When children talk about going away to another city for higher studies, they usually hear a common statement, “You have always relied on us for everything, how are you going to live away and manage everything on your own?”
As a parent, the apprehension is totally understandable. You may worry about their ability to perform daily chores and manage expenses, about the kind of friends they’ll end up making, if they would be able to focus on their studies or not, and above all, their ability to cope with the vacuum.
Yet, this would also be their chance to learn adaptability and self-reliance. If your child’s life is a runway, then this is their time to take off! I am sure you are sceptical and insecure of turbulences all this while, but you have to let go if you want your child to reach that ultimate destination.
And this is something that comes from experience. I too am a product of higher education away from home. I had been the most pampered kid, even relying on my parents to choose a course and college for me. Yet my experiences away from home turned me into the person I am today, strong, independent, and leading a successful professional life as a Career Coach.
So let me share a few reasons why studying and living in another city can be one of the most beneficial experiences of your child’s life.
1. They will learn to be independent
From travelling on their own to doing their own laundry, managing food habits, designing a timetable and executing it, learning to maintain attendance, balancing personal and social life, dealing with conflicts, your child will learn each and every bit of it. It surely will be troublesome, as they will not be used to such an environment, but it will get them ready for their life ahead. It will make them resilient, independent and will give them the confidence they need to face challenges that lie ahead in their personal and professional life.
2. They will develop their own identity
A person’s identity is about a lot more than just their caste, religion or family name. Self-identity is how a person defines “who am I”, including one’s opinions, perspectives, tastes, preferences, skills and their place in society.
During the school years, parents and family strongly determine how children define themselves. However, a new environment and diverse exposure give them the perfect opportunity to build their unique identity. It is now when they come to realize what is right and wrong, what kind of company they fit in with, what are their unique strengths and traits, and so on. Such a development of self-identity is important because it strengthens character, improves problem-solving, develops confidence and helps build a well-rounded individual.
3. They will learn to do things on their own
Filling out forms, depositing a cheque, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, cooking food, travelling alone – all of these may seem like trivial daily activities to you as an adult, but they are a big deal for a child who has never done any of these on their own. When living away from home, your child will learn to do each of these without your help. They’ll learn to be competent adults who do not need to rely on anyone else for their sustenance.
I have come across working professionals who still do not know how to do these basic tasks because they have never done them! There may be trial-and-error involved at the start, but your child will walk out much more confident in their abilities than ever before.
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4. They will learn to take better decisions
Choosing a college can be a tough choice but giving the power of this decision-making to your child is important. That’s where they will start to understand how to weigh pros and cons, how to do thorough research before making a decision. Thereafter, they will feel confident enough to take other day-to-day and more important decisions on their own, such as choosing the right social circle, planning their studies and career, choosing a specialisation for post-graduation, what kind of job to get into, etc.
Insights from these will mould their actions and will teach them how to handle decisions on their own.
5. They will get better opportunities
It is highly likely that the child is asking to leave the city because the hometown is not providing the kind of opportunities or college brand that the child is striving for. The college in the other city may be better in terms of the college environment, crowd, faculty, brand value or placements. Denying them the opportunity to attend a better college will also make them lose out on all those opportunities that can make a difference to their longer-term career. This is all the more relevant if you hail from a small town since big cities offer a lot more opportunities for success.
6. They will become more adaptable
Due to a complete change in lifestyle and environment, the child could face a lot of adjustment issues, such as adjusting to a roommate, new culture, food, education system, etc. Is it easy? No. But that’s where the beauty of adaptability lies. Coping with these hardships will make them come out a lot stronger.
If they have taken the decision themselves, they will also own up to it and fend for themselves. They will learn how to adjust to all sorts of changes even without the family knowing what they are going through. And that’s what will make them bold enough to face all varieties of experiences in life.
7. They will become more organised
Back home, children know that there is someone always there to take care of the nitty-gritties. But once they move out, they have to organize their life completely on their own. From managing finances, holidays, notes and assignments, to organising the wardrobe, making the bed and packing luggage, they gain a sense of responsibility for their life. This gives them the opportunity to take initiative, plan strategies, and become more organised in the process.
Living in a new city, culture and environment boost a student’s confidence. If they like the choices they have made, they will go out of their way to ensure that they explore all possible opportunities. The atmosphere around them will instil ambition, self-reliance and ultimately, self-growth. As a parent, it is important that you don’t hinder this growth by imposing your decision on them. You will face apprehensions and fear for their well-being for sure, but it is important to take the decision that’s best for their career and growth.
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Why are you hesitant to send your child to a college in another city? Share with us in the comments!