Top tips for becoming more independent at university
19 January 2024

Undergraduate student, Meso Emma-Nwakanma, shares her top tips for living on your own and becoming more independent.

Moving away from the familiar comforts of home at a young age can be a daunting yet transformative experience. As someone who relocated to the UK at 17, I found myself navigating new ground, away from family, friends, and everything I had known. This journey marked the beginning of my quest for independence, teaching me valuable lessons about self-reliance, financial management, and emotional maturity. In this blog, I'll share my top tips for those embarking on a similar path, drawing from my own experiences.

 

Financial Independence: Mastering Your Finances

Balancing University and Employment

University can be demanding and extremely time-consuming, however, securing a job can significantly contribute to your journey toward financial independence. Opting for agency jobs adds a layer of flexibility, allowing you to choose when and where you work. This helps you manage your academic responsibilities and empowers you with a sense of financial autonomy. Finding the right balance between work and studies can enhance your overall independence and set you on a path to self-sufficiency.

Create a Budget

Learning to manage finances is a crucial aspect of independence. Start by creating a realistic budget that outlines your income, expenses, and savings goals. Prioritise essential expenditures like rent, utilities, and groceries, ensuring that your budget reflects your needs and desires.

Creating a Savings Safety Net

Life is full of surprises, and having a financial safety net is crucial. Savings can act as a shield against unforeseen expenses, bringing both peace of mind and financial security. Make it a habit to save a part of your income to create a strong foundation for unexpected situations.

 

Life Skills: From Dependence to Self-Sufficiency

Master Basic Life Skills

Living on your demands more than just academic knowledge. It's essential to pick up practical skills like cooking nutritious meals, handling laundry, and managing basic home maintenance tasks. Acquiring these skills fosters self-sufficiency and builds confidence in facing daily challenges. I wasn't a great chef when I started university, but with a bit of guidance from YouTube and TikTok, I've learned to cook meals I genuinely enjoy!

Time Management

Effectively managing your time is a crucial skill for independence during university life. Ensure you meet all your work, study, and personal commitments to develop a well-organised schedule. Prioritise tasks, break down larger assignments and use technology to stay on top of deadlines. Set realistic goals to prevent burnout, designate short breaks for mental refreshment, and be flexible in adapting your plans as needed. Implementing these strategies has allowed me to balance my academic and personal life effectively, making the university experience more manageable and rewarding.

 

Emotional Maturity: Designing Your Path

Learn to Trust Your Judgment

As you navigate the journey of independence, learning to trust your judgment becomes a pivotal aspect of personal growth. Embrace the opportunity to hone your intuition and decision-making skills. At university, you'll encounter numerous choices, from selecting courses to deciding on extracurricular activities. It's essential to recognise that every decision, whether big or small, contributes to your overall development. Overcoming challenges and learning from experiences not only shapes your academic journey but also fosters emotional maturity.

Design Your Path

Moving away from the familiar allows you to design your life path. Take the time to set personal goals, both short and long-term, and work towards them. Designing your path empowers you to tailor your academic and personal experiences, fostering a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment. Embrace the chance to mold your journey, turning your aspirations into reality and creating a university experience that aligns with your visions, goals, and values.

 

Conclusion

Becoming independent is a multifaceted journey that encompasses financial responsibility, practical life skills, and emotional maturity. My own experience of moving to the UK at 17 taught me the importance of adapting to change, embracing challenges, and designing my path. By mastering these key aspects, you can navigate the transition to independence with confidence, creating a life that reflects your values and aspirations. Remember, the journey is as important as the destination, and each step toward independence is a step toward personal growth and self-discovery.