Latinitas - A Strong Voice for Latina Youth

"I'm graduating high school soon and the on going dilemma with my parents is whether or not I should stay in El Paso or go out of town for school. I'm dying to get out of here but everyone always tells me I'll be back home after my first year away. I tend to be very independent so I think going away for school would be my best bet... what should I do??" 

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You'll never know unless you try. Living independently is terrifying, exciting and rewarding. If you have a loving family, they'll understand and will be there if you need to come back. It's good to explore.

If I were you, I would go away for school. Life outside your hometown will be difficult, scary and different. Yet, it was be rewarding, fun and a learning experience. I'm from Brownsville and have never wanted to stay in school there. People used to tell me that I would come back after a year away. I'm now in my second year in college at UT-Austin, a 6 hour drive away. I've had so many opportunities that I would have not had if I had stayed home. I've learned to be independent (I was super dependent of my parents when I was home). I even have a job and make my own money. I've gotten to meet so many interesting people that I would not have had the chance of meeting if I had stayed at home. You need to listen to what your heart says. If you want to leave El Paso, do it! If not, you will regret it!

you should if you have a good education you'll have a good job don't you want that?

I actually stayed sort of in my hometown. However, this provided me with the experience of both worlds. I live in Arlington, VA which is few subway stops away from Washington, DC. I attend college at The Catholic University of America which is in Washington, DC and have lived on campus since I began going to school. I live at school which gives me the feeling of "being away" but can go home whenever I want. This is nice for my parents because they like the comfort of having me nearby. It actually makes them not visit me often because they don't feel the need to worry. But it is definitely better to gain some independence. It makes you learn things about yourself you would have not known until later on in life. It also helps you prepare better for the day you have to leave home because you are an adult with a career.

If I wanted to go out of town for school, I would do it.  It's worth the risk - It will open up your mind in so many ways. 

If you do decide to leave home:

  • Work Hard - don't neglect your studies --> The people who end up going back after the first year are the ones that don't study
  • Be Social - you will need new friends, a new support group to help you get by 
  • Keep an open mind - you will meet all sorts of new people, encounter new beliefs and see things you'd never thought you'd see 

I'm originally from Laredo, TX.  I did two years at UT-Pan American in the Rio Grande Valley, and now, I'm in UT Austin finishing up my graduate degree.  

Loved every place.

to get a good job tou stay in school

You sound a lot like how I felt last year when I was going to graduate, and honestly, if you end up with the opportunity to go away to a school that you like and can afford, then go for it. Being somewhere new you will actually be able to make more friends because you will rely heavier on them as a support group without your family being there. It's also fun to have a new experience for the whole year. It makes everything a lot more interesting and intrigueing to participate in. Where if you're in a familiar place, it may not be as exciting. 

I ended up staying in my hometown, but the schools I got into away from home were not my dream schools or schools that I felt were worth going away for. I do love the school here that I'm attending and the people I've met (it's a large school) and I still get that independence that I wouldn't have if I lived at home (I live on-campus). But I do like being in new places and am looking into study abroad.

While I love where I'm at now, I would have also liked to have gotten the opportunity to go somewhere else and have the experience of living in a new place. Also, if your family is anything like mine and very 'posessive' and 'overprotective' then it might be easier too because you won't have to constantly argue with your parents over certain things because they don't understand your independence or growing up since to them, you are still in the same situation as you were when you were a kid, and it might be difficult for them to grasp this concept. 

Also not everyone goes back after their first year, but like the person before me said, you really will never know unless you try. And believe me, it sucks being in those moods just wondering what it would be like if you had.

There's good and bad to both staying home and leaving town. You just have to weigh out your options and think about what it is YOU really want. It's important to have the input of your parents, but they'll usually end up supporting your dreams. 

You should definitely go away while you can! Leaving for college is the best opportunity to really get out of your comfort zone and learn new things about yourself that you never knew before. You'll have plenty of chances to return home (Winter break, summer time, thanksgiving, spring break, long weekends) so don't let anyone hold you back! I stayed in my hometown for college and I regret it often because I am so close to home and I feel like I'm not learning new independence skills. Good luck!!!

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