Welcome to Ask Evie, our advice column. Readers can submit their questions, and our editors will dish out their best advice!
READER’S QUESTION: “I am 21, and I want to go home. I'm a student, and everything is going wrong in my life: I can't stand loneliness, which means I'm stressed and unhappy all the time. I'm a work-study student, and it's going badly. I'm not passionate about what I do. I dream of stopping everything to go back to my parents to be with my family. (This is what makes me happiest: I can sing all day, cook, clean, and my brothers and sisters are really funny and we do music together.) The problem is that my parents have little money, and I will share the room with my sister. They live in the middle of the countryside, and I'm not at all sure to find work. I do not know what to do. So should I leave my studies and go home?"
EVIE’S ADVICE: This is not a straightforward answer, but rather some things to ask yourself and consider that will allow you to make the best choice for you and your future. Firstly, is college the right environment and plan of action for you? And second, are you making the best choices in your college situation?
It’s a sad fact of life that we need to work to make money to live. But that does not necessitate going to college. If there is a career path that you’re interested in that requires college, then your studies will be worth it in the long run. But if there’s something else you want to do that makes you happier and you don’t need to go to college for it, then college may not be the right choice for you. Is there a university option that’s closer to your home? Could you study online and live at home? There are many ways to still get an advanced degree in the modern age without living at college.
The second part of this is addressing how you feel in the moment right now at school. Do you have enough time apart from your work and your studies to go out and get involved in a club or in a social activity where you can start meeting friends? Is there a church nearby where you could join a young adult group? College is a great place for finding lots of social activities with people your own age, but you have to do the work of going out and meeting them.
College is a time of life where everyone has to get outside their comfort zone.
College is also a time of life where everyone has to get outside their comfort zone. It sounds like this is the only time where you’ve lived away from your family, and that can be a huge adjustment. It’s okay to feel lonely or feel like you miss being around them! If you can afford to, travel back home for holiday breaks to soak in some family time. We guarantee that you are not the only student who feels a little unhappy or stressed about being away from home. Some people adjust faster to the college environment than others do. However, if you do really want to go home and take your life in a different direction, then you need to have a practical plan for how to make that happen. Make sure you fully think it through and give yourself a chance to live on your own before making a rash decision.
Sometimes it feels as if the grass is always greener on the other side; will you return home and feel regretful about leaving your studies behind, finally remembering the good memories you made there and the freedom you had? What were your reasons for leaving home in the first place, and what were you looking forward to as a student? Ask yourself these questions while pondering your decision. As much as you love your family and your family loves you, you will need to get out and live your own life at some point, so heading home could just be delaying the inevitable.
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