Help me convince my dad to let me transfer?

<p>I am a freshman dead-set on transferring out of my current school (in-state, really great school, just not for me) and into a small private liberal arts women's college (out of state, in the Northeast or possibly California). I hate my current school and am ridiculously unhappy there, borderline depressed. I've struggled with depression in the past to the extent that I've been hospitalized, so it's actually a pretty serious thing. I broke down in the car on the way back to school after Thanksgiving and told my mom how I've been pretending to be happy but am actually miserable. She is skeptical about transferring and thinks that I'm having personal problems that will just follow me wherever I go-- I understand this view and plan on talking to someone at the counseling center before I make any decisions about whether or not to actually leave the school. But still, application deadlines are looming and I need to tell my dad about this before I go back to school. </p>

<p>My dad is INSANE when it comes to college. I had other options in other states last year, but my parents pressured me to stay in state and go to this school. He loves the school, even though he thinks it's a little bit "too liberal" (one of the reasons I'm leaving is because the school is too conservative for me). He very strongly believes that since he is paying, he should be making all the decisions (we had a huge fight when I wouldn't let him choose my classes for me). We fight all the time to start with. When I started college he gave me a speech about how this was "it"; I was to stay here for four years, no dropping out, no transferring, no grades below a B, etc. His expectations are overwhelming. I am SO stressed out about my grades and SO stressed out about telling him I want to transfer that I can't even enjoy the holidays. I spend every second worrying about it. I can't eat, I can't sleep, I've had a stress rash since finals started, and I can hardly even look my own father in the eye. It doesn't help that I'm also hiding my sexuality from him, and he's going to ask a lot of questions about an all-girls school. I am freaking out.</p>

<p>I have no idea how to tell him and my mom isn't being any help at all because she doesn't really want me to transfer either. I am hoping he will see how miserable I am and will just want what's best for me, but in my experience he doesn't usually see things that way.</p>

<p>Okay wow, I guess I really needed to vent a little bit. Sorry about that. Any advice from parents? How would you want your kid to approach you about this?</p>

<p>Let's try articulating your dad's point of view: He has a daughter who is fragile emotionally, so he wants her close to home so he can be there for her in an emergency. He feels that she's only a first semester freshman - a time when many kids are stressed about leaving home and succeeding in school, unsure they are in the right place, are having trouble finding the right social group, and apt to make impulsive judgements about their fit in a new place - so he's inclined to downplay her request to transfer. But he's also worried about her, so he tries to micromanage her course selection in the hopes that by picking her classes, she'll have a good experience and he gives her a big 'failure is not an option' speech so she'll take school seriously and not go nuts partying (as some kids do the first time they are away from parental supervision). He also knows nothing about her sexual preferences (but may have some inkling and is hoping that if he ignores it, it will go away). Meanwhile, he wants her surrounded by a culture for the next four formative years that is at least somewhat consistent with his values (even if it's a bit too liberal for his liking).</p>

<p>If you were in his shoes, how would you react to your daughter? Who hasn't actually told him that she's unhappy, stressed out, feels unsupported by him, and wants to transfer?</p>

<p>I'm not saying he's right or that you shouldn't transfer - only that, given the information he has, he's being a pretty normal - if a bit over-protective and over-bearing - parent. </p>

<p>Here's what you owe your dad:
a) an honest conversation about what's working and not working at school (and don't make it all gloom and doom or it won't be credible) (Hoping that he sees how unhappy you are is childish and plays into his view that you are too immature to make important decisions.)
b) a list of what you've tried to do to make it work for you - tutoring sessions, joining clubs, using faculty office hours, going to the counseling office at your school.<br>
c) a promise that you will do everything you can to make the rest of the year a success - including good enough grades that you will be able to transfer - if he will support your decision to transfer after that (and if that involves taking a semester or year off to help pay for it, that would be a reasonable offer and demonstration of seriousness).</p>

<p>If and how you share the information about your sexual identify with your parents is so specific to your situation that no one on CC can advise you. There are too many variables. Visit your counseling office at school as soon as you get back - you are absolutely not the first student who has been in your situation and they will know how to help you. If the first counselor you talk with doesn't seem supportive, ask to speak to a different counselor. Find someone you are comfortable with.</p>

<p>If I were your parent, I would be highly concerned that you have had stress issues leading to hospitalization in the past, and now seem to be back on that rollercoaster. Probably the last thing I would want to do would be to let you transfer, after a semester, to a school 1000-3000 miles away. I think you mother is right to be worried that undertaking a transfer, now, will add to your stress instead of decreasing it. If you were my daughter, I would strongly advise against it until you got your anxiety and depression under control, with help of course.</p>

<p>I do understand that Williamsburg is not who you feel you are. It's a conservative place but it's also a good school. In your shoes I would probably try to strike a deal with my parents that if I got my symptoms under control, worked, and made good grades this year, I could apply to transfer.</p>

<p>It sounds like there are bigger issues here than what school you are attending.</p>

<p>Obviously, if you don't like where you are, then you should leave. W&M has a fairly active LGBT community (which is weird that you say it is too conservative for you)... hopefully you have looked into those groups.</p>

<p>A lot of freshmen across the country struggle during their first semester or year at college, both academically and socially, so you aren't alone. I don't think it's fair that the "no grades lower than B's" expectation is being placed on you. When I started at W&M (04-05), the average freshman GPA was like 2.9.</p>

<p>I hope you can work out your personal (and family) issues, and that the school issues follow and you find happiness. Best of luck.</p>

<p>"Probably the last thing I would want to do would be to let you transfer, after a semester, to a school 1000-3000 miles away."</p>

<p>She wouldn't be transferring after a semester; it would be next fall. Transfer applications will be due over the next couple of months. There are women's colleges within a few hours' drive of eastern Virginia.</p>

<p>I think M's Mom has given excellent advice.</p>

<p>We would have to know the history to give any real advice. You hint at a past that might have involved instability. Without context, we can't help.</p>

<p>@Hanna...she's checking out of school after a semester emotionally and mentally and using her energy not to make W&M work for her but to look for a college in the northeast or California to get away from her parents. It's not that I don't understand that or the desire to attend a women's college (I did). But as parent of a child who has suffered depression, you don't just pack bags and leave it behind you. She's not going to arrive at Smith as a transfer and find all issues resolved, it usually doesn't work that way, unfortunately. There are threads on cc often, in my short time here, from freshman and sophomores who say they are miserable, lonely and depressed and want to transfer.<br>
BTW I think M's mom gave good advice as well and wish the OP best of luck whatever she decides.</p>