I come from a very small town in a part of the country where people still marry their high school sweethearts and buy the house they grew up in from their parents when Mom and Dad are ready to move to Florida. Don't get me wrong, I love my small town - and the people in it, especially my boyfriend "Randy" - but I have always yearned for more! My favorite movie of all time is Sweet Home Alabama, and I often imagine myself in the role of Melanie Carmichael [the Reese Witherspoon character] - until she decides to leave New York behind and settle back down in her hometown.
My family has lived in our town for seven generations now - nobody has ever left, not even to go to college. My teachers have always told me that i am very bright and that I could be somebody if I furthered my education past high school, but my parents always said there is no way they could afford to pay for me to go to college. Late last year, I secretly sent out applications for colleges and I just got the news that my first choice wants me! They have even offered me a full academic scholarship, so I would not have to worry about how to pay for it! When I told my parents the news, Mama cried tears of joy; and Daddy told me he was proud of me, which from him is high praise, indeed! The local newspaper did a write-up about me, and put the story on the front page; and the local diner where I work cut the story out and posted it on the wall for everyone to see. Everyone is so happy for me, I feel like a local hero! The only person who is unhappy is my boyfriend, Randy, who is against me traveling away for school.
Randy and I have been seeing each other since I was 14, and he is the only boy I have ever dated. Randy told me that was hoping that we would get married after he graduates high school (he is a year behind me, because he stayed back a year when he was little) and that my leaving for school would change everything. He is convinced that I will forget all about him and meet someone new while I am away. He suggested that we get married at the end of the school year, and he can come away with me; but I am not certain that is something I want. For one thing, I want Randy to finish high school. For another thing, I am afraid that if I get married I will not be able to handle the responsibilities of college and being a wife. Plus, if I were to get married I couldn't use birth control and I know there would be no way i could handle college and babies. Last of all, I have always hoped that I would grow up to move to a big city, like Atlanta; but Randy has no desire to leave our hometown for good.
What should I do kitty-cat? I don't want to break up with Randy, but I do want to go away to college and start a new life! Do you think it's possible to have it all?
Dear Miss Independence:
You may feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders right now; so I want you to think back to four years ago, right before you started dating Randy. Do you remember what you were like? What was your favorite way to spend your free time? What were your favorite TV shows and books? How much have you changed over these four years? I doubt that you are still the young girl you were when you and Randy started dating. Think for a minute about the dreams you held back then...have you accomplished them?
Now, think about the dreams you hold for your future. What do you hope to accomplish in your four years of college? Do you hope to pledge a sorority? Write a book? Design your own line of clothing? Cheer for a Division 1 cheer-leading squad? Graduate with distinction? Now, for the most important question of all: Do the dreams you have follow the same path as Randy's dreams? Or can you see the two of you growing apart as you both continue to grow up?
The "you" that Randy fell in love with may not be the same woman who returns home from college. Randy is fully aware of this fact, and would like to prevent any such change from occurring by keeping you at his side, be it in your hometown or away on a college campus. Would you be willing to sacrifice your dreams in order to see Randy's fulfilled? The tone of your letter tells me the answer to that question is no.
At this point in time, I would advise you not to make any rash decisions one way or the other. Enjoy the time that you and Randy have together and enjoy your senior year of high school! When the time comes for you to prepare to leave for school, ask Randy to give you one year away at school without any pressure to come back home. One thing you will experience once you get to college is culture shock. You will be surrounded by countless new people from countless different backgrounds. You may take to college and the city like a duck takes to water or you may find that there is a big difference between what we dream and the reality that those dreams can bring.
During this time away at school, you will be able to sort out your feelings for Randy, your hometown, and what exactly you would like your future to include; while Randy will be able to decide what is best for his future. You may both discover some hard truths about life, including the fact that we can't always have everything exactly as we want it. Whatever you discover, I think time and experience will tell you the zip code of where your heart truly resides.
Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.