Self-reliance is a virtue

When I first came to university, I followed the same pattern many students adopt when at school.

Go to class, nap, hit the dining hall, study in my room and go home every other weekend.

I was pretty much confined by the four streets surrounding our school and rarely ventured off campus.

While this is normal and somewhat expected from first-years who are brand new to Waterloo and to Wilfrid Laurier University, it often continues after that year and seriously hinders students’ abilities to become independent human beings.

Most students move just a street or two over from campus after their year in residence and find themselves falling victim to the same pattern: go to class, nap, go to Subway or Pizza Maniac, study on campus or in their room and go home every other weekend — if not every weekend.

Few people are able to escape the tiny bubble surrounding campus and as a result they never feel at home in Waterloo.

It’s really a vicious cycle because when students don’t feel comfortable here they tend to go home a lot, which then takes away their chance to actually get to know the city and feel comfortable here.

I was in the same boat for my first couple years of university, and so were all of my roommates.

There was seldom a weekend when we were all in the house at the same time because so many of us would go home.

It all comes down to the fact that a lot of people don’t want to get out of the bubble.

They view their time at university as fleeting because they’re only in the city for four years of their lives — not including the summer for most students.

Many of their friends are still in their hometown, they feel the need to go home to do laundry and eat a decent meal.

Frankly, this tells me people are afraid to let go of the comforts of childhood and accept that they are on the cusp of adulthood.

Once I started to explore the city and all the cool stuff it has to offer, I instantly became more comfortable here. I no longer viewed myself as a temporary resident, only here to get my education and leave.

I started becoming more independent because I began to let go of my childhood in my hometown and began doing more for myself here.

It’s a lot harder to get out there and explore when you’re attending a school like Laurier, which isn’t integrated into the city at all. Some universities are a lot more spread out or just amalgamated into the city so it really feels like you’re a part of the community.

Laurier’s campus is tiny and tons of people appreciate that aspect of it. But it means you have to really go out of your way to make yourself comfortable in the city; but a great way to start is actually being here.

If you’re attending university, chances are you’re at least 17 or 18-years-old. You’re adults. You don’t need to be running back to your parents every weekend just because you miss the comforts of home.

You also don’t need to be afraid to get too far away from campus.

Utilize your independence. Get out of that tiny campus bubble.

A great way to start being an independent adult is by trying things out for yourself and viewing home as wherever you are, not where someone else does laundry and cooks for you.

It sounds harsh, but I’m willing to bet your parents are tired of it too.

There are so many beautiful parks within walking distance, amazing restaurants and bars that people are missing out on because they’re afraid to go too far away from campus or they’re just too lazy.

Likewise, people miss out on them because they still cling to everything in their hometown.

But I can tell you with absolute certainty that you will never feel comfortable here if you are never around.

There will come a day when you will be totally out on your own in a new city and you may not have the capability to just go home.

You won’t be able to just stay within a small radius of your work or home and lead a happy life.

So why would you do that now?

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