Dear Papa Bear,
I'm very conflicted about something and wanted your perspective and advice on this: My brother recently convinced me to pull out of the community college I was attending and immediately transfer to the University of Missouri—Columbia. His argument is that I am wasting away my 20's and I should be engaging in social opportunities, meeting people, and broadening my horizons.
I am currently living at home with my parents while I attend a local community college trying to earn my Associate's Degree. I'm very close to getting my Associate's, but there's a strong likelihood that I will be there over a year as I fail my math classes, my worst subject.
The thing is, though, that I agree with my brother. Living at home is giving me cabin fever. We live way out in the countryside, I feel trapped often, I don't hang out with anyone. I do work though, and I'm making $13 an hour doing photography and photo editing, which is awesome. I never thought I would be doing that and getting paid fairly well for it. My brother tells me that he regretted doing what I am doing now, living at home and going to the community college. He said he was much happier living on his own.
If I leave by next semester, I can be living with my friends I made my first year in college and having a blast drinking and partying. I'm sure there are plenty of furries to meet there as well, and maybe I can get laid in the midst of this too. It's a huge school. I'd also be taking art classes for the first time in about two years to put towards my BFA degree, so I'd actually enjoy going to college again. But I would be making less money, it going towards rent and utilities, gas, food, and possibly other expenses.
I guess what I'm really trying to ask is: Am I making the right decision by giving up my financial stability, a good job, and a possible Associate's Degree for my freedom, well being, self-discovery and enjoying my social life? I'd still be going to school though, and enjoying my classes for quite a while (until I have to take math).
Frroat (age 21)
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Please note that school is not about drinking and partying with your friends. It is about getting an education (what a concept!) Also note that what is right for your brother might not be right for you. You are two different people.
Give up financial stability and an associate’s degree for a much less optimal situation just so you can party more? That, pardon me for saying so, is incredibly short-sighted and not very smart.
It sounds like you are close to obtaining your AA. Need a little help with math to get over the hump? Use some of that financial stability you have right now and hire yourself a math tutor. After all, if you can’t pass math at a community college, what makes you think you can at a four-year school? The advantage of a community college is that it is much easier to get the individual attention you need than at a large university. Take advantage of that now. If you don’t, you likely will fail at the university level, so your plan would be ruined. Your discomfiture over living with your parents can serve as your motivation to succeed quickly where you are, and then move on with your life.
Finish your AA degree and THEN move on to a four-year school, knowing you can transfer that degree for credits toward you B.A. (consult with your academic advisor at your community college about transferring credits and degrees to make sure you get the most bang for your buck; some universities don’t accept all credits from certain schools and some universities have close ties to particular community colleges to make this process easier).
What I’m trying to say is that transferring to another school is no solution. Sure, you might be able to party more, but that is not going to help your education or your future. Instead, play it smart. Focus now on succeeding where you are in the quickest way possible, and you will be out of your parents’ house in a year and be much better prepared for the future. Is fighting for the right to party more important than that? If so, listen to your brother and have fun getting drunk because soon you’ll find yourself out on the street with no degree. If not, tell your brother you have your own plans and stop feeling pressured by him.
I hope you make the right choice. Good luck!
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