4 Ways to Increase Your Independence as a College StudentBy David Thompson, UniversityHerald Reporter
The college years are a time when you gradually break away from your parents with the eventual goal of graduating, getting a job, and becoming fully independent. When it happens all at once, the switch from being a college student to an employee can feel like a huge change. Over the four or more years that you're in college, you might want to take deliberate steps to become more autonomous to make that shift easier.
Manage Your Own Money
Whether you're living mostly off student loans, scholarships, or money your parents gave you, becoming more responsible for your own budget is a great project to take on. You can begin now with good money practices that you can carry over into your working life later. If you haven't already done so, making a budget might be your first step. Starting to create a credit history is also important since you will need one later to rent a place and take out loans. Getting a credit card can be a great way to do this. If you pay your balance off monthly, you can build a strong credit history. You can review a student guide that will explain your options and help you make the important decision about which one will suit your needs.
Making Your Own Decisions
If you're in the habit of consulting your parents before you do anything, see if you can start to become more independent. It's fine to seek their counsel if you're trying to decide on something important, but on lower stakes decisions, go ahead and make the leap into deciding yourself instead of consulting them first.
Consider Your Boundaries
Do you tell your parents everything? Do you want to tell your parents everything? It's wonderful to have a close relationship with them, and there are certainly plenty of things you need to keep sharing with them at this point in your life, but you might also want to think about your boundaries and whether you want to set new ones. Maybe you don't want to tell them about every disagreement you had with a roommate or about minor problems that you can solve on your own. Perhaps you want to communicate a little less often. Everyone's boundaries will be different, and this may not be appropriate advice for every student, but some will benefit from starting to move away from the dynamic they may have had with their parents while in high school.
Set Your Own Goals
What do you want to do with your life? What's your career plan? Whose idea was that? Your family wants the best for you, and sometimes that can manifest in deciding what's best for you. If your own goals happen to align with their expectations, that's great, but be sure to consider whether that's the case. In the end, you're the one who must live your life. If you know you're going to be miserable as a doctor, a lawyer, or a teacher, you need to figure out what life path is going to be right for you and follow it.