Ask yourself: Am I, as a college student, doing enough to become independent?
Some college kids, dorming or not, were too sheltered growing up and didn't learn the basic skills people need to take care of themselves. Some of these skills include doing simple tasks such as laundry and cooking.
Cooking may not be completely simple to a beginner, but with enough practice, following recipes and other people's advice, a student can definitely learn how to do it. What happens when there is no meal prepared for you and you have no money? That's what you have to plan for when you are grocery shopping.
Now grocery shopping is yet another skill. You have to know how to pick out fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats: the basics. You need to know how to compare prices in different supermarkets to make sure you are getting as much as you can and at the best quality for the cheapest price, which is something you may learn from your parents.
As for laundry, some students still do not know how to do their own. I've heard from quite a few people in their 20s who still have yet to do their own laundry. At that point is where it gets ridiculous. Someone's inner growth can definitely be hindered by not knowing how to take care of themselves. Learning how to take care of yourself is a lesson you learn your whole life, but if you don't start when you're young it'll only be that much more difficult to be on your own.
The question of the difference between being cared for and sheltered is this: are you able to function without your parents? Your parents will always love you and be there for you, but they will not always be able to take care of you. It is tough to realize, as some people, like me, were thrown into adulthood early. But in the end, the benefit of being young and independent is a lot greater than the struggle to learn how.
Entering adulthood means a lot of more work on your part than you put into your life growing up, but the more independent you become, the more confident you will be. Confidence is developed when you realize you CAN live on your own, and you don't need anybody. That you can count on yourself and that is all you need to do to attain some type of inner happiness.
Inner growth is something you don't realize you develop as you are growing up. We are forced to go to school to get a diploma, but we don't realize that getting your education is another form of self-growth. Some people think of it as a nuisance that everybody is forced into, but it is your first step.
Sheltered students have their parents babying them and that pushes them back. In order to become a successful adult, you MUST learn how to take care of yourself. If your parents are still packing your lunches, cooking and doing your chores, it is hurting you, not helping you. So if you feel like you are sheltered, start doing more and I promise the results will not disappoint!