Employing Interdependence on Campus

by UMaineCLASAdvisingCenter

It seems that the word independence, in our culture, has taken on iconic status as THE ultimate goal for a successful life. The term interdependence is rarely bandied about so easily, as if relying on others for help is somehow a sign of failure. This is hardly the case; interdependence is not the same as dependence or co-dependence, rather it is a mutually supportive set of relationships and networks. Successful students usually find and strengthen their roles as students by creating supportive networks and giving and receiving help from their peers as well as turning to mentors, professors, and advisors for help. Conversely, struggling students often work alone and seldom cooperate with others as a team. Therefore, students should definitely develop mutually supportive relationships while at the university. It is true in college, as well as life, that no one gets where they are going alone.

Students that reach out and find support networks tend to do much better in the long run. While independence is a commendable quality and a definite step towards maturity, interdependence demonstrates an even greater sense of maturity. By employing interdependence students will maximize their success by seeking help from professors, librarians, academic advisors, counselors, community services, study groups, etc.

Some examples of how to employ interdependence here on campus are as follows:

  1. Get involved in or start your own study groups in your different classes. They are a great way to both get to know people in your classes and to help you get good grades.
  2. Are you confused about future courses to take or what career path you would like to follow? Connect with your advisor or make an appointment with someone in the Career Center.
  3. If you are having academic trouble, do not be afraid to reach out for help: go to the Tutor Program, talk to your professor, see an academic advisor, or network with other students in the class to form study groups.
  4. If you are having financial difficulty you may end up with a hold on your account and will not be able to register for future classes. Talk to someone at the Office of Financial Aid, as they are the most direct route to settling these matters.
  5. Do you feel as if personal problems are getting in the way of your studies? The Counseling Center offers initial meetings on a first come, first served basis Monday – Thursday between 1-3:30pm. Talking to someone is always a great way to alleviate stress and get some perspective on your situation, and it is FREE!
  6. Don’t be afraid to use the library! It is one of the largest in the state and it is staffed by some of the best reference librarians around. Get to know them and ask questions. When it comes to researching and writing, you will find that knowing your way around the library will be a great asset for you.
  7. Join a club or organization. There are myriad clubs here on campus from Active Minds to Yoga Club. Find one that suits you and get involved and get connected! For more information see Student Life Resources.

These are just a few suggestions for employing interdependence. The point is that you need to reach out and make connections. Find help if you need it, but offer help as well. One of your goals as an undergraduate is learning how to use your skills and knowledge to the best of your ability, but to also have the courage and the insight to ask for help when you need it.