Autonomy, Empowerment and Making Good Decisions

What is autonomy? Miriam Webster dictionary says that autonomy is “self-directing freedom and especially independence”. That means that YOU are now in charge of your life!

What is autonomy? Miriam Webster dictionary says that autonomy is “self-directing freedom and especially independence”.
YOU are now in charge of your life! Even if you are still living at home while attending college versus moving to a campus—it is on YOU—to wake up on time to make it to your classes daily, to study, to complete your assignments, to take care of yourself and take responsibility of your health needs, make your doctor appointments, refill your prescription on a timely basis, go grocery shopping and advocate for yourself when needed.
It is important to keep your morals in mind—while finding out who you are outside of your family. Treating people with kindness—trusting people that are new to you—befriending someone that turns out not to be who he or she appeared to be. You will be faced with circumstances like these that will test who you are as a person.
Part of autonomy is having a relationship with a healthcare provider. Know how to communicate with your doctor. Be responsible with medications, and do not share medications. Keep them in a safe place, and make sure they are taken as directed. Call your doctor ahead for refills, and be sure to make appointments for when you will be home! Arrange care at school if needed. Never stop a routine medication on your own without a doctor’s guidance!
There will be times when you think you may have aced that Calc test but end up with a D. It happens. First, you need to be real with yourself. Did you really study as hard as you could have? Maybe you just did not understand the material. Accept this failure and recover from it. It’s only one test and does not define how the next test will go. There are many resources available—you can email your professor, attend office hours, find tutoring options, and fix study habits. You should also check in with yourself—are you getting enough sleep, are you eating breakfast, are you practicing good time management? Take pride in your work and the choices that you make to better prepare yourself on the next quiz or test.
Living in a room with someone for an extended period of time is something many of us don’t experience until college, and it can be hard to deal with. Everyone will make mistakes and/or get frustrated with who they’re living with. Sometimes we react quickly and then realize there was a better way to handle a situation. It’s important for us to learn how to admit when we are wrong. It may help for you to explain your feelings or better communicate before a situation like this happens. Also, if problems continue despite good communication, you can talk to your RA or housing office. 
You will make mistakes along the way and that’s ok– you are supposed to make mistakes—just own them and try not to make the same mistake over and over. Try to fix issues yourself, but if problems continue, reach out to people in charge (RA, professor, advisor, disability resource center, or Medical counseling center)
Mistakes are normal
Learn to admit when you are wrong
Say you’re sorry
Explain your feelings
Stand up for yourself, nicely
Accept failure and recover
Have pride in your work and choices

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