I chose this week's letters because they so similarly mirrored each other, with one student wanting to move onto campus and the other interested in the opposite.
Dear Sam the Student:
I'm a high school senior and getting ready to hear back from the colleges I applied to. My dream is to move out of state and live and study on my own for the first time, but my parents are a little...overprotective. They don't even know that I secretly applied to out-of-state colleges, but I really want to be on my own. It's both my hope and fear I'll get accepted to one of the out-of-state schools I applied to, because it'll be a dream come true but then my parents will be mad at me and might not let me go. What do I do?
Signed, Ready to Move Out
Dear Ready to Move Out:
I'm going to turn this one back on you for a second: what would your reaction be if you came home from school one day, and your parents told you they had sold the house, bought one on the other side of the country, and were moving the whole family there next week? I'm guessing you wouldn't feel so pleased, and would have liked to have been approached well before, even if you had no say in the matter.
Look, you're an adult--or you will be by the time you start college--and you can go wherever you want without anyone's permission. It's freedom, but a good adult treats that freedom with responsibility. I'm not saying you have to tell your parents you applied to out-of-state schools, but that it'd be the nice thing to do. Sit them down, logically explain what it is about out-of-state schools that appeals to you, and provide the evidence that you've done your homework on it.
Dear Sam the Student:
I've just about completed my first year of college, and I spent it living in a dorm. I hated it. It was one of the worst years of my life, from the lousy meal plan options to the entire building seeming like it was party central. Now I want to move back home or get my own place, but I'm worried if I go home I'll take a step backward, and I don't know if I can afford an apartment.
Signed, Looking for a Home
Dear Looking for a Home
You've given it a year, which is what anyone can ask of you. And if you've decided that dorm life isn't for you, then it's not for you. Some students take to it like a duck to water, while others prefer a different pace of life, and you fall into the second category. I agree with you that moving back home would be a step back but first, you need to make a budget and see just how much you can afford to spend each month. Would you be open to a roommate or two? It'd cut down on expenses a lot, and you'd get a lot less noise than in a dorm. Whatever your choice, keep on moving onward and upward.