17-Year-Old Freshman Wants Out of Mom & Dad’s House

by Judge Josh on October 5, 2010

Usually when students ask me questions about residence issues, they usually want to move off-campus and get out of their dorms.

But Kseinya has the opposite problem. She lives cheaply off-campus but wants a dorm life.

Hi my name is Kseinya and I am a freshman at Whitworth University.

Spokane, Washington. Just in case you guys at home were wondering where that is (thanks, Wikipedia!). :)

I’ve only been in school for about a month now and I love it. The main problem for me is meeting new people.

roommate wanted

Roommate wanted. Must like guitars, weaponry & hair. Especially hair.

Well, it’s only been a month…

See, I live at home with my parents, and I feel like if I lived in a dorm it would be easier to make friends (roommates, hallmates, etc.).

Definitely true.

It’d be easier on me if I didn’t have to make the drive from home every day either, which is 45 minutes each way. That isn’t that far, but at 7 in the morning for a non-morning person, it kinda sucks.

Well, I think it kinda sucks regardless of whether you’re a non-morning person or not. I used to commute that far when I lived in Arizona, and I don’t miss it. So I’m with you there.

I’ve been considering moving onto campus at semester, but there are a few problems with that.

Lay ’em on me.

1. I’m poor.

Big problem, you’re right.

Tuition for Whitworth is about 30,000 a year, and I have about 22,000 paid off with scholarships and FAFSA grants. The other 8,000 I took out in loans.


Great! That’s not so bad overall.

If I decided to live on campus, it would be another 10,000, and I don’t know where I would get this money.

A problem indeed. Well, there are very few super-easy ways to get $10,000 fast, other than by taking out loans. Few that are legal, anyway. So the long and short of it is, you’ll have to decide whether the benefits of living on campus are worth $12-13,000 (after interest) to you over the long haul.

Personally, I think that’s a lot of money to spend for the ease of making friends, but that’s just my opinion.

I’ve searched for scholarships and grants all over the internet, and it seems to me that alot of them are scams, because you have to pay to apply, which makes no sense.

You’re right about that — don’t ever apply for a scholarship that asks you to pay to apply. But there are lots of other legitimate scholarships out there, and I definitely encourage you to apply for them if you’ve got the time and energy.

I have no idea where to find good scholarships or grants, and if I don’t, I’d have to take out more loans =(.

Check Fastweb.com, Scholarships.com and ScholarshipExperts.com.

Which doesn’t sound good. Also, next year I probably won’t be getting as much money from FAFSA because my sister who is also in college just got married so she won’t be under my parents name anymore. Which will just cause more loans…

Also true.

Anyways, that is problem 1.

Problem 2. Parents. This is as much of a reason to move out as it is a problem. My parents try to control every aspect of my life.

Uh-oh. Nobody enjoys that, and I’m sure you don’t either.

I’m trying to get a little independence by getting involved on campus, but they always need to know what time I’ll be home and etc. It’s a little irritating.

Right. On one hand, you’re a college student now, but on the other hand, you’re living with them, and you’re 17 (I read ahead!). Classic struggle.

But the problem with living on campus is getting them to agree with it.

Yeah, definitely, if you want them to pay for it, which I assume you do (at $10k, I wouldn’t blame you for wanting that).

My mother is stuck on the idea that young women should live at home til they are married.

Well, you’d better unstick her, and you’re the only one that can do it. I know there are some cultures where that’s common, but ours isn’t one of them, and I assume you’re unwilling to delay confrontation with your mom for several years until you meet your future husband. :)

And if I was 18, I’d tell my mother that I’m an adult and I can make my own choices… But I won’t be 18 til February. So if I decide to live on campus and can afford it, how should I tell my parents?

Well, have you thought about the compromise of moving onto an off-campus apartment much closer to school? That should be much cheaper than the room-and-board situation in a dorm (especially with roommates), and it’ll facilitate a much better social life than living 45 minutes away.

I wouldn’t try to ram this paradigm-shattering plan through your parents’ chain of command just yet, though — I’d wait until next year. Your mom’s obviously going to need some time to thaw out and warm up to the concept of young women being independent human beings vs. fragile creatures needing the shelter of parents or a husband.

And you might have trouble signing leases until you’re 18, and if that’s not until February, it may be tougher to find a place mid-semester.

How do you tell your parents? Hard to say, since I don’t know a lot about your relationship. I’m guessing by your name that you’re of Russian descent, and Russian parents are notorious for being a lot more protective than American parents due to all the bad shit that went on during the Soviet years and the post-fall gangsterism of the ’90s. (I know, I’m way out on the speculation limb today).

I don’t really know how to convince your folks that you’ll be fine on your own. Oh, who am I kidding — I don’t know you, so I can’t be sure if you’ll be fine, either. But start showing them you can manage your own affairs — everything to budgeting and money management to personal security. Take a couple self-defense classes. I have a daughter myself, and I’ll feel very good once she’s been professionally taught to gouge out eyeballs and rip off genitals.

And it goes without saying that you should get a job, if you don’t have one already, and demonstrate the ability to keep it.

So regardless of your relationship and why they’re overprotective, it’ll make them feel better about letting you go if they see some evidence that you can take care of yourself and make it on your own.

But after you’ve done your best there, all you can do is just let them know who’s boss (that’s you) and then go.

But come back and visit often. They’ll be so glad to see you that they’ll probably load you up with cooked meals, groceries and household items every time you swing by. :)

— What about you guys? Any advice for Kseinya? Any advice for me on how to *pronounce* Kseinya? Let us know in the comments below.

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Diva October 5, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Stop feeling sorry for yourself Kseinya and think about the thousands of young people and students whose parents leave them to fend for themselves and who struggle to study and make ends meet. Your parents ask you what time you will be home because they are concerned about you, not because they want to control you. I used to think the same way too when I was your age but you will realize your parents’ point of view once you become a parent yourself. Hopefully, you will be concerned about your kids whereabouts as well.

Thank your God that you have people who think about you and are paying for your well being. Once you are out in the real world, you will miss the shelter and protection. Friends are not the be all and end all of life, they come and go through in phases and leaving parents for making friends will be a regretful decision you make. Hope that knocks some sense into you.

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Sarah January 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm

RT Diva: At the same time, college is a time to become independent and grow into yourself. You can be thankful that your parents care about you and still want to feel like you’re being granted the independence that college brings. I was 17 when I started college too. I could have commuted, but moving onto campus was the best decision I could have made. True, you need to make sure you’re not taking them for granted, but you’re not doing anything wrong at all by asking for some room to grow. I say go for it girl! Good luck (:

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Harvey W. October 5, 2010 at 2:46 pm

She can file for emancipation. Also, once she turns 18, they can’t force her to stay.

At Diva, all that does is prevent her/them becoming independent. Your job as parents is to make your children ready to leave the home at 18 and become independent citizens. You handicap children if you do what her parents are trying to do.

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Jason Huang October 5, 2010 at 3:03 pm

DON’T PULL THE “I’M 18 AND CAN MAKE MY OWN DECISIONS” CARD UNLESS YOU HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE!!! (bad personal experience. 😛 )

I’m not sure how this will work for overprotective/controlling parents, but *gently* remind them that death takes us all, and that your parents may not be around to always protect you. Your future husband may not always be around to protect you (like if he went on a business trip or something). They should let you develop your own sound decision-making capabilities (should they be of the opinion you’d spontaneously get those at an “older age”, *gently* remind them of all the wonderful adult mess-ups at life).

1. Stress the importance/benefit of a decision to you. (I disagree with Judge Josh in that I don’t think you need to explicitly state “who’s boss”. They’re adults [and moreover your parents who have raised you since birth], they probably can detect nuances, implications, and resolve very, very, very well… A decisive and determined demeanor says the same thing without unnecessarily doing the same thing as declaring open war.)
2. Address their concerns and reach an agreement.
3. Remind them that you’ll become independent someday no matter what happens; they should prepare you for it by letting you gradually make your own decisions while they can still be around as fall back or guidance/sounding board)

Let us know how it goes!

Cheers.
Jason

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Monique October 5, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Very true. There could be more to the situation than what she has let off. That could very well just be the jist of everything. She may need to move to really get a feel for who she is. Some people work differently than others with what they can handle and what they can’t. She needs to be in a good environment in order to make the best of her college experience. Kseinya, a lot of people do exactly what you want to do. I am going to UW here in the state and my roommate along with all of her friends are from Seattle, 8 miles away in fact, and they all took out loans or got financial aid to live in the dorms. They said they needed to get away from home to learn how to grow up basically. I think it will be a good experience for you and I wish you the best of luck.

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Keith October 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm

I had no problem living at home until I was 21. If you’re only 17, give it another couple years instead of making your parents mad by leaving against their will. I don’t know how controlling the parents are, so I can’t speak to that. If wanting to leave is in order to be like the rest of the kids in school, it’s not worth it.

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Beth October 5, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I would like to respectfully disagree with Diva. No where in her question does she seem to express disrespect or bitterness toward her parents, only frustration at her situation and a desire for a little bit of freedom. It makes her normal, and her parents are also perfectly normal for being a little protective. I feel that on this type of issue, no one is really wrong, but Kseinya should have the right to have as much autonomy as she wishes, as long as she’s willing to take on the potential difficulties of her decisions.
To Kseinya, or others in similar situations, I would suggest pointing out to your parents some of the benefits of living on/near campus. First, it’s shown that people living at home or living on campus are more likely to drop out. Second, the more time a college student spends on campus, the better they are usually able to do, and the more they typically have on their resume. Third, travel time is rarely spent doing anything productive, and it sounds like you’re driving upwards of seven hours a week, and you should point this out to them. This might work, unless your parents don’t actually want you to be in college, to get good grades, to get a good job, etc..

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Claireanne October 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm

This is the plan.
Work your ass off at a job and save up A LOT of money. Turn 18, show your parents how much you’ve earned and that you desire to and legally are able to leave your household to start your life. Nothing will come to fruition at home. Nothing. You have to get out there some way. You could easily find off campus housing with students at houses / apartments for a few hundred a month, depending on how many people are living there and the space condition. You CAN live off campus on your own. If you have your education covered, I have so many friends just working and going to school and paying for their housing by themselves. I have some friends living with 7 people in one house and each of them only has to pay around $350 per month, which isn’t bad at all! It’s totally possible. You have to talk to your parents and tell them that you are in a new generation and you can make your own decisions because it’s your life, not theirs. So first step is definitely working to make your own money so you can back yourself up when you say you want to move out. Do research on off campus housing websites, email some students, find a place, write down the information and show your parents all your research; show them that you CAN and WILL leave when you desire to.

That’s all. Good luck.

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Julie October 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm

“What time will you be home?” may simply mean “Should I plan dinner for 6?” “Should I worry if you aren’t home at 4:30?” (We parents DO worry about our daughters and knowing their plans makes us feel much more secure!) Wouldn’t you want to know help was on the way if you were in trouble on your 45 minute commute? That’s quite a long walk!

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DK October 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm

If you haven’t learned thus far, life is a game of give and take. Your parents are offering you a safe, financially stress-free, secure environment while you earn your education. Your hopeful friends won’t care. Grow up and thank your parents for the gifts they offer. Kindly answer to them or eventually pay the loans on your own.

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Ed October 5, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Having lived throughout undergrad at home, definitely try to move out if you can. My father always regrets that he did not talk my mother out of this. I lived in the neighborhood of my university and many of my college friends lived close to school and lived at home. Very common for the school I attended, Florida International University. However, your commute is brutal and could become a hindrance to your education. Consider alternatives such as moving in with roommates that live close to campus. Try to find a job to pay as many bill as you can. I did leave town for graduate school and both my family and I came to appreciate each other more for what we brought to our relationships.

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Dawn October 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm

First of all – Living in a dorm is not always the best option. It is very expensive and sharing very close quarters with one or more people that you may not even like is risky. Definitely NOT worth borrowing money for when you live so close. My daughter lived on campus one year and the noise level in the dorm at all hours of the night was just unbelieveable. She rarely got a good nights rest. Her roommates stole from her and there was always some drama going on. It sounds to me as if you are very dependent upon your parents still for many things. Besides rent and utlities I assume they still provide food, clothes, transportation, gas, insurance, cell phone, etc, etc. Once you get out on your own, could you really afford all of that? Most college students cannot. If you want your parents to treat you more like an adult, you should get a job – your parents would be MUCH more amenable to you having your own place after they see that you can hold down a job for a while. PLUS you would meet more people and you would be away from home more often – making the parents “controlling” nature less so. If you still must get away from them – the cheapest way to go would be to find other college students that have a place near campus in need of a roommate. There are lots of these kinds of situations near any college – although there are downsides to this as well. My daughter did this too – but she soon discovered that its not all that its cracked up to be. Living with 5 other girls, sharing a bedroom and a bathroom when she had been an only child all her life was traumatic to say the least. The girls were drama queens and loud, people were always in and out of there at all hours of the day and night. She had items stolen all the time. She began longing for those times she got to come home to her quiet, comfortable, roomy bedroom with her own bathroom. In the end she stuck it out with several different roommate situations, but she admitted that she regretted that she had decided on a college so far away. Trust me you have it good and its only temporary.

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S.J.H. October 5, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Kseinya,
One angle to consider is your long term relationship with your parents. It seems that regardless of how good/bad they may be, children will always have a part of them that wants love and affirmation from their parents, no matter how old they are. That’s probably why it sometimes takes years to get over it when our parents hurt us.
Your parents chose to raise you, feed you, cloth you, pay for your life up to a point, and, in their own way, teach you how to live life properly (they may be wrong about stuff, but I doubt they did it just to make you upset. In their minds, it’s the right way to live.) After all that, you want your final and biggest act as their daughter to call everything they’ve done a massive failure and throw it in their face? Are you aware of the great hurt you’ll cause them, and the great chasm that will divide you both indefinitely? It doesn’t matter if you say it’s not like that, your proposed actions will greatly wound your parents.
Are your really willing to put yourself through that just for some notion of “friends”? People you haven’t even met? Would it kill you to stay home at least until you graduate, and then maybe talk to your parents at that point about a career maybe away from home in a different city?
17 is very young, and if you’re this thoughtless about your parents feelings (you only mentioned your own feelings above), then I don’t blame them for believing you immature enough to not be able to govern your night life responsibly.

As a side note, I usually like what you have to say Judge Josh. Your advice is practical and pretty good.
But I think you need to be a bit more careful about giving opinions in parent/offspring relationships. You have no idea what else is going on in their relationship, but you seem to be okay encouraging the break between a mother and a daughter completely on what the discontented-can’t-stand-my-parents-17-year-old is saying (they usually aren’t the most reliable sources of info). I don’t really think it’s your place to facilitate breaking up that relationship (even if you don’t like the way the mom is doing things.)
But besides that, keep up the good work!

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Bernice October 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm

This is a tough situation. Honestly I think you should tough it out with your folks for the first year. Spend the year saving money and making plan. Get involved on campus, maybe find work on campus and then you and your parents can slowly adjust to you being home less often. When you turn 18 then you tell you love them and appreciate them but you’ve made your plans, rented the apartment, figured out the money issue and you are moving out. And then do it, but be be patient and show them how smart, strong and capable you are by being very meticulous in your preparations to move out.

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Shelley October 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I am from the other side of WA state from you in the big city, with big city issues.
I am a mom with a daughter who had the option to attend any college she had on her radar. Her dad and I have raised her to be alert and to practice safety so she could live in the world and not under our wing. She will make better life decisions if she has these experiences and still has parents in the background during college ie a quick trip on a plane or a long car ride to get to her. I have found more adults that were in chaperon positions for her high school who were less responsible and mature than she was about her safety so I was always on that chaperon list and militant about safety practices with our 200 teens performing in your city, in Italy, Canada, France, Idaho, Portland and Seattle.
As a college freshman last year, one safety measure practiced with her roommate from AK was to always let each other know where they were so if they didn’t show up when expected and didn’t call, we would know where to look first for them. Cell phones are a blessing use them often with your mom.. One of my daughters apartment roommates this year is brain dead with her own safety. She is from a very small town and sees no reason to be concerned and won’t listen and is compromising the whole apartment so she may be kicked out sooner than later. Now, as a freshman, I would suggest if you must attend this super expensive private school, then suck it up and stay home and save the extra expense, otherwise enroll at the state college down the road and live in their dorm next year. Pay attention to the road conditions this winter. For me that would be enough of a reason for you to not come home every single day. I grew up in the same state Josh lives in, and winter blizzards kept me from getting home many times. I had a plan for those events with a place to stay for three days and not miss classes. Do you have a plan if bad weather occurs this school year? Your parents just don’t want to worry and you have no one else to check in with. Parents are hard wired to worry, once you showed up in the world. You will get your turn as a parent, and you will likely be a bigger pain about it than they are. Many of your classmates would love to have a parent care about them. As far as making friends, go join campus groups. My daughters closest college friends are not from the dorm.
Apply for scholarships every year. Start researching now for next years expenses. Treat the research like a part time job.
Have a talk with your mom about how you would like to learn to be able to function in the world and you won’t learn if you don’t get to try it out. If your dad died unexpectedly, is she capable of functioning without him? Her fear may come from her own lack of world experience or family customs. Don’t be hard on her. We women have to be all that and more in this day and age. Life throws us curve balls like a fast pitch and we have to have life skills to do it all. If you’re getting an education, what does she expect you to do with it. Stay home after you graduate. That would be a waste of life, talent and education money. Job opportunities will likely take you out of state. She needs to get her brain and emotions wrapped around that fact. “Gently” help her with that. WA state will not recover for a long time from the huge job losses we have had, over 600,000 unemployed currently. (Greater than the population of Portland, OR or the entire state of South Dakota) You need to have the life skills to be comfortable to apply for a job anywhere as you will have school loans to start paying back soon after you graduate. That will be your reality, and she can’t change that. Well, I have momed you enough. Good luck!

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Dawn October 5, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Speaking from an entirely “parent” persepctive. I agree with some of the others. Don’t play the “I’m 18 so I can live my own life” card no matter how controlling they may be. Those are harsh words that cut deep into a mothers heart. There are other ways to go about getting what you want, starting from showing how responsible you are. Do you help around the house without them asking numerous times? Do you have a job and pay for some of your own expenses? Are you appreciative of the many things they have given you? Do you ever just sit and talk to them about your goals and your aspirations? I guarantee once they see this side of you, they will soften and begin to have faith in you.

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Linda October 5, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Rolling my eyes extra hard at the parents in this comment stream.

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Delia October 5, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Some mature people are trying to offer some constructive and helpful advice from their own perspective and experience while others that have nothing of value to offer prefer to criticize.

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C.S. October 5, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Do a little research and then politely direct your parents to some websites that talk about the benefits of living on campus (higher GPA, more involvement in campus activities, ease of access to on-campus resources like tutors and the campus library). You can allow throw in your campus’s crime statistics (which should be somewhere on the university website) to prove that your campus is a safe place to be.

Everyone matures at different rates, so I wouldn’t give much credit to the comments giving anecdotal evidence for why you ought to give it a couple more years at home. I started my freshman year at 18 and was definitely ready for some independence. When I moved back in for a semester to make finances easier, my GPA plummeted because of how distracted I became living off-campus (not something that’s a problem for everyone, though) and I ended up moving back into a dorm. Right now I live with my boyfriend down the street from my parents, once again free of my parents, but I’m considering moving back on campus next year when my schedule will be especially grueling. I love living close to the people I love, but it’s college; you have to do whatever will benefit you the most.

Look into becoming an Resident Adviser; a lot of universities allow students to take on this position and will pay for either all or most of your dorm and meal plan expenses as a payoff. You may have to spend a year on campus before you can apply to be an RA (at some schools it’s as a little as a semester), but telling your parents that the opportunity exists may give them some comfort that the added financial strain will be only temporary until you can apply for an RA position. And make sure to tell your parents that gaining a little independence won’t make you love or respect them any less, and that you promise to visit as often as you can. :)

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Shelley October 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Linda, how many of your own teens have you successfully launched into the adult world?

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Oh, whatever October 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Really, I think Josh is right? this is between her and her parents.

” Your job as parents is to make your children ready to leave the home at 18 and become independent citizens.” Says whom?

Independent citizens need not live alone or leave home, so long as they are useful and productive. That is more important than who you live with.

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Kaily October 5, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I started University early like you, and chose a University halfway across the country. Obviously, I lived alone, then. I’m sure the fact that I was far more than forty-five minutes away from my family had something to do with it, but I wasn’t ready for living alone. I ended up dropping out.

After a couple of years had passed and I matured a bit, I went back to a different University in the same area and managed quite well on my own.

Not to say that you wouldn’t be able to handle it (esp. with parents so close), but I would suggest not just up and leaving without being prepared mentally and financially for how different it will be. Many people’s suggestions of getting a job and saving up for the first year are what I’d recommend, too.

E-mail clubs on campus you might be interested in (be open-minded and willing to try things that might be at the edge of your interest-spectrum), and things like that for friends. You might also meet people while you’re searching for roommates for whenever you do move. Doing searches/interview-ish things for roommates will keep you from getting loud/partying roommates, or can just get you the type of people you’d like to live with. It makes a bit difference.

Best of luck.

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Magdala October 5, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Girl I feel your pain, I definitely understand where you’re coming from. But here’s my solution to you. You can either go to a cheaper college and hope for the same scholarships, probably won’t happen, or you can wait. My parents are the same, if you dare move out while you’re still in the same city, that will be such a disgrace to them, so my solution was to move out for school. But there are consequences to that, it can be much harder than you anticipate. Getting an apartment is good, but still, can you afford it? You said you’re poor, that’s one of the first things you said. In that case, your parents giving you the necessities of life is SO SO SO SO SO SO much help. Much more than you’re calculating. Moving out also means food expenses, if you’re not making it, you’re paying the person who’s making it. And if you are, that’s part of your time you’re taking everyday. That is just one of the examples of the disadvantages of moving out. Either count your blessings or pay for new ones.

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Taylor October 5, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I moved out as soon as I could after finishing high school. I don’t regret it at all. I’m 21, married, own my home, am a year from finishing a double major, have a good job, etc. It isn’t unreasonable at all for a teen to want their independence, and our society really expects it. For a parent to expect a child to live at home until marriage (average is 23 or 24?) *is* unreasonable. It’s a huge part of growing up and learning to be a mature, responsible adult. Living in the dorms offers a chance to learn about personal responsibility before you’re in the “real” world. If you’re 24 and all of a sudden have to do things that you’ve never done before, but everyone else started when they were 18, you’re at a huge disadvantage.
I stood up to my parents on so many issues, from where I would go to school to who I would date (and ultimately marry), where I would live to where I would work. It’s scary but it’s good for you. You have to learn to defend yourself and to LIVE for yourself.
Seriously, if you need a place that’s cheap my husband and I have a guest room with a spare bed (twin so it’s small). We’re probably 25-30 min from Whitworth, depending on traffic, and the buses are good. Be yourself and do what YOU think will make you happy.

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Mike S October 5, 2010 at 8:01 pm

If you are 18 and can make your own decisions and don’t want to live at your parents house while in school, then make sure you go get a job and pay for it yourself. It doesn’t say she is going to support herself. If you are over 18 and still want your parents to support you, then yes you need to follow their rules. If not, leave the home but also leave all your parents money at home with your parents.

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Lisaloha October 5, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Are your parents willing to have you stay at home until your 40’s? I am 42 and have never married. Having your wedding date as the day you move out may be totally unreasonable – not everyone gets married. I moved out at 19 and never went back. Your parents need to understand that you cherish and appreciate the great love and care that they are showing you, but that you do intend to move out before marriage within the near-ish future, and that you want their help and support so that you can do it successfully and with as little drama as possible. Don’t burn bridges, but also don’t live at home forever if you are unhappy – that will just make everyone’s life harder and may cause a rift that can never be fixed.

As for them wanting to know where you are, many respondents have it nailed – I am the parent of a 21 year old son, who moved out at 18. But while he did live with me, he was still my legal responsibility, as well as under my protective wing, so I had both a legal and moral obligation to know where he was, who he was with and when he would be home. I was not “controlling him” as I did not (or could not) forbid him from being someplace or force him to be somewhere, either. I simply told him that it was a bad idea, or the hour was too late, or the family wanted him to join us, etc., and if his choice worked out badly for him that he would have to manage the remedy (i.e. I was not going to bail him out of a problem nor write him a late note for school if he didn’t obey the curfew and didn’t get enough sleep).

If you are in college at 17, you are already showing that you can handle the big bad world without 24/7 hand-holding. You drive to school, go to your classes, handle administrative requirements, do your homework, prepare for exams, deal with professors and personalities, get decent sleep, etc. Yes, you are only 17, but you have been doing the same things academically as students 3 or 4 years older than you do.

I would take the free room and board, as well as the tuition help and whatever else your parents are offering. But once you get your degree, or perhaps sometime before that, you need to have a sit-down with your parents and, as others have said, show proof that you are an adult woman with goals, skills and street-smarts, and not the little girl in pigtails that they probably fondly remember.

Get an on-campus job (if your grades can sustain it). This will not only show them that you are a big girl, but it will put a little money in your pocket and open up doors for new social contacts. You might even get a work-study job that will open up more funding without having to take out loans. Or, get involved in a club with events that your parents can attend so they can see how you interact with peers and are a productive member of a group outside of the family circle whom people can depend on.

As for the 45-minute commute, that was my commute as well, and I only live 14 miles from my campus. It’s not so horrible, but it is a waste of time. Is there good public transportation or a carpool group? You could get some studying or napping in while you’re being driven that can add hours of productivity to your day, as well as offering social contacts.

Ultimately, even though it seems like forever, the 4 or 5 years you spend in college are just a drop in the bucket in the big picture of your life. If your parents are providing your basic needs so that you can be successful during your college years, take it! You will have decades of your life left to screw it up by living in the wrong place, dating the wrong guys, having the wrong jobs, and picking the wrong friends.

I have a friend who earned her BS in Microbiology at the University and then took a 2-year professional program at a Junior college. She is 27 and still lives at home. Her parents STILL won’t let her go out at night, even on weekends, and she had to hide her boyfriend from her dad until they had been together for over a year, because her dad wouldn’t like his race (he’s not PURE Japanese).

She is now a medical professional working full-time at a lab, yet she has to spend every evening and weekend at home with her parents and extended family. They won’t let her come to a bar with me to listen to live music. They won’t let her visit a neighbor island with her boyfriend of 4 years because they might have premarital sex (GASP!!), even though they never have. They won’t let her be away from home even one night. However, she DID live on campus Monday-Friday during her 4 years at the University. That was the only way she kept her sanity.

Do you want this to be you in 10 years? Decide what you want, talk to them, LISTEN to them, and make a decision you can all live with. If all else fails and they are completely unreasonable, be prepared to move out at 18 and pay your own way. Just don’t drop out of school, or you will NEVER hear the end of it.

As I said before, if they are willing to provide for you while in school, take it with gratitude and make them proud. But once you are done, you have to take your life in your own hands or you will end up like my friend.

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Diane October 5, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Wow, there’s seem to be a lot of conflicting strong opinions! Beth said a lot of what I wanted to say, so I won’t repeat that part :) Living close to campus with roommates can be much cheaper, give you far more household and bedroom space, and will likely offer more peace and quiet for study time than a campus dorm (plus you will likely be given the choice whether or not to attend a party the vast majority of the time instead of having every weekend be party in many dorms!).

It sounds like moving this year is not an overly viable option, which gives you 6-8 months to warm your parents up to the idea of you moving out, which increases the likelihhod of it happening on good terms. As Beth mentioned, point out the benefits of living close to campus – also, if any friends of the family have kids living on their own before marriage (and it has been a positive thing!) point out those examples.

Plenty of young adults find themselves moving back in again with their parents at some point, even if it is just for a few weeks or a few months. I moved out the week after I was 18 even though I was still in high school – I moved out on good terms though, and a year later when I needed a place to stay for a couple months when I was planning on moving cities but didn’t want to have to sign a short-term lease, they were happy to let me move back in – we established ground rules and it worked well (I paid them some rent $$ and made sure to tell them if I wasn’t going to be coming home that night so that they would know whether or not to lock all the locks when they went to bed or if I was going to be home for dinner (rare since I was working as a restaurant cook)). My parents didn’t like me moving out while I was still in high shcool (I was almost done), but I was working fulltime and had the money to do it – I didn’t spring it on them, but rather eased them into the idea – I had initially wanted to move out several months earlier, but my mom wanted to continue getting my child support cheque, so I agreed to stay until my birthday.

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same boat October 5, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Being a student in the same boat, I have to say that this article and the subsequent comments were very helpful. I’ve often thought about the same things and I can actually see both sides of the situation–mine AND my parents’ so I live with the situation and try not to regret it. Even so, certain comments made me realize certain things.
1. Independence is a natural desire. Get ready. Then get set. Then go.
2. Overprotective parents are not behaving in their peculiar manner because they want to make said student hate them, but because they see a certain situation as the “right way to live,” frustrating though it may be.
3. It helps to have a financial plan to get parents to understand the student’s seriousness.
4. Living at home saves money–fewer loans (indeed). Is it just me or is this the best pro-parent argument? I have a very good deal on my hands and I’m saving a lot of money by staying in this boat. Good point (to all who pointed out the loan aspect and the idea that this is a very expensive way to meet new friends; student groups /are/ varied and free).
5. Friends are not forever (second best point).
Anyway. Thanks to everyone who commented–I feel better now about my situation and a tad more prepared for future changes.

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same boat again October 5, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Judge Josh….I just read the caption on that picture and…I must say: that picture has got to go–hahaha 😀

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bersa October 6, 2010 at 2:26 am

i think everybody should build its own living so according to the accepted age of mijority which is mostly 18 everyone has to try hard ……………

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Maria October 6, 2010 at 10:06 am

All very good points on both sides. The only thing that rubs me the wrong way is that Kseinya never once mentions getting a job or earning money as an option. It was all about where she can get free money or school loans and that is a little immature I’d say. Kseinya has this unrealistic fantasy of living on her own so I would venture to say she may be slightly over exaggerating regarding her parents. It was after all – her decision to attend an expensive private school close to home. She had to get school loans and now she is thinking that next year will require more school loans. Does she really want to accumulate somewhere on the realm of $80,000 in loans by the time she is done with school? And that is only tuition and room and board, and NOTHING else. What about all the essentials and such? She needs to be practial and decide which is the more important thing – attending this private school or living on her own. If living on her own were that important to her, she would have to consider other options such as getting a job or transferring to a less expensive school.

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Rebecca October 6, 2010 at 10:15 am

Well, I’ve got a busy day today and can’t read all the responses so forgive me if I attend the Redundant School of Redundancy….

How about this? STAY at your parents’ house. Keep driving 45 minutes to school. There are “down times” during the day where you can have social time with friends. Start building those relationships.

Start looking for a job at school. Or in that city. Something that is for a few hours, a couple days a week. The same days you have class. And then, just gently ease your parents into the idea that you’re going to work to save some money, because sis got married, you’ll have less help, and you don’t want to be in a ton of debt after school.

Show that you are responsible. SHOW that you are respecting them and keeping them informed of your schedule. Show them that you are doing well in school, working, and mananging your time wisely.

I call BS on the “wanting to be more involved socially at school.” I think you’re tired of your parents managing your life. Whch is fine, you’re supposed to. One day, you will have to grow up. Living in the U.S. is different than living in other countries with other cultures, some of which require children to stay at home until they’re handed off to their lifemate. Wellllll…..that’s a hard thing for “traditional” mothers and fathers to take. But you may be able to gain some freedom by back-dooring it through demonstrating added responsibility.

By your junior year, your parents should be more at ease with you taking care of your life. They may or may not be fully on board with you living on campus (or closer to campus) but if that’s what you REALLY want, it will all be ok. Just don’t shove it down their throats.

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Sara October 6, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Hi everyone,

I’m a Middle Eastern and Muslim girl who also has to drive 45 minutes to school (each way) everyday. I too live with my parents, who also don’t let me work, and oh, I forgot to add, I’m 21 years old. I would say that it is frustrating to figure out how you can have a social life along with respecting your parent’s views. Personally, I would much rather live at home, wait until I graduate and then work (oh, and my checks would go in their hands until I get married) than be kicked out of the home right after high school. Being 17, you probably have much more knowledge about how to use social networking sites to make friends. Did I mention, I’m not allowed on those things? So, the fact that you can work and socialize and go to a school while living under your parent’s roof doesn’t make your situation totally sucky. Be thankful for what you have. If you’ve joined any clubs/organizations on campus, that’s more than enough to make friends. Remember that it’s better to have no friends than hundreds who don’t really know you (Or enough friends to count on one hand.) That shouldn’t cost thousands of dollars either! From my own cultural perspective, I would rather make my parents proud now and go by their rules than do something against their will and later beg them to take me back.

Good luck!

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Anonymous October 6, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Emancipation! You will also be able to gain more financial aid without needing you parents information as an INDEPENDENT student(according to FAFSA), which you cannot be without marriage, domestic partnership, military service, emancipation, have dependents yourself, or turn 24. Until one or more of those things happen, you are considered DEPENDENT, as in dependent on your parents income, even if you do not live with them(both dorms and off-campus). Your parents will always be there, it sounds like they care(perhaps sheltering, cut those apron strings!) but you are only young once and you may regret not taking a chance. Everyone is afraid of change, as they should be, it can be dangerous, but there are so many things to worry about in this world that if you do not take risks, you will never know the rewards of persevering through a change. Gaining life experience is one of the best of those rewards 😉

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Hello! October 6, 2010 at 3:28 pm

The bottom line is that living at home will save you a ton of money. I say milk it for as long as you can, some people never had the option of letting their parents support them through college.

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Jane October 6, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Here Here! My thoughts exactly.

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Jessica October 6, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Going into college, I couldn’t live at home ( a 2.5 hour commute). I don’t regret it, though. I miss my parents, but I enjoy the independence that comes with living away from home. My advice would be to wait until next year, then move closer to school. It will be a hard adjustment for both you and your parents, but moving out and being independent doesn’t mean severing all ties with your family. 45 minutes is closse enough that you can go home easily on breaks. I gave my parents a copy of my class and activites schedule so they would know when they could call me. Even if you are busy and they call, you can cut the conversation short by saying something like “I really need to study now. I have an exam tomorrow”. If you play it smart and build some trust with your parents first, then moving out will be a good decision for you to make.

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Jessica October 6, 2010 at 7:00 pm

PS- I started college at seventeen, and it makes living on campus a hassle, because you need to get special documents signed by your parents. Plus, any time a form needs filled out, like medical releases for clubs or trips, I had to scan and email it to my parents. This is why I suggest waiting until next year to move.
Don’t be afraid to foster independence. It might be more convenient and cheaper to mooch off your parents, but moving a short ways away from them gives you experience for the future. Its nice to have family that’s close, but not on top of you, smothering your social life.

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May October 6, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Kseinya and I are pretty much in the same boat, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

I am an 18 year old private art college freshman, 19 in December and I live at home. I also share the 30-45 minute commute with Kseinya. A lot more college freshman live at home for the first year because of just a simple reason: it saves money.

The first year of college is adjusting, since you’re a freshman you shouldn’t have more than 10 hours of classes a day. Utilize the spare time, every college has a student job listing that is mostly aimed for college freshman and Kseinya better take advantage of that. If those are unavailable get a job on the weekends, not many other options that offer incoming money. If you -really- want to move out, you need to get a job. I know plenty freshman in my class who work a regular 9-5 job while attending school full time so that they can move out.

Get a job, get a paycheck, deposit half in your savings, the other half in your checking. Managing money is important evidence that you can restrain yourself (you won’t have much extra money to spend regardless after rent, food, and bills once you start living on your own).

Another little proof is that you already wake up on your own, study on your own, do your work on your own without your parents prodding you. If they attended your college’s orientation or information meetings, remind them of the tip that most colleges stress the most : learn to let go.

Self defense, reiterating what the comments and article above said.

I’m assuming that you have a cellphone, a Facebook, an access to a computer, and have met people who share the same minute commute as you do. Weekends/days off of your job will be enough for friends.

These are steps that I myself am taking. I am already working at my mother’s restaurant on days that I don’t have class, cashing in my paychecks, and saving up for a single apartment. I plan to move out in the summer before my sophomore year because I can show my parents with love, little resistance, and understanding that I am independent, and a young adult.

These are only suggestions, take it with a grain of salt. I emphasize the JOB part, time management and balancing a job with schoolwork shows your parents that you can earn money and still keep up in school.

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Chelsea October 6, 2010 at 11:27 pm

I understand what you mean about wanting to move out and be on your own. But, I don’t think you should be so quick to run from your house. Your parents are still helping you, in more ways than you might think, and more than just in terms of money. The drive might be a pain, but just wait a little. See if your school offers Work Study grants (if you don’t have on already) or see i you can just get a job on campus. Build up your own money for a couple of years. Then you’ll be able to say to your parents “Look, I’m financially and legally able to move out” and move out then. It may be hard to make friends now, but the fun thing about waiting a coupe of years is that you could play it that you’re finishing all of your gen-ed courses before you move out, and then settling into your major while and after you do move out and then you will 1.in the first couple of years be exposed to a ton of people (maybe a few will stick) and 2. once you do move out you’ll see a few people very often and can take the time to get to know them once you’re more nearby. Also, I don’t really think you’re parents would mind if you joined a club or two-> They’re a great way to make friends!

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KIGONGO REAGAN October 7, 2010 at 2:47 am

THERE IS TIME FOR EVERY THING YOU SAID YOU WILL NEED MORE MONEY TO BE OUT CAN YOU SAVE IT FOR OTHER THING STAY AT USE THAT MONEY TO PLAN FOR THE FUTURE IT IS IMPORTANT AS LONG AS YOU ARE GIVEN YOU PRIVACY IT IT OKAY WITH ME AM TRYING TO SEE IF I CAN GET HELP SO THAT I START SCHOOL BUT AM NOT ABLE COMPLETE YOU EDUCATION THEN YOU GO AND LIVE ON YOUR OWN AFTER

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Diane October 7, 2010 at 10:29 am

Geez, Kseinya sounds like a primadonna to me. She wants everything handed to her on a platter. She known her parents all her life and just now after a few weeks of college she is deciding they are too controlling? She obviously didnt consider that when she chose to go to an expensive college so close to home int he first place. Kseinya has no clue what poor is. I had to go to a JC for two years for my general ed before going to a 4 year. Plus I worked so I could pay for it AND I lived at home. But guess what – that didnt prevent me from making friends. I ran for the cross country and track teams – made friends for life there. I also made great friends at my job. I also made friends at my church and at the gym plus I still had friends from high school. But you know what, I lived on campus for 2 years and don’t have a single friend from that. So excuses, excuses, she needs to snap out of it and appreciate what she has. I’m not opposed to her “gaining her independence”. If she truly wants to leave the comfort of home, she has to smarten up and consider other options. She would be stupid to get more loans just to pay for a dorm in this economy. In time she would wind up regretting owing so much money.

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Leanna October 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Kseinya’s motives appear to be somewhat selfish – She just wants what she wants and is trying to come up with lame excuses to justify them. It’s obvious she is not considering ALL the factors. I could not afford a nice expensive private college out of high school. I attened a JC and worked, but I didnt have a car, I had to take public transportation which took a LOT more time out of my life. But I still made friends. College roommates is NOT the only way to meet friends, thats just an excuse and I don’t buy it. I saved up and purchased a super cheap car the summer before I left for my 4 year, but I found I could not even take my car with me because I neglected to consider the parking fee to park on campus was nearly $900 a semester and my insurance rates had gone sky-high. Plus with everything I was having to pay, I could not even afford gas. But it wasnt just me – many students cannot afford to keep their car at college. The 4 year college I went to was about a 10 hour drive away from which really sucked. I rarely got to go home or see my family and my roommates were awful, so knowing what I know now – and I had it to do all over again, I would have accepted a school much closer to home and living at home would have been sweet. It’s easy for people to say – yeah just move out, you need your independence -but those comments don’t take in consideration, the enormous cost. Being independent wasn’t all that! I could have done the same at home.

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Sharena October 7, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I think living at home for the first year would be the best decision. Then go get a job, research your options [on vs. off campus], show your parents that you are responsible and try to have a reasonable discussion with them.
Waning independence is a natural thing, but I think waiting until you are 18 and have saved up some money is the best option.
Good luck to you!

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Anonymous October 7, 2010 at 8:53 pm

You don’t know this now, but not working to eat is nice.
So is living at home.
Trust me.

The majority of the world follows this formula:

Work=food+shelter
-(Work)=poverty+hunger+homelessness

College+work-living at home=dollar store food(ramen, mac n cheese, tuna, etc)+crappy shelter(do you share your room now? Do your parents steal your detergent? How likely is it that your home will be condemned in the next five years?)

College-work-living at home=…you special or something??

I’m an exception. I joined the military. Other exceptions include getting orphaned and getting married.

In my biased, unenlightened opinion, the best thing you can do now is stay at home and get to know your parents as adults. That will go SO much further than trying to force your will on them. If they see you as an equal, they’ll trust and respect you more, and feel more at ease with letting you go. This will take time. Good thing you’re still at home…

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Kseinya October 11, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Thanks for all your comments… And if you think I’m a primadonna or something, I’d like you to know that there is alot more to my life situation than I spelled out here. I have not been handed anything on a silver platter, and I’ve lived in (basically) poverty all my life. My parents don’t buy me clothes, or give me things. I sew it all myself, and I pay for my own internet and cell phone. My parents don’t have the money to pay for any of my college expenses, which is why I am taking out loans. If I moved on campus it’d be easier on their financial state as well, because right now they pay about 300 dollars a month in gas just getting me to college. I wish I had a job so I could pay for this myself, but in this current economy, no-one seems to be hiring.
Thank you for all your comments. I’m still in the process of deciding what to do. I’m definitely still living at home till at least next semester, and if I can’t find a job by then, maybe even longer.

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Jina October 13, 2010 at 11:07 am

Well if you are having to take out loans just to pay for regular monthly expenses like your computer and Internet and cell phone, then good grief, you OBVIOUSLY arent able to afford living on your own. Your parents bought you a car and they still pay for the gas and insurance and keep you fed which is still quite a bit too. It is so nice of you to think you would be saving your parents $300 a month – but the alternative is for you to get a $10,000 loan per year that you have to pay back with interest? Hmmm lets see, which option makes more sense.

If you are so poor, why on earth did you choose such an expensive private college in the first place? That was really dumb. You actually could have gone to a college further away from home with board AND tuition for around the same cost. It just sounds to me like you dont think things out very well – just a sign that you are not prepared to live on your own.

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Britt October 15, 2010 at 10:29 am

I know that I’m really coming in on this late…but I have personal experience with both going to school pre-18 and parents being very involved in the situation. I graduated HS and moved 3,000 miles away from my parents to a private university at age 15. My parents were supportive, primarily because it was a very conservative school and I’m pretty grounded. Anyway, I saw that even though I had moved out, my parents had just as much control over my life. They were calling me all the time to see what was going on. They could control me emotionally just as well as they could control me at home. Years later, I’m doing my MBA and I see my colleagues still with the same issues. If your parents have that personal tendency to be incredibly involved, they won’t just wake up and give it up because you move out…and you really have to determine whether you’re willing to cut them out of your life…because that is pretty extreme.

Second, if you desire to go to grad school, or even if you’re studying something that doesn’t have a definite steady payoff…PLEASE don’t take $10K in loans to move away from your parents! You will regret this later when you see that you are burdened with loans and your personal life did not drastically change 😉

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Kseinya October 19, 2010 at 11:57 am

I know my followup comment is a little late for people who never come back to read more, but I just wanted to clarify. I didn’t specifically CHOOSE this expensive school. My parents wouldn’t let me move out to go to a different school, and since I’m under 18, their signatures have to be on everything. So it was either this expensive college, or no college at all.

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Sarah January 5, 2011 at 11:21 pm

It makes me sad to see that so many people seem to be discrediting the value of friends you make in college and the experiences that moving on campus can bring. I’m not saying that she should move out if it’s going to completely ruin her relationship with her parents, but her email did not give that impression. Parental relationships are extremely important to anyone, but so are the connections you’ll make with people you meet in college. Not only will some of them become lifelong friends, but they may also serve as contacts in the business world later in life. I think the important thing is to be able to find a good balance between family and school life. In my opinion, suggesting that moving on campus to make friends isn’t worth it is an inaccurate statement. It’s really all about what you make of those connections throughout your college experience and life afterwards. If you can help them and allow them to help you as well, it’s totally worth it!

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Jo Jo February 28, 2011 at 3:15 am

Holy Cannoli! I can see why you feel a little pressure. I felt a little trapped at 17 too. But straight from Mama’s to Sugar Daddy’s? Ugh! Wishing you the best! Your time of independance is inevitable. Stay grounded and make the right decisions. The older you get you will become more busy, your parents will learn to let you go. It sounds like your mom’s plan is to keep you under a safe covering. I have two daughters and sometimes I stop by their bedroom to make sure they are sleeping soundly(They are still pretty young). Try to stay honest with her and to communicate. You will both have a better understanding of each other. I do see benefits of someday living on your own and struggling a little bit. You learn a lot of character. You should make a goal to stay with your parents until after your associates and maybe even your whole undergrad. You will have part or most of your college under your belt. Then you will be partially marketable as an employee in case you decide to work and go to school at the same time. The whole marriage thing is tough for me to mull around though…only because I was married at 19 and now I am single mommy. Best wishes.

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Nicole March 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm

If you’re looking for scholarships you should go talk to the guidance counselor. Those people should know of a few decent scholarship websites.

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Laurie June 6, 2011 at 8:42 pm

I just wanted to suggest theWASHBOARD.org for us WA students 😀 I use it soooo much for scholarship opportunities, they are made to include local scholarships too that national scholarship sites like fastweb or scholarships.com won’t know about.

I am choosing to avoid loans by not living on campus, but since I wanna move out I’m trying to live off campus in an apartment with a ton of my friends. It’s definitely cheaper and it’s worth it if your friends are super awesome.
Of course, it adds another set of responsibilities though, a job. Unless you’re one of those lucky kids who parents will pay everything for.

Luckily for me, at UW (University of Washington), there are resources for students looking for a job, so I’m sure a school like Whitworth would have that too. Ask around your friends, classmates, professors, for info. Snagajob.com is also one of my favorite sites to use. It’s helpful for high schoolers (and up) to look for part time jobs.

My mom is one of those parents who depend on their kids- me. I help her with everything, and she will miss me when I leave. She’s also very traditional. Best to reassure that you’d be living with a ton of girls and your morals won’t let you do stupid college kid stuff (partying, drinking, drugs, etc) and let them know that you’re not really that far away. You can always be back for the weekend.

Best of luck to you!
Laurie

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Emily July 2, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I really think you should stay at home until you’ve gotten more college under your belt. I am 18, live at home, and go to school part-time. I had a friend who was trying to balance living on her own and taking classes, and she dropped out of school. It’s great that your parents are willing to do that for you; some don’t have that support. Think about it: you have these loans, and because you struggled to balance work/school/life, you didn’t make as good grades. Then, you can’t get as good a job after graduating college, and then can’t pay off the loans. Take advantage of your parent’s generousity. As for friends, real friends aren’t going to care about living on or off campus to be a friend. Real friendships aren’t based off of performance; those kinds of relationships will fall thorugh the cracks. Real friends are rare.

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