Gaining Independence

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Tulin Babbitt
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College has many aspects, all of which carry importance. Grades and classes obviously hold weight. Joining clubs and making friends are high up there as well. However, out of everything that you can learn at college, independence takes the cake.

For most incoming students, college is the first experience with actual freedom. No longer are parents breathing down your neck and preventing you from going to a party or skipping class. Suddenly you do your own grocery shopping and remember to do your laundry. Through my escapade of college freedom, I have found three tips to ensure I keep a level head and remain successful with my coursework:

Read your syllabus to see if there’s an attendance policy. Some professors only let you miss class a certain number of times before they dock your grade. If the number of allowable absences is three and you’ve already skipped twice, try to save that last opportunity for a time when you really need it. The next time you’re thinking of skipping to do something fun or because you just feel lazy, this knowledge will force you to go to class.

Make a to-do list! Write down any homework or chores you must do. If you need to go to the grocery store, make a grocery list to stay organized when shopping. Whether you like to use an actual planner or choose to take advantage of e-planners and note apps for phones or computers, find what works for you and use it!

Eat well and exercise. Your parents won’t be there to cook wholesome, organic meals anymore. That’s all up to you now. While pizza for the 7th night in a row this week might sound tempting, it’s important to remember that your physical nutrition impacts your mental abilities and social motivations. Schedule in regular exercise several times a week. Take advantage of your campus recreation facilities if you can.

As you start out in college, you begin making your own decisions. It feels powerful. Without your parents, no one is going to convince you to stay home and study rather than go to that party. If you have a headache, you’ll have to make the decision to go to class or stay in bed. These banal choices you make during your four years of college aren’t going to determine the rest of your life, but you might as well get in the practice of being responsible. That isn’t to say you should always skip fun opportunities, but make sure you don’t need your parents to keep you on track. Be your own conscious, and make responsible decisions.


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