Independence is an important part of being an academic. Not only are you expected to take responsibility for your own learning, you are also expected to show independence in your academic work.
As the common paragraphs on arguments and reasoning show, a crucial part of being an academic is to use the work of others.
Thus, the independence lies in the way you activate the work of others. This is important to remember.
Drawing on the negative as well as the positive aspects of an argument shows independence in relation to the text, just as criticizing an esteemed scientist by means of a substantial argument also shows independence - and is furthermore expected in your academic work.
However, just as important as it is to use the work of others in academia, it is also of critical importance that you remember to credit them for their work.
Plagiarism is considered stealing, and it is therefore illegal if you do not accredit others when you use their thoughts or statements. To prevent yourself from accidentally plagiarizing, you should read more about plagiarism and handling literature under References and citations.