Ask Jess: Dropping Out and Parental Liberation

Q: What would you recommend to a college freshmen wanting to leave school to find out her passions? Mostly as how to support oneself without the help of her parents?

A: Well, in answer to the first question, my answer would be the Nike slogan: “Just do it!” I know it isn’t so entirely simple as that for each person, but no matter how you approach it for yourself, that is the best attitude to take upon yourself.

As for the second question: supporting oneself is very situational; how to do it varies greatly with what you will be doing with yourself once you are out of college. I have a portable part-time job that doesn’t pay a whole lot, but it is enough foundationally to get by on, while leaving me time to do work-trades and/or have other part- or full-time jobs as I travel around. I also go home sometimes: I don’t want to encourage any sort of mooching off of one’s parents/guardians, but usually parents are very willing to help you in your efforts to get on your own two feet financially.

I’ll speak from my own experience, and from experiences of other friends who have moved out temporarily or permanently: don’t do it too soon, or too rashly, and make sure your motivations are in check and you don’t want to move out for the wrong reasons, e.g., “just to move out” or “to get away from parental control.”

So, a good thing to do is, if you are planning to stay in the same area for now, to stay in your parents’ home; but if you are looking into traveling and/or working/learning elsewhere, then that can be considered more of an official liberation from your parents’ financial help.

Again, I do not want to encourage mooching, but I think that if you ask, your parents would be (again) glad to help you in other ways. For instance, on a couple of occasions, my dad has provided free plane flights with extra frequent flier miles, or my mom has sent $20 in the mail for train food or something. Other times, “financial help” simply comes in the form of business ideas or budgeting advice. And, also, remember that every once and a while asking for money can’t hurt that bad – I mean, it beats paying $20,000 a year for your college education, if you ask me.

Leaving school is the #1 best way to find your passions, guaranteed. Lots of people will probably tell you it’s a foolish choice, but if you feel that obstinately sticking your nose in the air at such comments just won’t do and that you must assure them of something, just tell such naysayers that you’ll probably go back once you’ve found a reason to; if they question that, just explain to them (since they are oh-so-willing to keep up a conversation) that college is tunnel vision all the way; if a person doesn’t know what their specific goals for college are going into it, it’s not very likely those goals are going to be discovered during those 4 years. Passions are discovered just by living a free life!! Live it up, I say!

Good luck! Let me know if you have any more questions. 🙂

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2 responses to “Ask Jess: Dropping Out and Parental Liberation

  1. how is your child supporting themselves while they are at school? i think it is as bold a jump of faith to support your child in the same way as one would while going to school as learning from life in a imo more courageous way. I find parents are willing to support their kids well into phd programs yet withdrawal that kind of blanket support from their kids if they dare to do something that isn’t what the masses are engaged in. it doesn’t take much research to see grad degrees often lead to no better footing of how to generate self sustainable income than the bold step your child is trying to center her belief upon.a rambling self note: I was phantasizing in my head about some ludicrous accolade I would receive from people I respect for some arbitrary “brillant” idea; I then realized I wanted attention and admiration for myself. this led me to posit for my own 16 yr old son;I don’t just need to let my son be an equal adult in “my” world, I need to accept and fascillitate the dawning awareness that my son will know more than I do; it is logically obvious that he will have my experiential wisdom as a baseline to understand life and engage with it more fully than I am able to. That includes all the supprt I can lend him and the humility to think he is better able to become more fully himself than I struggle to ascertain.

  2. Thanks so much!

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