5 answers

My family & friends

Asked Chicago, Illinois

I will be a undergraduate next fall. I am hoping to attend one of the best schools that I personally believe has a great Nursing program for me. However, it is no where near home. I have always dreamed of a movie like college experience. I want to become much more independent and all, but My mom and friends will need me and i know it. I am scared to leave them but I want to do this for me and partly for them as well. Any advice? On what I should feel or tell them?
#college2023 #nursing #family

5 answers

Nick’s Answer


My first suggestion would be to sit down and talk to them from two perspectives. One, yours. Two, theirs. I would walk through what you want to gain from college and work a partnership out. Maybe you can go to a college that is a hour away so you can have some independence and also support your family. College is a time for you, to set up your future. It is a balancing act that is different for everyone.  

Jennifer’s Answer

Updated Dallas, Texas

Hi Jennifer! This is a great question.

I am very family oriented so it was hard to decide what I wanted to do. I chose to attend a school 5 hours from home. I missed my family a lot, however, I got to see them for holidays which always made those holidays feel more special. I also grew much more independent by moving away. I learned many important lessons and was able to figure out what I wanted in life when I was apart from my family and had more room to make my own choices.

I think it is important to have family at the center of your life while also being independent and learning to grow as an individual.

It is important to note that college is not forever. Once you finish your schooling you can always move closer to home. I interned each summer of my college career and lived at home to save on rent. By the end of each summer I was ready to get back to school and live on my own again but was grateful the time I got to spent at home.

Another factor in your decision will be the school itself. I did not know anyone attending my college when I started. For me that was perfect. It allowed me to explore myself and others. I attended a community service camp the summer before my freshman year that allowed me to meet a few people and get to know the city where I would be living for the next four years. No matter what you decide to do distance wise, make sure to dive right in and get involved! It will make your college experience one to remember!

Jennifer recommends the following next steps:

  • If you decide to move away from home, go ahead and plan to take some of your holiday breaks at home with family. This will give both you and your family something fun to look forward to.
  • Look for programs that happen the summer before you start classes. Get involved early and make some friends so you will have some familiar faces that first day of classes.
  • Do what you think is best for YOU! College is a time you want to look back on and smile!

Abby’s Answer

Updated Washington, Washington

Hi Jennifer,

As someone who went to college a long distance from my family and friends, I empathize with your situation. It is scary to leave home and all of the familiar people behind, but I think you already recognize that you need to do this for you.

In regards to what you should tell them, explain about the program and how it's the best choice for you, but how important your friends and family are. Come up with a feasible way to stay in touch and share that with them. Ask for their input on your plan.

Some ideas could be a weekly Skype call (Sunday afternoon was a great time for this when I was in college) and a daily check in text with close family. Figure out a way to keep your favorite pastimes going; you might set up a regular session to watch your fave TV show together with your best friend. And consider them as you settle into your new routine- maybe mail them a shirt or mug from your new school or share a funny picture that made you think of them.

That said, you will make changes in your life and have new friends at school as well, so don't overwhelm yourself with commitments to people back home. This is a time for growth for you so try to let go of the guilt and get ready to explore.

You might consider checking out this article from Pyschology Today- https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-empathic-misanthrope/201108/the-importance-staying-connected-friends-and-family

It has some really good insights from a student in a position not too different from your own.

Know that it's ok to be scared, but it's also ok to be excited. Best of luck on your journey!

Jennifer, Abby gives you some great advice, as does Jennifer P in her response. I want to add one thing.... If you are in a position to move away and go to this school, then there will never be a better time. If you put it off, something will inevitably come up that will make it difficult. That doesn’t mean something bad will come up, but life itself can get in the way - relationships, bills, jobs, etc. Take advantage of the opportunity to do what you want to do, before the opportunity is gone. Good luck!

Geeniya’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Hello Jennifer, I can completely understand your situation here because I've faced it myself. I have studied in a college which was far from my hometown. I could visit my family only once in a year but I would say it was an experience of a lifetime. You will learn so much staying in a college far from home rather than a near one. You will learn to be responsible and to appreciate the small things your family members did for you when you lived with them. After you complete your education you will not only be an independent women but also one who could take care and support her family.

Geeniya recommends the following next steps:

  • https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=586452798501561

Jacquelin C.’s Answer


Hello Jennifer!

What a great question. You already recognize that going away from familiar surroundings, family, and friends will be difficult, and it will be. Know that college will not be like you see in the movies; it is a lot of hard work, frustration, homesickness, and at times, you may think you cannot do it. But, you can. I know you will be scared; I certainly was. You are stronger than you think. I know, I’ve been there and it was my mom who would not let me quit. Through all the crying and declarations that I wanted to come home, my mom reminded me that she was counting on me to care for her in her “golden years”, so I had to be successful. She said this jokingly, but her insistence that I continue and my nightly calls with her, enabled me to become stronger and lay the foundation for a great future. 

Know that you will probably become homesick when you first move away and that is a natural part of growing up and leaving home. Going away to school is a great experience and I would encourage everyone to do so. It is a time when you will shed your childhood pursuits and perhaps lose some old friends along the way, but the experience will help you grow and become a truly independent adult. Learning how to be independent, making your own decisions, completing your education, and setting your own goals, is the best way to ensure you are able to help your mom and family in the future. You can maintain a connection with family and friends by setting up and adhering to a communication schedule.

When I went off to school, I would briefly talk to my mom each night before bed just to let her know I was well, update her on my progress, or just vent to her my frustrations or problems, and she did the same with me and also provided encouragement and advice. We both looked forward to these calls and they helped my mom know that I was safe, which was her biggest worry. On nights that I might be out with friends (usually on the weekends), I would let her know ahead of time, and we decided I would make a quick, “I’m okay, I’m home” call when I returned back to the dorm. 

My friends and I would speak less frequently, perhaps once a week, but we made the effort to keep in touch, in the beginning. Just know that as you grow, mature, and become more independent, you may lose contact with many friends. This is a normal part of maturing and would happen even if you stayed home. There may be at least one best friend that will make the effort to maintain your friendship and connection, but do not despair if that does not happen. Your friends are maturing and changing also and sometimes that means you part ways. However, you will make many new friends who are sharing your college experience and some of these friendships may become your lifelong companions. 

Also, planning trips home for the holidays and summer are also a great way to keep in touch with your family and friends. These times will be precious and help to maintain contact. You are embarking on a truly fantastic, scary, life-altering period on your journey to adulthood. You will get out of it what you put into it. Focus on your education, but keep in touch with family and you will soon see that your family and friends will learn to manage on their own. 

This article, “9 Simple Tips to Make Living Away from Home Way Less Scary” by Shana Lebowitz, may be a bit dated, but it is a great article with good tips. See it at https://greatist.com/happiness/tips-for-living-away-from-home.

I wish you the best of luck in your new, exciting journey. I treasure my college years away from home and would not trade them for anything. I am sure you will come to do so also.

Jacquelin C. recommends the following next steps:

  • Before leaving for school, sit down with family and friends to develop a regular communication plan.
  • Be open to new friends, but continue to make your own choices.
  • Relax and enjoy this time! The memories will last a lifetime!