Consider what it takes to live on your own and consider your readiness to do so. Honestly answer the questions that follow each readiness criteria. When you finish, you will know the criteria you have mastered and what, if anything, you still need to do.
- Self-Management. One sign of independence is setting and meeting realistic, short-term goals. Do you plan and complete chores or class assignments without reminders? Have you planned and organized successful social events such as an outing or a party?
- Self-Control. A big part of demonstrating maturity involves resisting or delaying personal gratification when that is the most beneficial thing to do. Your ability to balance what you need to do with what you want to do is a huge step toward adulthood. Do you manage your time wisely to do the things that you need to do before doing those you prefer doing? Which would you do first? Play games or complete your school work? Work on a project with classmates as promised or attend a baseball with a friend who calls offering an extra ticket? Mow the lawn, your routine Saturday morning chore, or stop to play video games with a friend who drops by unexpectedly?
- Sense of Responsibility. A mature person readily accepts the responsibility that goes with controlling one’s own life. Do you avoid problems by planning ahead? When problems do arise, do you maturely analyze the situation and decide what to do? Do you seek and accept supervision and constructive criticism? Do you accept responsibility for your actions and your mistakes as well as take pride in your achievements?
- Time Management. Scheduling your time and sticking to your schedule makes it possible to do more than you could otherwise. You show maturity by managing your time instead of waiting until someone reminds you or letting someone else do routine tasks for you. Do you wake up and go to bed at reasonable hours without being told? Do you get to class and other events on time? Do you schedule time to prepare your own meals? Do make time to you do your laundry each week? Do you make regular exercise regularly? Do you willingly assume responsibility for household tasks and not get upset or procrastinate when asked to help at home?
- Self-Direction. Ability to follow directions and work independently is essential if you want to succeed in school and work. Having a sense of self-direction means that you don’t need praise or monitoring to finish a task. Do you typically follow rules at home, at school, and at work? Do you follow directions carefully? Do you complete tasks without supervision? Do you take pride in the things you do?
- Income. Ability to keep a job or assume other long-term responsibilities indicates that you have what it takes to support yourself. What long-term responsibilities have you assumed? Do you have a secure job? Are your work hours predictable from week to week? Will your paycheck cover your expenses? If you answered “No” to any of these questions, moving out now would be risky.
- Money Management. You can show that you are ready to live alone by managing your money responsibly. Relying on your family to give you spending money or to bail you out when you overdraw your checking account or can’t pay all of your bills indicates that you lack readiness to live independently. Do you manage a checking or savings account, pay your bills, and save money for emergencies and opportunities? Do you avoid overdraft and late payments? Do you create and stick to a budget? Do you spend all the money you earn or do you save part of your paycheck?
- Daily Living Skills. Personal grooming, household chores, meal planning and preparation, and getting where you need to go are daily responsibilities. Being clean and well-groomed contribute to the success of both students and employees. Do you take pride in your personal appearance? Do you do your own laundry? Do you keep your living spaces clean and tidy without being reminded? Do you know how to shop for groceries and household supplies? Can you prepare basic meals? Can you get where you need to go via bike, car, or public transportation?
- Health and Safety Maintenance. As a young adult, you are responsible for maintaining your own health and safety. Do you eat healthy meals, exercise regularly, and get adequate rest? Do you take responsibility for scheduling regular visits to your doctor, dentist, and optometrist? Do you know how to respond appropriately to illnesses? Do you carefully follow directions when taking medications? Do you fully understand the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse? Do you routinely follow safety regulations? Do you know what to do in emergency situations? Do you know what safety concerns you should consider when selecting a place to live? When you are out at night? When you travel?
- Interpersonal Relationships. As a young adult, you will start and keep up a variety of relationships. Your communication skills are important tools for getting along with others. Do you get along with others and work to resolve problems before they escalate into conflicts? Can you communicate effectively in a variety of situations including in class, at work, in public, and at home? Can you communicate effectively using the telephone, letters and notes, e-mail, and social media? Does your body language match the words you use? Are your communications usually courteous and respectful? Do you avoid saying or sharing things you may regret later?
How would you access your readiness to move out on your own?