One of the few disadvantages of growing up in a first-rate university town where your parents teach is that you don't really go away to college. Not that this is much of a disadvantage: you can come home for Sunday dinner, enjoy free room and board whenever it suits you, and your mom will pick you up and take care of you when you get really sick. No, I might go as far as to say that living in your alma mater's town has its advantages.
Until you move away.
Then you feel a little bit like a doofus. You have to think, "If I pack these rollerblades, I won't have much space, but if I don't pack them, it's not like I can run home and get them." And you can't borrow tools from your dad, so you finally have to go to Lowe's and pick some up. Fortunately, my parents came down here with me and helped "set me up." Boy, howdy did they, because I don't know how I could have put together all that Ikea furniture, and done that car shopping, and gotten groceries by myself. Except some people do. I guess the effect of living in your hometown while you go to school is maybe that you can hold on to a piece of your adolescence a bit longer.
And, siblings of mine who may be reading this, it's not just that I'm the spoiled youngest. Students nationwide are more connected with their parents. Students at Michigan called home an average of 13 times a week (and this article is almost complete negative about it). Myself, I've never really been a teenage rebel or trying to assert my independence. I like help when I need it.
So I thought it would be really hard to come out here are try to do things on my own, things I never had to do in Provo, like try to make an entirely new set of friends (aside from my roommate, with whom I communicated by email, I didn't know a single person under 50 in Austin) or be The Mormon. Granted, this is day 1.5, so I may not be able to assess my ability, but I'm doing okay for myself. I bought contact solution at the SuperTarget. I got down to campus for a book discussion by myself (and a GPS, I'll admit). I went to dinner with my roommate's old mission buddies and we talked until 10:00 or later. Things are okay so far.
But I wonder how so many freshmen manage to do this so young. Newfound admiration.