An Open Letter to Parents From a Graduating Senior
As a graduating senior, I can speak from experience when I say, let your children study away from home for college.
Though my college experience may be different than the typical story, it was great nonetheless. Instead of living in a dorm for four years in some strange new city, I chose to do my first two years at a local college, and then transfer to a bigger school to finish up where I planned on living in an apartment off campus.
Starting a new school in a new city can be frightening, but it can also be exciting. After all, what’s excitement without a little bit of fear?
When I got my acceptance email to Boston College, I was both shocked and a little nervous. I had always wanted to study away from home, but that email solidified the possibility becoming a reality. If I accepted my admission, that would be it, I’d be packing my bags soon after and buying a one way ticket to Boston.
Choosing to leave my family for two years while I finished my undergraduate studies was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, but it was also one of the best. I have grown not only as a person, but also as a daughter and sister. Oddly enough, leaving my family only brought me closer to them.
I needed the time away to mature on my own and realize how much I need my family in my life every day.
Some kids will go and study in a new place and fall in love with the city and decide to stay after graduation. I always thought that I would be one of those people – especially living in a city like Boston for two years. Yet, I turned out to be the girl who learned to appreciate her home more than ever. There’s really no place like Florida.
As I look back on the last two years, I’ve had some amazing internships that I know would most likely not have been possible if I had stayed home, and I’ve had some amazing teachers at BC.
Studying away from home has turned out to be one of those life-changing experiences. As an individual, you get to spend a lot of time on your own, and this way you get to know yourself better. You get to see how well – or maybe not so well – you adapt to new surroundings and new people.
Sometimes we get too comfortable with the life we lead, so college is the perfect time to shake things up and create a totally new comfort zone.
I know that some parents may be worried about their kids being on their own and enjoying their freedom on dangerous levels. I can’t speak from experience in this department since I’ve always been more of a “square” than a “drape” (or “rebel teen” a la Cry Baby). I like to be responsible in all aspects of my life, including parties. But in reality, what is to say that your rebel teen won’t go crazy while studying at home? Maybe living away from home will cause him/her to be more responsible and more careful.
Ultimately, going away to college changes you, and 99% of the time it’s in a good way.
In a few weeks I’ll be moving back home, and though it might take a little getting used to being home again (it’ll probably only take me a few hours), I’m excited to start this new journey in my life. Yes, I’m treating it as a new journey because I wont be returning as the same girl who left two years earlier; I’m a new me, and my hometown will be like a new city.
And lastly, to my own parents, I want to say thank you. Thank you for supporting me in everything I do and never failing to believe in me. You two are my inspiration that get me through each day. The pictures of us around my room are a constant reminder that if I fail, I’ll always be welcome with warm, loving arms. And although I don’t intend to fail, I do intend to be embraced by your warmth. Thank you for loving me and trusting me enough to let me grow on my own these last two years.
Thank you, mom and dad, thank you.
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