The Highs and Lows of Leaving Home for College

As a teen you’re probably trying to figure out how it’s going to go when you reach high school graduation. You’re probably trying to decipher the details regarding many areas of your life, including where to go to college or whether to go at all, where you might live, and what job to pursue in order to become financially stable.


Of course, some recent graduates stay home for their first few years of college so that they can rely upon the financial and emotional support of their parents. And there are a large number of graduates who go away to college. The experience of leaving home can bring both highs and lows. It has some pros and cons, even if college is just a few hours away.


The highs of leaving home might be finally feeling your independence! You’re free. You don’t have to abide by the rules and limitations that your parents have placed on you for so many years. You have the opportunity to make your own choices, stay out as late as you want, eat what you want, and spend time with friends that your parents might not like. All of your choices are now up to you! Your independence and autonomy have finally arrived!


However, with that independence comes responsibility. With being able to make your own choices and with the freedom to live your life the way you want to live it comes burdens that all adults must bear. For instance, Jeremy is now spending his senior year in college away from home. Because he has been working and could afford to pay his own rent, he decided to get some real life experience by living away from home. However, in a few short months he realized that it wasn’t quite what he thought it was going to be.


The income from his job allowed him to get by financially. He could pay the rent, buy food, and pay for incidentals throughout the month. His income wasn’t much, but it just barely covered his needs. Jeremy was fine with it. He figured that you had to start somewhere and as long as he could get by he was fine.


However, little by little, the challenges of living on his own began to appear. First, he wanted to be able to go home at least once per month to be able to spend time with his family, whom he loved. It was a six hour drive, which meant that he would have to take a few days off of work in order to make the drive worth it. Of course, his absence at work for those few days meant less income, but he managed. He was able to continue to meet his monthly financial needs while still seeing his family from time to time.


When he told his parents about his financial situation in more detail, his mother offered that he drive her car, which got much better gas mileage than what he was driving. He was happy to let go of his beat up old pickup truck anyway and drive his mother’s Prius. It felt safe and comfortable. But, it didn’t last long. Perhaps he needed to get used to driving a different car which got in his way because one afternoon he wasn’t looking and ran right into a pole, which dented the bumper.


The damage cost him $500 which didn’t help his financial struggle at all. Furthermore, the accident came right after having to pay his $1,200 rent. The experience put him face to face with the reality of life’s challenges. His parents weren’t always going to be there to help him out financially or even emotionally. He needed to bear with the problems of life on his own. Living on his own helped him realize the complexities of life and the challenges it bears.


Leaving home for college has its advantages, but as Jeremy learned, it immediately puts you in the driver seat of your own life, and with that comes both responsibility and rewards.