Learning Independence

Much has been written and said on the subject of independence, but it is never as relevant as when it directly affects you. 

Starting a university degree is considered, in many cultures, and especially the Western world, to be the first stepping-stone towards the ultimate goal of being independent. You have chosen a path that you will follow in life, gaining the necessary knowledge to be successful, forging friendships and building up a priceless network of contacts, all of which will ultimately become the framework for a career. However, this framework supposes that, as an individual, you will already be fully independent in order to comprehensively use its’ advantages. So how do you go about getting there? 

Leaving the nest

Moving away from your parents, generally considered the first real step to independence, is one you’ve already completed. Forcing yourself to venture outside of your comfort zone of family, friends and a familiar environment will allow you to grow and learn. Living alone for the first time, although somewhat a daunting perspective, can ultimately be exhilarating and it definitely puts you on the fast track to becoming one of those well-balanced, finance-savvy, DIY-whizz adults. Theoretically. 

Taking responsibility for yourself

Another important step in the bill-paved brick road of independence is taking responsibility for yourself. While it may seem obvious, you are now entirely responsible for booking your doctor’s appointment, paying your gas bills and making sure you fridge doesn’t contain foodstuffs with penicillin strains growing on them. If you are unable to find an internship or part time work during your studies, make sure you learn how to budget. Actually, learn how to budget regardless of whether you are also earning money alongside your studies. Any sudden increase in expenses (food, bills, or unexpected costs such as emergency dental appointments) will be far easier to deal with if you know that you have money allocated to cover the costs.

Lastly, know it is a learning curve. Studying abroad will be challenging- but it will also be exciting. Finding the balance between being a hard-working student and your social life might be a struggle at first, but, as with anything in life- when thrown into the deep end, you learn how to swim. 

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