Moving away: Why I want my kids to apply for college away from home
Moving away from home is a courageous decision. I learned a lot about myself and what I was truly capable of. I learned who was invested in my life and friendships, and how to find confidence as a parent raising young children far away from family.
Leaving my hometown revealed to me what I missed about home, but also showed me all the opportunities to grow that a new home offers. These lessons may have come later in life for me, but that is why it’s important to me to tell my kids that it is okay to move away.
When my husband told me he was in the running for a promotion that would relocate our family my heart dropped. I was so happy for him, but I couldn’t help worrying of how that would change our life. I knew the job was a step in the right direction, but it meant leaving nearly all of our family and friends behind. All the familiar places and the city where I grew up, married and had my first two children, would be a chapter we would need to turn the page on. But as time went by, our relationship deepened as a team and as a family because of it.
Now that my teenage daughter is a junior and the discussions on where she wants to go to college are at their height, my perspective on leaving home is much different than it used to be. Selfishly, as a Mom, I always want my kids to be close by or a short flight away. But, I now know the benefits of leaving home and maybe even leaving your hometown. I learned for myself that leaving your hometown forces you to test your own strength and courage from the deepest parts of yourself. Everything from making new friends, trusting new people and absorbing what the city you live in has to offer.
Traveling has always been a big part of our family dynamic because we wanted our kids to experience the similarities and the differences from city to city. How the local people navigate their own town, how they spend their leisure time, the culture and diversity and history of a city or town and how they interact with one another teaches you so much about yourself and other people.
We have given our kids not only permission, but the support to stretch their wings and explore their options.
We encourage them to apply for college to at least one in state and two colleges elsewhere. We are not naive, cost will come into play of course, but we don’t want that to keep them from applying. All things considered, my only requirement is that we can get to them in a reasonable timeframe in case of emergency, and that we can fly them home for visits when they want to come home.
I am hopeful that my kids will have a sense of confidence to venture into new territories but also know where their safe place to land is….home. I don’t know where they will end up, but knowing that they get a chance to see places, experience different foods, meet new people, it builds character, opens their eyes to diversity and supports the inner confidence to last a lifetime. Maybe they will end up being happy and content back where they started, or maybe they will find something extraordinary somewhere new. Either way, we are here for it.