College Blues

jannieAugust 17, 2006

My daughter Roxanne graduated from high school in June and turned 18 in July . She was planning on attending college. Next week we were all going for orintation,student and parents. Today, she came to me crying. She told me she wants to withdraw, "take a semester off", work full-time and live at home. She also broke off with her boyfriend of two years. We're all upset. Her dad wants her to go to orientation anyway, just to see if she might "change her mind". I say it's not the end of the world, some people need more time to find their way. DH is upset because she's loosing her health insurance because she's 18 and not a student. We also want to be supportive,but how far should we go? We bought her a used car as a going-to-college-gift. She says she'll use it for work. By the way, they offered her a raise to $10.50 an hour for full-time. DH thinks we should apply "tough love" and charge her some rent. She just keeps crying, "why are you doing this to ome?" If we charge rent, how much sghould it be? Should it just be a nominal amount,like $100 a month or should we check prevailing real estate rental prices? She recently applied for car insurance, and it's going to cost her $1845 for six months! My mind is going a mile a minute. She's my baby and I am disappointed, but I'm trying to be optimistic that this is not the worst thing in the world. Other people have taken time off between high school and college. What would you do?

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Send her off to college, she will be greatful later. If she takes one semester off and makes money full time it is just that much easier to take the next one off too, and the one after that. No health care is a biggie too. Send her away but offer to either come up and help her each weekend or have her come home each weekend. If you can afford it allow her to not work while at school to help ease the transition a little. Every one gets scared but she will love it when she is there. Maybe even strike her a deal, to do one semester and then consider taking the next one off, then you at least have given her a taste of college life. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 4:06PM
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I agree with the sending her off to college (One semester, then let her change her mind), but she won't get emersed into college if she goes home every weekend, or if you go there (BTDT).

IF she truely doesn't want to go, then you can't make her, and she has to live her own life. And let her live the life of the adult she wants to live. Charge her rent. Yes prevailing rent, if you feel you must, put in - unbeknownst to her- into savings for her first and last month's rent when she truely moves out, though in the REAL WORLD landlords will not do that for her. Loss of health insurance, well maybe her full-time employer will offer it to her, REAL WORLD, car insurance...REAL WORLD, College...not real world, but a beginning to grow up. Let her know all of this before she completly drops out and then let her make up her mind. Remember if she wants to live in the REAL WORLD, let her. We know the REAL WORLD sucks, she has to learn it to someday, too bad it may be sooner than you'd like it too.

Remember too not going to college may be an end of a dream...YOUR dream. It may not have been her dream. She may go back to school (health insurance may be lost..but it may not, some health insurances are good WHILE their 18..which means up until theri 19th birthday or longer if in school), she may not, but she is an adult and needs to make her own decisions


    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 5:43PM
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Hi Jannie

This same situation went on at my house last year !

I dragged my daughter to open days at several Universities. I said "Just keep your options open", she said "I want to take a year off, earn money and travel".

My husband said, I will pay for college for one year, if you go now. Luckily she took up that option.

One year down the track, she has finally figured out that working full time, in the real world, is harder than she thought. (She is working fulltime waiting to go to your part of the world, as the semester starts on 28 Aug, in Australia we are half way through the year.)

She can see that going to Uni is the best decision she made and working full time is not as wonderful as she thought it would be.

My advice to you is to calm down, remember things will always get better.

Its tough when you leaves school, tough for kids and parents. Parents can provide opportunities, but in the end you cant force them into doing things they dont want to do.

Good luck with it all, I think it will work out.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 10:18PM
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Such thoughtful comments! Yes,it is the "death" of MY dream. Roxanne is a lovely person. At least she has a job she likes and does well at. But I'm sure she'll discover that college is still worthwhile. We talked at length about her future. She has already contacted the college and they will allow her to enroll in January. My own best friend Sue took a year off between high school and college,worked in a womans clothing store(which she hated). But now at age 54,after a varied life, she is a PhD and a college professor herself!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 12:05AM
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Great suggestions -- I'd agree with the "Pick One" approach - either it's the Real World or College, with either choice being 'whole hog'. And it really does need to be her choice, done for her own reasons -- hopefully, good reasons.

It may also be helpful to try to talk with her about her break-up. As hard as it is to deal with, it's really what was bound to happen anyway with her off at college. Now is the perfect time for her to be exploring all of the possibilities her adult life has to offer -- college is one way to do that. So's working full time. But staying home to try to revive her high-school sweetheart relationship or to nurse a broken heart is just eliminating options, not exploring new ones. Will she talk to you about her reasons?

The Real World choice should include market-level rent, paying her own car insurance, working full-time, an adult's share of the household chores, and pressure to get health insurance. It would also be great if she could see what realistic living conditions really are for 'average' people without college degrees in ten years so she can fully appreciate the difference a college degree can make in her future. The 'rent into a secret savings account' idea is a great one, and would be a fabulous gift for her at an appropriate point in her future.

The College choice should also be 'whole hog', because if she goes in with only 'one foot in the water,' odds are good she'll never really commit to it. The best parties happen on the weekends! If she's home for the weekends, she'll miss more than half the fun. If she goes for orientation, there are TONS of ways to make new friends and get involved. If she's willing to really try, she'll have a great time. Of course, if she's not willing, it would be better that she not go.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 12:16PM
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I think that is is not out of the question to set rules for college...set a lower limit on her GPA.

College is not cheap and if a student can't or won't extend the effort to succeed there, they need to leave and find something more achievable.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 8:46AM
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