Discovering the True Blue You

Lauren Gorla

Welcome back, and to our new Eagles welcome to your new home for the next four years.

At this point (hopefully), your parents have left, you’re getting your stuff settled in your new dorm and are wondering what to do now that it’s your time to shine. Well if you never read anything I write ever again, take this one piece of advice: use your time in college to learn what true independence is.

You think you were independent in high school when you got your license? Ha. Going to the movies on a Friday night and not having a curfew? Child’s play. Planning a spring break trip with your friends to the always-glamorous Panama City Beach? L O L.

When I moved to Georgia Southern, my idea of independence was getting a TV in my room and getting to watch Family Guy every night at midnight (yes, I know I’m lame). I was a responsible student in high school and thought I had what it took to make the perfect transition to a mature, independent college student that wouldn’t look like a freshman.

The definition of independence changes really quickly when you are the one solely responsible for your well-being. Independence in college is having to sign a legally binding contract regarding your housing for a year. It’s about making a solid plan (and back-up plan) for if you decide go out and drink. And it’s learning when to put down the cookie cake from Wal-Mart and pick up some fruit instead.

There’s always those times where you’ll need to rely on your parents for help with grocery money, rent, or the inevitable rant about your roommate, but all day-to-day responsibilities fall on your shoulders.

College is one of the first times when you’re not relying on anyone else’s schedule except your own. If you want to drive out to the edge of Statesboro at 1 a.m. on a Wednesday and poke around an old abandoned factory, you can totally do that. You’re learning the boundaries of your independence and how far you can push them before something negative happens in return.

So what’s the best way of avoiding those negative consequences? You have to find that answer on your own time, and your first couple weeks of college is a great time to start figuring it out. Everyone’s definition of independence will be different when you finally graduate and leave little ol’ Statesboro, but the hopes are that you can take care of yourself and make better decisions than when you came in as a freshman.

You’ll make mistakes along the way of figuring out what independence means to you, but by time senior year rolls around you can laugh about those mistakes with your friends. We were all freshmen once upon a time, and have all grown immensely from our first year. Good luck, we’re rooting for you.