Let students find independence throughout university

As you drive up to Wilfrid Laurier University for the first time, eager, unprepared or apprehensive for the next four or more university years, there are many people to be met and to unite with, but there’s also some who will be waving goodbye.

The people dropping you off have likely been with you from the start and now it is your turn to take on the intimidating realm of independence. Take a deep breath. You’ll be fine.

Some students take on different levels of responsibility when living alone for the first time.

While some blankly stare at a laundry machine like it’s an advanced NASA rocket launcher, others pay their own tuition, get their own groceries and effortlessly cook their own meals.

Parent or guardian involvement can range from minor to extreme, but it is always important to have some level of guidance and mentorship to fall back on. There is no correct formula for how much your caretakers should help with the journey of independent living. However, whether small or big, we believe there should be presence.

Not many students walk out of their childhood house knowing everything on how to balance cheques and effectively time manage their days. Everyone has to start somewhere and university is the perfect place to learn about financial budgeting, following deadlines, time management, maintaining a clean environment and learning to handle the countless requirements of the real world. It’s that chance to find out what “being on your own” really means.

Some students pay for their tuition completely out of their own pockets, some are fortunate to have their bills paid for them and others rely on subsidization and scholarships to stay afloat on the rising waves of financial duty. These students might feel different obligations to academically excel based on the level of involvement from guardians or external influences.

Students may feel self-inflicted pressure if they’re paying for school themselves opposed to pressure from those paying the bills. It’s a simple matter of disappointing your loved ones or disappointing yourself.

University is an environment to learn, grow and understand yourself in ways you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Mistakes will be made and lessons will be gained. In the struggle for independence, it is important to have a fall back of support.

Some guardians will helicopter over their children from start to finish of university careers. Some will take a step back and let them discover the realm of independence for their own. Whether the parental role is big or small while settling into living on your own, it is necessary, but make sure you find your independence before your helicopter gets too close.

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