THIS WEEK'S PROBLEM: I have a friend who is really trying to get his life straight because he will be going off to college soon (he'll be a senior next year). He wants so bad to do what's right.
He wants to go out of town to college but is scared of failure, money, becoming detached from old friends and leaving his dad at home alone (his parents just got divorced).
He wants to make a decision before it's too late in his senior year, but can't figure out what to do.
XTREME REPORTER KAMILLE BOSTICK SAYS: Your friend has a lot of factors to consider, but the most important thing he needs to do is take the pressure off himself.
It's understandable that he would feel torn when having to make such a big decision as to whether to leave home for college and even choosing a college, but he needs to give himself a chance to explore his options without the fear of doing something wrong.
When he's through with everything, he'll probably see that there won't be one right decision but rather a "better" one.
Urge your friend to think about what he wants out of his post-high school life and then to find out where he can get that. It could be possible to get the job training or educational preparation he needs right here, but there also might be some dreams he will have to follow elsewhere.
If he already has expressed interest in leaving town for school, remind him that leaving home doesn't mean he can't spend lots of time with his father or stay connected with friends. With cell phones and instant messaging, there's no reason he can't stay in touch.
He needs to talk to his dad and get a better grasp on their relationship. He seems to think his father is dependent on him for his happiness or well-being, when that might not be the case. Has his dad said, "Son, I need you here with me," or is your friend just trying to overcompensate for the loss his parents have suffered?
As for affording college and succeeding in higher education, have your friend talk with his high school guidance counselor (one might be available during the summer) and do some research on the Internet about ways to finance his education, including grants or scholarships. He might can even begin saving some for his education.
It's normal to be scared about what the future will hold, particularly college, but your friend has to start having faith in himself. He can be independent, he can be successful - and sometimes success means asking for help.
Get your friend some college brochures and guides to navigating his senior year in high school and tell him to not stop searching or applying until he's happy with the results.
NEXT WEEK'S PROBLEM: My mom tries to dictate my closet. I have a favorite style, and my mom really likes preppy clothes (which I really don't go for), so she always tries to make me buy stuff from stores such as American Eagle, even though she knows I don't like it. When I tell her "no," she starts yelling at me because I'm "too picky" and leaves the store in a rage.
I'm too young to go out and buy my own clothes (no car, no job). How can I get her to stop?
What would you say to this 15-year-old? Go to augustachronicle.com/xtreme and look for this week's problem to submit your reply, or call the Advice Line voice mailbox at (706) 823-3358. You'll have one minute to reply.
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