In May, my brother, Ed, will graduate from the University of Notre Dame and then move to Chicago to start a new career and a new life. To put things into perspective, Chicago is ten hours away from where we grew up and where my parents still reside.
My parents, on the other hand, have different wishes for Ed. Of course, they want him to end up wherever he will be happiest, but they still wish he was close to Rochester, NY, so they could see him often.
There really is no right or wrong answer to the question, Should I follow my children after college? Staying where you are doesn’t make you a bad parent just like moving with them doesn’t make you a crazy, obsessive one. The best decision is different for every family and every situation, but I am here to share my two cents.
I’m only 20 years old, so I don’t know what it’s like to raise children, send them off to college, and watch them flourish in a career, and in turn, miss them. But, as a soon-to-be graduate, I can offer some insight on a child’s point of view.
While I still have another year before my college graduation, I know that I don’t want to immediately go back to my hometown. I want to experience a new city, meet new people, and make a new life for myself. In 2019, the year I graduate, I picture myself in New York City – a six hour drive from my beloved parents. While the distance is manageable and weekend trips are a possibility, weeknight dinners or random drop-ins at my apartment are out of the question for my parents.
Since I attend college three and a half hours from home, I’m used to not seeing my parents everyday. Sure, I talk to my mom on the phone nearly everyday, but I’ve gotten comfortable with not seeing them regularly. My content with my current situation helps reassure me that I’ll survive, even with the greater distance that will come between my parents and I in the near future.
It has taken me a long time to understand why my parents struggle with the physical distance between them and their children. Both my parents grew up in Rochester and settled there immediately after graduation. Their parents were by their side during every new job, every new apartment, and every milestone my parents had with my brother and me.
But, 2018 is a lot different than 1980. Not all graduates are racing home to find a job. In fact, according to the 2015 Heartland Monitor Poll, 46% of respondents said they don’t live where they grew up.
What’s the point of all this? Personally, I don’t want my parents to follow me wherever I end up next year. When I get married and start a family, my opinion may change, but for now, I want to experience the world on my own—I’m sure your children may feel the same way. Who knows, I might just move back to Rochester to start a family.
In an effort to answer an unanswerable question, follow your child’s journey, don’t stand at his or her destination. Visit them occasionally, talk to them on the phone each week, and understand the boundaries that they want to set. In the end, have a conversation with your child to see what he or she wants, you might just hear the answer you were looking for!
Are you considering following your child after graduation, but aren’t sure what the best decision is? Ask a Pup because we are here to help!
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