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I have a long story to tell, and I need to determine where to go from here

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So, I guess I should start by saying that I feel rather lost in my life right now, and I need some advice or guidance to help me decide what I should do from this point onward. To give a bit of background information, I come from a small, close-knit high school and county, and I am very highly regarded because of my intelligence. But, my home life has been a sad story since my birth. I never lived with my father, because my mother resented him and wanted to keep him away from me when I was very young (even though he lived in a house literally one mile away from me). I grew up hating him, because I had only heard my mother’s side of the story as to why they were legally separated a couple of years before I was born. My brother was very intelligent when he was in high school, but he dropped out and became a drug addict, and he still is (now age 38, being an addict for 18 years). I strongly dislike my brother for the impact he’s had on my life and my family, and for now, that’s all I will say about that.

My sister dropped out of high school and attended some college, but she also became a drug addict a few years ago (when she was 25, now 30). My mother and father are also drug addicts, or, more so my father. My mother sells her prescription medication, rather than having an addiction to it like my father does. I had lived with my mother until last year, when she started her alcoholic tendencies again like she would do when I was a child. I left her home because I couldn’t bear to deal with her drinking again, and I moved in with my sister last May. Since then, my mother has fallen to shambles. My father lives next door to me now, as my sister and father live beside of each other, and I have since heard his story as to why their marriage failed. They actually divorced last year in the summer, but were legally separated for many years.

So, moving towards my present situation, I will be going to college next year. I have a very impressive academic track (34 ACT, high GPA), so it seems like I should go to a very good college. But...I don’t know if I would be happy there. I have the chance to attend a college with a full-ride in my home state, and go to college with friends that I have known for many years, or I can go out of state, and be alone, but have a much better education. I hate the feeling of loneliness. I don’t understand why I have such a problem with it, but, I become easily attached to people. The thought of having to be alone and dwell on my past and my terrible lifestyle outside of school kills me on the inside, and I hate it. The thought of leaving my home that I have known my entire life, and the people I am very close to bothers me greatly. But, I want to have a great education. I don’t know what I should major in either, because I am afraid of making the wrong choice. I’m a math guy, and I want a large income of around $70,000 out of college. Those two things, sadly, don’t go together.

Ultimately, I don’t know what to do. I am very much afraid of making the wrong choice after everything I’ve been through. I want the security of knowing everything will work out, but I can’t get it in this situation. I’ve worked so hard over the years to get to a point where I would have a shot at a very good university, and I know I’ll feel that I wasted it if I go to an in state college. There are many positives and negatives to leaving and staying, and I just don’t know what to do. Right now, I’m behind in all my classes because I can’t find the motivation to work anymore. I’m constantly stressed out about my future. I’ve become very overweight, and I can’t find the motivation to lose it. I don’t understand why I’ve lost so much of my determination this year, and that frustrates me. I can’t sleep at night, and I have no family members to turn to who will actually help me. So, any questions or advice would be greatly appreciated!

I have a long story to tell, and I need to determine where to go from here

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You said: "The thought of leaving my home that I have known my entire life, and the people I am very close to bothers me greatly."

WHY is that?

What have all these "close people" ever done for you?
Are they the best role models for you to be around right now?
Your allegiance to them is unwarranted and unappreciated. They drag you down. No wonder you are on the verge of being depressed (weight gain, unmotivated, can't sleep)

You MUST learn to identify how to take care of YOURSELF. What is the best thing for YOU? Where can you find like-minded healthy people to be around?

You can always go to one school for two years and then transfer to prestigious school, but you must protect yourself and be sure you are under the influence of good people.

I have a long story to tell, and I need to determine where to go from here

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SUSIEDQQ has some good questions, and even better advice. I also come from a very small school (graduated with a class of 16). I also had a wildly dysfunctional home and family life. Getting far away from that town, and everyone in it, was the best thing I ever did for myself. I never really missed anyone I left behind, and I know I wouldn't have accomplished anything had I stayed. The people I thought were my greatest friends, were not friends at all, it turned out. Also, I learned that not all blood is family, and not all family is blood. I've pieced together my own family, choosing only people that genuinely care for and about me, in a healthy way. And I couldn't be happier. :)

The next few years are going to pass, regardless. No matter which you choose, you'll always wonder about the path not taken. So, why not wonder how long things would have remained relatively unchanged in your life, with you feeling stuck? Seems that wondering about the familiar yet unsatisfying path holds way fewer regrets than wondering about a whole new path that could take you anywhere you may want to go. Choose your path of least regret. Do you think you'd regret leaving more than staying? I'm guessing that if you asked 100 folks that were in your position years ago, not many (if any) would say they regret giving themselves a new start. I'm also guessing any that opted to stay, regret it. Often. Choose something better for yourself, and make no apologies for it. :)

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