Knowing when to say goodbye

I pit…well, in all honesty, I’m not sure quite who to pit. I’m somewhat sleepy and torn in emotion, so bear with me.

I have a 17 year-old cousin. She is beautiful, sweet, smart, and wise beyond her years. Extremely mature. She has never been arrested, isn’t promiscuous, and is (aside from the occasional teenage snit-fits and fighting with parents) a good kid. No drugs, no alcohol, spends most nights at home due to no more friends in the area (they’ve moved, etc).

However, when it came time to apply to colleges this past fall and winter, she overestimated her chances and did not get into a single one of the colleges she applied to. The last rejection letter came in June, and it was too late for her to apply anywhere else but a community college. There is only one community college in her area, and it offered not only almost no courses in her field of study (physics), but it is overrun by horrible girls who threatened her life many times and made her high school life a living hell. She refuses to go there, and I don’t blame her.

She has spent a lot of time alone in her room because no one was around (she doesn’t have many friends in her area, again) and is very envious of everyone who has gone off to college. So, she has decided that upon turning 18, she’s going to find an apartment in a student-friendly area of Daytona Beach, FL, getting a job, and planning to attend a community college in the spring semester with hopes to transfer into a university next fall.

  • why Daytona Beach? She has her heart set on going to Florida, and the college she’d like to attend (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University) is situated there. She also has a few college acquaintances there who she can get together with and meet up with once she moves.

  • what about the apartment? She’s planning on working full-time now to save up money for that first payment and for emergency money, and then working full-time in FL (hopefully getting a job arranged before she moves) to pay the bills. She is choosing to move in a student-friendly building because of its safety advantage and, generally, lower rent.

As a current college student, I can honestly say that this doesn’t sound unfeasible to me. While not a generally popular option, I do know some who have done this very thing, and many who are doing something similar. It’s not for everyone, but she only plans for it to be temporary.

Her parents are not having this. At all. They have pulled out every threat possible: no Internet, no car, no monetary support, endless guilt trips, the whole gamut. They seek hours-long conversations with her in which they proclaim ignorant falsehoods such as, “You just don’t want to go to college”, “If you move to the city, you’ll become on drugs or a prostitute in six months”, “You’re not allowed to move”. All of these conversations end in tears. Her parents keep trying to meet her half-way, and when she does, they decide it isn’t good enough and want her to be even more flexible and kowtow to their demands. For example, her mother tried to negotiate it into a “one-month extended vacation” in which she would move down to FL with my cousin. :rolleyes:

Parents are supposed to support. Why not offer her some monetary or other means of support? She plans to come back home often and for holidays. If they’re truly convinced she can’t make it on her own, why would they deny her things she needs to do just that?

Her parents are very overprotective individuals. She is an only child, and an attractive girl. Certainly, they’re going to be worried. What parent wouldn’t? But when they have their daughter in tears almost every day, constantly worrying that she is a “bad person” for wanting to branch out and go her own way…well, I’m not sure that it’s right. I understand that my aunt and uncle want what is best for my cousin, but I can’t help but think they aren’t being just a little unfair, and it’s clear that they’re not ready to cut the cord.

I should also add that she will be 18 on October 10th, and that she is not naive in the least. She is quite clever, and one of the biggest skeptics I’ve ever met. She’d fit right in here, actually. :stuck_out_tongue:

Also, she has confided in me that one of the reasons she is so gung-ho about leaving is because her mother is overbearing and she feels much more comfortable when she is home alone, anyway. Although I think she’d function well with a roommate, too.

My parents were controlling assholes.

There now I’ve said my piece.

While I think it is unkind of your aunt and uncle to attribute less than pure motives to your cousin, I think you need to straighten out your thinking a bit too. Either you want them to ‘cut the cord’ or provide your cousin with support. If she expects to receive support from them, it is not unreasonable for them to set terms. If she is unwilling to accept those terms, it is not legitimate for her to then expect financial support, no matter how worthy her intentions and goals may be. It would be nice if they were willing to give her that support, but it is not something that they owe her. Independence has a price.

Your cousin may be extremely mature and non-naive for her age, but I think 17 is a little young to go out on her own, myself. If I were her parents, I think I’d be having a fit and doing as much as I could to prevent it. I’m sorry it’s upsetting her so (and that her parents’ reactions are hurting her so badly - and admittedly, from what you are saying, they are being hurtful) , but if she is that mature, surely she can recognize that waiting a single year, working while living at home, and building up more of a financial base from which to move into independence would gain her a lot both financially and emotionally, and lose her very little.

Oh ye gods! The poor girl’s plans sounds exactly the best one. I’m sure lots of people would advise -"OK this is very dispapointing, but don’t give up, do something consturctive with the hope of getting into higher education next academic year. ANd tht is what she wants to do. Heck, damn parents.

I know how I’d have felt at 17 ('cos that was exactly when I cleared off to university, and even years on, things like getting that scary envelope with results in do rather stick in the mind :slight_smile: ) I’d have been absolutely distraught with disappointment. Although I’d have been better offthan she, insofar as I was planning to go early - so I would have had the simpler choice of simply going back for an advanced year at a school that I enjoyed well enough.

Poor kid.

What is the deal exactly? Is Dayton Beach terribly far from her home and parents? I can see that they might worry, but she is only doig what she probaly was going to do in any case.

How horrible.

I certainly hope they will come round to the idea, but if they really want to reduce her wise plan to a one month vacation… :rolleyes:

If she can be fierce enough, she could say “fine I;ll get by without a car, and for internet, I’ll jsut make do with visit to the public library or an internet cafe” but I get the feeling the parents would think of something else. The money aspect coudl be serious. DUnno how easy or hard it wil be for her to pick up and job that will keep her in food and accommodation and allow her to save.

Of course, reusing any sort of financial emergency bakcup is, ironically, almost a good way to *send* her into “immoral earnings” (Joke) Strange parents!

I DO hope someone can make them see sense.

Especially since her parents’ income will be considered on her FAFSA when she applies for student aid, and could decrease the amount of aid she can get substantially.

It’s not just whether they pay the bills, it’s if they refuse to and yet their income is still considered on your FAFSA. If it is, it looks like you are supported by your parents and can afford more out of pocket for schooling than if you weren’t financially supported by them.

I started out in college (and the dorms) when I was 17 also, but I did have the support of my parents which does make a huge difference. I did party more than I should have studied, and subsequently I felt so guilty about my first year grades, that I decided to fund the rest of my college by myself and I relieved my parents of any financial assistance. Got a job, moved to an apartment and matured. Eight years later, I graduated with a couple of degrees and almost a third, married and with a two-year old, and a mortgage. My parents were probably the happiest of all, since I was determined to do all that on my own without relying on them constantly. It wasn’t that they couldn’t support me, it was that they realized that I chose to not make my burdens their burdens.

It sounds like she’ll be fine on her own. Very seldom, plans are executed precisely as we envisioned them. It sounds like she is being mature enough to improvise with a sound back-up plan. Her parents may be feeling guilty themselves that things didn’t work out as planned and are scrambling to support her on their terms and rules. That usually works fine until the age of 18; but time is running out for them and their guilt cannot be wiped out in a couple of months, hence their irrational behavior.

Hope everything works out eventually for all of them. I’ll say a prayer on her behalf.

Thanks for your responses, everyone. :slight_smile:

I do want to make clear that she’ll be 18 upon leaving, so she’ll be a legal adult and allowed to and all that. She actually has a considerable amount of money saved up from previous jobs - not a spectacular amount, but around $5,000 at least. She can and is prepared to get by on her own, as her parents have made it clear that they will pay for any college tuition. She wasn’t preparing on asking for money for them at all, they just came out and said they would be denying it.

She lives near Atlantic City, NJ which is pretty far from Daytona Beach. It should be noted that we have another cousin who, at age 18, was allowed to go from Huntington Beach, CA all the way to New Orleans for college. I understand her parents’ concern, but I think some sort of understanding on their part or compromise would be better than denying monetary and emotional support.


Physics is a really hard major, but in all reality ERU is not a really tough school to get into. In addition, freshman year is about the same anywhere including CC; English 101, some sort of Humanities class, Chem I, Calculus and some bs intro to college class. Just because the CC doesn’t offer a lot of Physics courses means nothing. So why is she moving to Daytona and not staying home and getting good grades at CC to get into ERU next year? Something does not compute.

PS: As soon as she turns 18 she can do whatever she wants. Adults do as they want; and pay for it.

As for why she is not going to the local CC, read this from my OP (bolding for emphasis):

There is only one community college in her area, and it offered not only almost no courses in her field of study (physics), but it is overrun by horrible girls who threatened her life many times and made her high school life a living hell. She refuses to go there, and I don’t blame her.

And if she can’t stay home and go to college, why not go to the town she intends upon moving to? She has wanted to move out forever, and as an observer of their family, it would be good for her. Daytona seems like a good match for her, as well.

Did you miss the part about the girls from high school that will be there giving her fits? One of my sons went to a CC where he thought things would be great because he’d know a lot of people. Turned out bad and he transferred after the first semester. This girl needs to get away from her family or they will control it the rest of her life. Her folks will learn to live with it after she does it, but are going to give her hell until then. I wish her the best of luck.

[sub]Oh, and she has a wonderful cousin who is concerned for her[/sub] :wink:

REPLY to the physics thing: You don’t take but a couple of actual physics classes in your first two college years, at most one in the first year. And as for life threatening college girls :rolleyes:

Uh. I read the campus police reports in my college newspaper. You’d be surprised how many are about women. Plenty of girls get quite violent with other girls… maybe even more vicious than guys get with each other. And even if they don’t actually follow through on their threats, the last thing a person needs when entering a new environment of any sort, let alone a college, is extreme harassment from others. You get quite enough difficulty just moving up the learning curve of your new life.

Back off, 'kay?

Seriously, Priam. One of the girls who has threatened her actually beat a pregnant girl within an inch of her life…as a sophomore in high school. Over a one-night-stand, where she herself was the other woman. :eek:

My cousin is no coward, but just the thought of spending any more time in a school with these girls made her balk.

You have obviously never lived with a college girl who threatened your life and then hired someone to carry it out.

Here is someone with a more realistic opinion of death threats made by college girls.

I can imagine, as I have been in a similar position. I hope that she can get away from there and go to the college of her choice.

**Elle ** –
Might you suggest to your cousin that she consider moving slightly less far from home, and attending Camden County College (about an hour from AC)? It is a very good school, community college though it may be, and they have a Physics program designed to transfer to 4-year universities.

Bah, hit submit too soon.
Anyhow, the school is in a good area with inexpensive apartments nearby.
Perhaps if she went this route for now, it would be getting away from her parents and getting things done academically, without making her parents *too * unhappy.

Bre’r, that sounds like it would be right up her alley. I’m not sure if it’s too late to apply there, but I’ll pitch the idea to her. Not sure how she would feel about moving to the Camden area, though.

Elle –

Classes have indeed already begun (though she tehnically has almost another two weeks for late registration, that seems much more complicated than necessary). Something to consider for winter or spring, however.

“Camden area” makes it sound so ominous – it’s not all like Camden City up here! :slight_smile:

Forgive me - I’m not a Jerseyan myself, and I have heard bad things about Camden itself. In hindsight, I believe I have been in the county before, and don’t remember it being the nightmare the city is purported to be. :cool: