enjoying her life away from home. Still not feeling right at Big Rapids, she knows she can visit home and forget about the responsibilities for a bit. She didn’t receive all the advice in the world and she’s not sure if she can give all the advice when leaving home, but she still has one more thing to say.    

   “My advice is to remain humble and to always thank your parents. No matter what, I know my mom did the best she could, and seeing how hard life can be I am even more grateful. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to start our life that we forget about the ones that helped get us where we are. I made the mistake of never reaching out to my family and hometown friends my first semester and I still regret it. Also, mental health is EXTREMELY important. That shift from being around people you know every day to being alone can become overwhelming but it really does get better as cliche as it sounds.”