“Go far.” That was Professor Moore’s single piece of advice.
I was 17 years old and attending a summer program. We were listening to a panel of education experts. Professor Moore continued with his reasoning: “you need to experience different parts of the world. Get away from your parents and your friends. Create some distance between you and your past.” It was a compelling speech from a very smart guy. Professor Moore had left the East Coast to attend Stanford. He was now a Professor at UCLA.
I talked to Professor Moore afterwards. He elaborated on his desire to get away. He didn’t have a good high school social experience. His father was overbearing. His older sister had moved far away as well. It didn’t sound like he lost much by going far.
When I started working with students and families 15 years ago, I was a new Dad. Thoughts of my children leaving to college were in the distance. But, I certainly noticed the angst that parents faced as their children left for college. I also realized that the decision to “go far” had lasting implications beyond the 4 years of college.
4 years of living in California leads to friends, boy/girl friend, and job opportunities in California. 4 years might mean 10 years. Or forever.
So, began my bias to keep families close which only grew as my three children did and I started thinking about their departure.
We are fortunate to live in the Northeast of the United States which has the greatest collection of good colleges in the world. And, I certainly understand that some colleges are worth heading to despite distance. In fact, I call it “the Stanford exception.” But, unless the college is extraordinary, why separate family?
“Go near”. That’s my advice.