Happy 4th of July! Time for fireworks, picnics, swimming, and general fun in celebration of the United States declaring its own independence from the United Kingdom. With college applications, and eventually college, coming soon though, will the start of college be your day of independence?
Well, the honest answer, as for most such things is… depends.
Clearly, starting a new level of education and in many cases, moving away from home, brings with it a new level of responsibility and yes, independence. No longer will you be told what to study with a few electives thrown in; no longer will people check that you have shown up to class or done what is asked of you. As you embark on your collegiate career, your education will certainly be liberated from administrative overseers (ie, teachers, assistant principals, parents, etc.). Oh sure, there is still some degree of oversight but by and large how you pursue your educational investment will be entirely up to you.
And of course, socially, you are likely to be much more independent in how you choose who you associate with and how you spend your time. Extracurricular activities, coffee shops, parties, frats, sororities, and a whole assortment of other typical college things will vie for your attention. So, yep, more independence there too.
However, with greater independence comes greater responsibility. As mentioned above, you are now in charge of your education, which means in many ways, you will be dependent on the investment you make in it as you move forward in life. Remember, your education during college is the entire experience, not merely what occurs during the moments you enter and leave a classroom, lab, or library.
Furthermore, the reality of higher education today is that it often represents a significant financial commitment for the student and their family. You are responsible for understanding the financial obligations you undertake, whether it is credit card debt, a financing plan for a new computer, or student loans. If your family assists you in funding your education, you are also dependent on them to sustain your collegiate lifestyle. Not to mention more mundane items such as health and dental insurance, which many college students actually receive under their parents’ coverage.
Now, all of these points may not apply to you, but for every college-bound senior, it is important to remember that society as a whole is making an investment in your education, and you are dependent on society to provide the resources to help that investment mature. Don’t get me wrong: it’s college! Have fun! Take full advantage of your newfound independence! Live it up! Just remember that your independence has certain responsibilities attached to it.