Dependence Detox: Preparing for Life on Your Own

Moving from the comfort of home to the unknown world of life on a college campus might seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be, especially if you start prepping for it in advance.

You’ve been waiting for this liberation your whole life. Whether your campus is a quick highway trip from home or a cross-country expedition away, the idea of college freedom is like no other. But anticipation of a late-night post-study-sesh pizza outing without having to bargain with mom and dad for a curfew extension aside—total independence can be pretty daunting.

In high school, everyone is at different levels of independent function, and wherever you are at the moment, you’re okay! Some students need an extra 10 minutes of sleep to rev their engine for school, sports, and work, so they appreciate that their parent still packs their lunch. Some have slipped into the comfortable routine of throwing dirty laundry on the floor and waiting for it to reappear on their bed folded and clean. And on the other hand, there are plenty of students who generally rely on themselves, and perhaps even care for others in the family.

Regardless, if there are chores or duties that you know you’ll have to perform in college that you don’t have to yet, junior and senior year is a fantastic time to practice them and ease into independence. This way you’ll be able to enjoy your collegiate freedom instead of being overwhelmed by it.

Try a dependence detox for a campus-ready lifestyle with a few of these ideas:

  • Do your own loads of laundry—an obvious but often overlooked trade to master.
  • Clean (no, really) your room. No one’s going to remind you, but you know less clutter will be better for you and your roommate to return to at night! If you’re inherently disorganized, take time to figure out how you can minimize messiness, whether it be an extra few seconds every night to actually put dirty laundry in a hamper or a weekly reorganizing of your things.
  • Do the grocery shopping and cooking. Yes, most colleges do require freshmen to sign up for a meal plan, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cook on your own. You may want to make healthy alternatives to messhall macaroni, recreate your grandmother’s famous cookies that will ease the homesickness, or just bond with your roomie over breakfast in bed.
  • Start a healthy de-stressing regimen. Whatever your schedule entails, with the chaos of a completely new environment, you’ll want something familiar to look forward to. From green tea and a good read to hitting the gym for a Pilates class on weekends, give yourself the time you deserve to unwind!

You still have a good amount of time to pinpoint areas of your daily life where you’re reliant on the help of others. A dependence detox could be just what you need!

Any other suggestions on how high-school students can prepare to adult in college? Share your secrets to a successful transition in the comments!

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About Kristen Connors

Kristen Connors is a senior at Rising Tide Charter High School in Plymouth, Massachusetts. She is a cross-country, basketball, and softball athlete, as well as an aspiring economist, writer, and eager college student.


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