By Annabelle Starr

While independence can seem daunting and isolating, the sooner one embraces and practices self-reliance, the better off they will be. In truth, no one will be able to coddle us forever, and some must learn this the hard way. People must grow up and mature, and part of the growth process is learning to rely on yourself rather than on others. This, I believe: that you can’t depend on anyone else; you can only depend on yourself.

Unfortunately, I had to learn this independence from the loss of my father when I was sixteen years old. When he passed, I was thrust into a situation where I was almost always home alone, with my mother working and my sister away at college.

I had been used to him taking care of the house, our pets, dinner, and other chores. With no one around during the day, I had to learn to be self-sufficient and cook, clean, and manage school responsibilities by myself. If I had chosen to rely on my mother to cook or clean for me, I would never have gotten anything done, given she does not come home until late.

This loss forced me to grow up a bit, and it showed me that, in the end, you are the only person that will be with you your entire life – you cannot depend on anyone other than yourself forever. While it was disheartening at first, this forced solitude certainly put life in perspective and only goes to show how valuable self-reliance is.

Furthermore, considering that I plan to attend college soon, it is only logical for myself as well as other students to develop this approach to life. Parents cannot take care of students on campus, at least not in person, and certainly not in the classroom nor exam environments. After all, college-bound students are adults, and self-sufficiency is a key to adulthood.

I have learned from experience that fostering this mentality of independence will nurture study habits in the long run and help one to grow as a person as well as a learner.

Though distilled from melancholic circumstances, my experience further highlights the importance of relying on oneself rather than others. The loss of my father and living on my own for most of the daytime has proven a solid lesson that, in the end, there really is no choice but to take responsibility for one’s own well-being and become independent and self-reliant.

It also remains true that learning to sustain oneself without external help is essential for aspiring college students or students in general. Yes, this I believe: that you can’t depend on anyone else; you can only depend on yourself.