Home or Away?

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Dear Michele,

I’m a brand-new-18-year-old girl, and right now, I’m living at home and going to college. The thing is, I have to transfer next year. On the one hand, I’d like to go away and experience new people and new things, and try living on my own for a bit. But on the other hand, I’ve never lived alone, and I’m worried that I’ll freak out and get homesick, and I’d be too far away to come home. I’m especially worried because the few times I have gone away for a few days, I did get really homesick, and missed my family, and I don’t know if it will just get worse. Should I just not take the risk, and find a college near home? I’m really confused, please help!

Afraid to leave the nest

Dear Afraid,

I so know where you’re coming from. The one time my parents sent me to sleep away camp I wrote 42 letters BEGGING them to bring me home. “The counselors all hate me and one of them s-s-s-stole my grano-o-o-o-ola bars! YOU HAVE GOT TO SAVE ME FROM THIS PLACE! THOSE ARE REAL TEARS YOU CAN SEE ON THE PAPER.”
But they ignored me. And they were right to, because by the end of the week (yes, this was only for a week), I’d had a great time and learned a lot of cool things (how to make a hammock for an ant out of my bunkmate’s favorite t-shirt) and a lot about myself (possible to survive without chocolate chip chewy granola bars).
Homesickness is natural, and it shows what an excellent place you come from. But it’s not fatal, and it should never be a reason to NOT do something.
I can’t overstate what an incredible opportunity going far away to college is. It comes at exactly the right time in your life, a moment when you have the minimum of responsibility and the maximum of perky boobs. I mean possibilities. Plus, you’re surrounded by people who are in the same situation you are—away from home, on their own probably for the first time—in a setting that is carefully designed to get people mingling.
If none of that convinces you of the importance of taking this risk, consider this [WARNING: IF YOU ARE SQUEMISH OR EASILY FRIGHTENED, DO NOT READ WHAT FOLLOWS]: if I hadn’t gone 3000 miles away from home to college, I might still be wearing white knee high fringe boots. Over jeans. Every day.
Now go get those applications!


Dr. J

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