Dear Harlan: I’ve been at college for six weeks and want to leave. I’m having a hard time making new friends. My girlfriend is at home. The classes are too big. I don’t know anyone in my classes. I’ve been playing basketball at the gym, but it’s not with people I know. My roommate is weird and barely talks. I want to transfer to a school closer to home. My parents want me to stay here for at least a year, but it’s not getting any better for me. I’m seriously considering leaving after one semester. I know you’ve dealt with this sort of thing. How can I get my parents to listen to me?
Dear Stuck: Your parents are listening. They just don’t think you should leave. Can you try doing a few things before transferring? First, recognize this is a huge change. It’s normal to feel all the things you’re feeling. This is the uncomfortable normal part of starting a new life in a new place. Instead of fighting the discomfort, acknowledge it. Find positive people who have made it work. Avoid all the negative people who hate this place. Lean on peers, upperclassmen, student leaders and the kindest people on campus. Talk to your teachers during office hours and get extra help. Make the effort. Keep playing basketball. Get a part-time job at the rec center, which will keep you on campus. Six weeks is not enough time to hate a place. What you hate is change. What you hate is being away from your girlfriend. Lean into the discomfort and surround yourself with people who love life on campus. The real risk is that you’ll like it too much. And then you’ll want to stay on campus. Keep both feet on campus and see how it feels.