Students gain independence by living away from parents

Hannah Jane Deciutiis

     In this day and age, there is an increasing trend of teenagers asserting their independence, rebelling against authority, and sticking it to the man—namely, their parents. Is the thought of living without the constraints of an authority figure a dream come true, or a nightmare waiting to happen?

     For multiple reasons, often a parent’s job transfer, moving away from Cedar Park and switching schools is common. However, it is not unheard of for a high school senior to remain behind, without their family, in order to complete their high school career in a familiar environment before heading off to college. There are multiple ways of approaching this living situation, but one scenario that has proved to  be effective is for the student to live with another family while remaining in contact with their parents long-distance.

     Nicole Pellerin, Cedar Park alumnus and freshman at Texas Tech University, lived with another family for the duration of her senior year when her father was transferred. The thing she enjoyed the most about living without parents was the freedom.

     “I enjoyed having parents that weren’t as strict, and doing things for myself, such as shopping. I had control of my money and it was up to me to decide how to spend it,” said Pellerin.

     In addition to the joys of being able to spend her own money, Pellerin learned the difficulties of financing through having to budget on her own. Her parents transferred money into a bank account accessed with her debit card.

     “I was responsible for keeping [my budget] balanced, and if I ran out of money early, then too bad. I learned how to cut back on spending and how to make wise financial choices,” said Pellerin.

     The most difficult part of her journey apart from finance was the college application experience. Not having a parental unit right there to guide her along the way, Pellerin had to tackle applications on her own.

     “I kept e-mailing my mom back and forth, but I was having to do [the entire application] myself,” Pellerin said.

     Having undergone the scenario of not having parents around, she offers advice about anyone considering living without their family.

     “Maintaining a relationship with my family was what mainly kept me sane through the whole process. Just having a bond with them and staying in touch is the most important thing,” Pellerin said.

     Similarly, Ivette Wegricht, senior, is currently living with another family while her family resides in Virginia. She too has immediately noticed freedoms that she did not have while living with her parents.

     “I have an extended curfew, and I don’t have to tell the people I live with what I’m doing or where I’m going or who I’m with. I don’t have to keep my room sparkling clean, and trust me, it’s not,” Wegricht said.   

     Wegricht worked as a lifeguard over the summer, which supplemented the allowance from her parents that covered the basics such as school supplies, clothes, and general hygiene.

     “I’ve become more careful about spending. Money definitely became more valuable, and I noticed quickly how much more expensive things are when your parents aren’t paying for them. I’ve become more self-disciplined, which is great for preparing to go to college,” Wegricht said.

     Wegricht stresses how difficult the absence of family can be on a student, particularly when one shares a bond with their parents.

     “I was close with my parents so just not having them around all the time to help you through things is a huge change. It was a really hard decision to leave my family, and if they hadn’t moved to Virginia, I would without a doubt still be living with them,” Wegricht said.

     She advises any student wanting to live without their parents not to take the decision lightly. Take great care in considering both the pros and cons of living without family.

      “Give it a lot of thought, because there’s definitely a big impact on you, whether or not you’re close to your family,” Wegricht said.

     So while this scenario has proved effective under pressing circumstances, it can have heartbreaking effects on a family; while the benefits of freedom may be a siren’s song to a high school student longing for liberation, they may not always measure up to the stability that a teenager can receive by living with their parents.