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Become a more independent person with these 5 tips

19 September 2016
How to enjoy your newfound independence at university
Growing into yourself is part of learning how to be an independent person. What’s the best way to survive being thrown in the deep end when you start uni? Gain financial independence, know what drives you, and seek help when you need it.

If you’re about to finish high school and start uni, you’ll be dealing with a whole lot of newness soon. Read our top five pieces of advice below and you'll be on your way to becoming a more independent person.

1. Be financially independent

Money can often cause stress for new students. “It’s really important that you learn how to save,” says medical student Gratia. “Cap yourself on your spending, because I found that sometimes I spend a lot.” Finding a casual job also makes it easier to be financially independent. Search the Careers Centre website for workshops and browse for jobs available on CareerHub.

There’s also a vast range of scholarships available for both undergraduates and postgraduates so check out which ones are now open – not only do they provide financial help, but scholarships can also boost your CV. Stick to a weekly budget and learn about student loans and bursaries, and what financial assistance you’re eligible for through the Financial Assistance Office.

2. Find your motivations

What makes you tick? We’re all motivated by different priorities and values, so this is the time to find what drives you. The motivating factor behind your decision to go to uni will sustain you through your degree and reward you with self-value and self-esteem.

Are you studying with a specific career goal in mind, or are you open to changing your mind? Which extracurricular activities, clubs, societies or internships could motivate you? Knowing your purpose will give you a sense of fulfilment that will last on past graduation.

3. Seek out information

Self-teaching is part of being your own person. As medical student Fei suggests, “you have to check the weather app yourself” before you leave for class. You’ll need to learn to help yourself at uni, and part of this is knowing where to turn for more information.

Attend career workshops and mental health workshops to train yourself up, access online resources on referencing, learn how to book a study room, and heaps more. Grab all opportunities that come your way for skilling yourself up, and you can always ask more experienced colleagues or staff for help.

4. Your marks don’t define you

Having taken control of your life, being independent also means owning your mistakes. You can’t know everything straight away, and it’s inevitable that you won’t work to the best of your ability until you’ve settled in. If you’re disappointed after receiving your first assignment marks, come along to workshops and special tutorials for academic support at the Learning Centre.

5. Ask for help

Enjoying your freedom and being self-reliant is, at its best, knowing your limits and when you need to ask for help. “You’ve got to be an adult now”, says commerce and science student Kevin, and that includes seeking advice when you’re out of your depth. Take advantage of the experienced staff members on campus, the Counselling and Psychological Services, online resources about campus life, and more experienced students who can mentor you. Remember, nobody knows you need a hand unless you ask.