My parents are keeping tabs on me but I was really looking forward to being independent at college. My mom always calls me if she thinks I missed a class or did not turn in an assignment. What do I do?
A dependent daughter
Dear Miss Dependent,
A lot of new college students have been in your particular position and eventually you will become better at maneuvering through the parental ropes, but I have a few tips on getting by.
Be the first to call home. This is a great sign that you are doing OK and your parents are going to be under the impression that school is going fine. Tell your parents all they need to know, from academics to extracurriculars (even if you have not left your dorm in days). Just make sure to keep your family back home in the loop. They worry because they care and it is best to beat them to the punch before your face is on the back of a milk carton. I have been there.
To truly bask in the independence of being a new college student (my apologies in advance), get a job. Nothing screams adulthood like getting paid next to nothing for back-breaking work. Getting a job, whether on or off campus, takes a lot of maturity and independence. Having to work while going to school, although not ideal, is another way to get a sense of independence as well as a test of how much of your time you are willing to spare. Balancing college and work is a job within itself, and if you do not need one, give yourself some more time to enjoy not being stressed.
When I first got to college, I felt most independent on Saturdays. There were numerous failed attempts trying to wake up before noon, forgetting to call home and waiting until Sunday nights to complete my assignments due the next day. Do the opposite.
Taking good care of yourself is extremely important when being independent. Making sure you are well-fed, moisturized and getting a good night’s sleep are essential to being self-sufficient.
Do not downplay your sense of independence because of your mother’s empty nest syndrome. Being in college is stressful and you waking up on time for class is enough independence this early in the game. College is the place where you go to learn independence and the immense sense of freedom is exhilarating, but when misused, it can result in consequences that may have a long lasting effect on your future.
Independence is the best part of college. It is the one thing that is guaranteed and whose terms and conditions you can agree to. Although it is a breath of fresh air, independent people still need help occasionally and should be able to depend on someone when the going gets tough. That is when you call home.