We know you have heard it before: “you need to learn how to be independent.” But let’s face it — sometimes life is much easier when we stay inside our bubble where our parents, family and friends protect us from the real world. But sooner or later we have to learn to survive on our own.
Generation Y is known for being tech-savvy, innovative and having a totally unique understanding of the world. But a growing body of research suggests Gen. Y is stranded somewhere between adolescence and adulthood; unsure of whether they want or should move quickly into maturity.
So what’s so great about being independent? We found seven young adults from all over the U.S. who are all experiencing independence in their own way. All are at varying points in their schooling and/or careers, living in apartments and dorms, and believe that being independent isn’t so bad. They tell us why stepping out of their comfort zones is a rewarding and significant experience.
Living in: Washington, D.C.
“It is better being independent because earning your own livelihood leads to a feeling of earned success and happiness. You feel accomplished because you are not dependent on others. After college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but being on my own gave me a chance to figure it out as I went.”
Living in: West Lafayette, Ind.
Occupation: Student, Purdue University (www.purdue.edu)
“In my opinion, life is better as an independent person. I view independency as the ability to care and fend for yourself when faced with varying levels of adversity. I don’t like to ask for help with my personal challenges unless I can’t figure out a solution myself. As a manager at Pizza Hut, I have to count on myself. I want and can handle being in charge. My advice is to always be confident that your decisions are good judgments and optimistic that the results will be positive.”
Living in: Vail, Col.
Occupation: Snowboard instructor
“I moved out to Vail completely alone and worked two jobs for 50 hours a week or more. It wasn’t easy, but I was able to manage it all and I found out I’m okay on my own. I get to make money and do something I really enjoy. True independence provides you with self-worth. It lets you know you can achieve on your own.”
Living in: Lincoln, Neb.
Occupation: Student, University of NE-Lincoln
“Being independent isn’t just about making new choices in life; it’s about letting the independent mind roam free. Having an open mind has allowed me to get a better understanding of the world and who I am as a person. Since I’ve been at college I’ve come to realize how to live and manage my own time without someone checking up on me. I make sure I do what’s best for me. While I have had my ups and downs at college, being independent and working hard has really been fulfilling. I believe that being independent is just finding where one fits in.”
Living in: Charlotte, N.C.
“You only have to rely on yourself. It’s up to you to survive; without trust in yourself or being able to rely on yourself, you really have nothing. I go to school and work nonstop, but I’m able to provide for myself and do what I want to do. That’s worthy of respect.”
Living in: Cortland, N.Y.
Occupation: Student, SUNY Cortland (www.cortland.edu)
“I think it’s better to be independent because it preserves a sense of self. A lot of people are going to come in and out of your life and if you depend on everyone else for everything, then I think you end up lacking individuality. At the end of the day, all you have is yourself to depend on.”
Living in: Boston, Mass.
Occupation: Student, Boston University (www.BU.edu)
“I believe that independent people are likely to have a greater sense of self-worth than dependent people, and therefore a more positive outlook. I have come to appreciate my independence this past year during my travels through Nicaragua and several countries in Europe. It has been extremely rewarding to navigate these countries and learn about these cultures on my own. In my opinion, independence allows for a happier, and therefore better, life.”
So, you see, sometimes being independent is as simple as finding out who you are outside of your bubble. We have confidence that you can succeed by striking out on your own path. Don’t believe us? We dare you to find out for yourself.
Sarah Girouard recently received her master’s in education from Nazareth College (www.naz.edu) and plans to teach high school English.