City Life + Arts

How to be independent while still living with your parents

Two parents, one male presenting one female presenting, behind a child who stands independent while wearing a university of houston sweatshirt

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

College is often presented as this idea of transformative independence; the chance to finally be out on your own. While this experience rings true for some, many college students end up living at home. But even if you still live with your parents, there are many ways to be independent.

Living with your parents doesn’t have to be all bad. Truth be told, things in college can get quite complicated and having your parents by your side might be a great source of emotional support. Whether you live at home or on campus, everyone can benefit from some solid parental advice.

Whether you live with your parents because you need to or just because you want to, the University offers lots of opportunities to foster your curiosity and sense of independence. At UH, you’re frequently told to feel like the world is yours. That’s because it is! So go explore it!

Getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things is one of the best ways to start feeling truly independent. Even if you’re living at home, this is a great chance to find something uniquely you — something that will really help shape your individuality. 

You already pay for so many services here at UH, so take advantage of them! Don’t shy away from exploring fun spaces such as the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. The Rec is a fantastic place to try out new sports, take swimming lessons and make new friends!

Another superb thing you could try is getting involved with student organizations on campus. Take the Cougar, for example!

While writing opinions and stories to be published in the student paper might seem intimidating, it’s actually a lot of fun! It can be a great way to offer your unique perspective on campus affairs and express your ideas independently.

A big part of being independent is taking risks. You should consider not limiting yourself to activities related to your major. UH offers so many other unique opportunities, and you don’t want to miss out because you were afraid to try something new.

For example, even if you have no intention of going to law school, you shouldn’t cross out the possibility of joining the Mock Trial team. Improved public speaking skills and knowledge of the legal system are useful skills in any job, and you might find that you really enjoy it too!

While you might be having a blast as you step out in your newfound independence, don’t forget to take care of yourself. UH has options for this too, many of which you can access just by being a student. 

For example, did you know the University Eye Institute offers amazing discounts for you to enjoy while simultaneously offering high quality service? Get those eye exams in!

Taking care of yourself also means dedicating time to your mental health. Consider taking a break from your schoolwork and chilling at Cougar Grounds so you can destress a bit.

If you are ever facing a crisis, don’t forget that Counseling and Psychological Services exists to serve you and to help you succeed. Other places near campus, such as the Montrose Center, also offer counseling and other services at a sliding scale fee. 

There are tons of amazing services that UH has on offer, and surprisingly few of them actually require you to live on campus. 

At the end of the day, living with your parents does not mean that you have to let go of your autonomy. It shouldn’t deter you from leaving your mark on campus or from growing into the most authentic version of yourself. 

College gives you the power to be anyone. UH gives you the tools to be yourself. So step out and find your place here!

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