Leaving home is harder than it sounds (and it sounds pretty hard!)

July 13, 2012 | Posted in: High School, Middle Years

The months after high school graduation can hold big changes for young people. This is the second contribution by Capital Region BOCES Communications summer intern Ean Dunn, who shares insights from experience he’s gained as a college student.

Growing up I went to summer camp and on extended school field trips, but nothing really prepared me for the big step of living on my own. Moving from living with my parents and younger sisters to living with a roommate I didn’t know in a place I didn’t know, with no one but myself to help me, was HUGE!

A big part of growing up is taking the major step of leaving home, and learning how to be self-sufficient. This applies to kids moving away to college, and kids moving into an apartment down the road to start a job.

I knew I wanted to go to college before I even entered high school. It wasn’t a question of “if” but “where” I would go. After my mom helped me with my college search, I chose a distant school. It was sad leaving home at the end of that summer, and many, many tears were shed.

I had decided on a school almost five hours away from my home, in Philadelphia, PA – the fifth largest city in America. I grew up in the suburbs in a supportive community, which as you might imagine is very different from Philadelphia, so I was in for a big learning curve.

I remember the day my parents dropped me off at college. I didn’t want them to leave, and they didn’t want to leave me, but they did. They had to. I was a college student on my own in a major U.S. city where I knew only one other person – someone who had also come from my high school.

No matter where you go, the college experience is a bit overwhelming at first. You’re thrown into a situation where nobody knows you, but you have to realize that everyone is in that same situation. It was important that I made friends at my orientation, and today, two-plus years into my college experience, I’m still good friends with almost everyone in my orientation group.

Living on my own was tough at first.

My roommate wasn’t around much, and I had not made that many friends yet. Feeling a bit homesick, I turned to my family for support, and they really came through. If I wasn’t texting or calling my immediate family, I was texting or calling my Grandma, or cousin, or even friends from back home.

Once I knew I wasn’t really alone while living on my own, I started to embrace college life. I met new people, had a better attitude on life, and even started to like all of the freedoms of independent living – pizza, sweets and sleeping in!

Support of my family and friends got me over the homesickness and anxiety of living on my own, and it is something I’ll forever be grateful for.

While I grew a lot living on my own, and matured as a person along the way, the main lesson learned – whether you’re moving 100 miles or 1 mile away – is support back home is a wonderfully helpful thing to have.


Moving away isn’t necessarily easy for parents or their kids. Here are some resources to help you prepare for the move:

“Saying goodbye to your college-bound kids.” today.msnbc.msn.com

“Saying goodbye to your high school graduate.” FamilyEducation.com

“Preparing for college.” Scholarships.com

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