Family here or a future there
Students weigh the cost of a move back home after graduation. | Caitlin Blackmon
For students, the question of location post graduation looms overhead like a guillotine ready to fall at any moment. All of us will face an uncertain living situation — whether in Biola married housing or a little apartment in Portland. For some, this entails squeezing college-sized furniture into their old high school room. For others, the world becomes their proverbial oyster and the ends of the earth their destination.
Being one of the latter category induces stress. Graduation looms, as prospects of the real world inch to the foreground of my mind. Graduating single was not the plan. Realizing I alone—with Jesus’s guidance—hold the reigns to my own future because of my relationship status is sobering. Because we have been in the institutionalized school system our whole lives, our choices have never been of any weight. We chose chocolate milk or apple juice for our hot lunch, we chose which dress for prom and what order to take Old Testament and Biblical Interpretation. However, for those who attend a college near their homes like myself, there was never any consideration of, “Will I be able to see my family on Christmas?” or “ Will my brother and sister still remember that they enjoy being around me if I pick up and move across the state?” The question of family, and how often we want to see them —schedules permitting—and who we want to become stir up the question: how much is too much family? At what point does family become a safety net and the wrong choice? Because of this, many students remain wary of choosing where to live for post grad life.
Family is everything. It is hard to think of missing milestones in my sibling’s lives merely because of location. To return home years later to find mom’s hair grayer and dad’s smile lines more deep-set would be heartbreaking. But to these feelings, one may respond with a question: am I always going to live my life waiting? Waiting for them to go to prom, waiting to meet my brother’s new girlfriend or for my mom to update me on how her weight loss plan is going? How many times is too many to call home?
For our generation, the perception of dependence is earth shattering. To even see ourselves as stationary, or a waste of time, is stigmatized with lack of ambition and settling for teaching. What is the age when we stop having sleepovers with our sisters and start lives of our own? Does this start at graduation, or is there a possibility to maintain a dichotomy of independence and relationship with our families? As of now, there may be no strict answer. However, what we can do is pray that during a time of dis-settlement we will walk in freedom of choice, as God intended. We should invest deeply in those around us for the time we have them and be ready and willing to move as God continues to broaden our pastures.