Belfast Telegraph

Should my education come first?

Fiona Caine is here to help if you have a relationship, sexual, marriage or family problem.

My parents have taken themselves off to Spain for the winter, leaving me to look after their flat.

I’m a student at university and I’m struggling with my course work as it is very demanding, so having this quiet space really helps.

My parents, though, think I’m becoming a hermit and are putting a lot of pressure on me to visit them.

I really don’t want to — I hate flying and, anyway, I’ve so much work to do.

My brother has been out twice and I know my mother misses us.

My brother says I’m being selfish for not going to see them but I’ll see them all summer when they’re back.

Do you think I should go now, even though it will take me away from my studies and I have exams coming up too? LC

FIONA SAYS: DON’T MISS OUT ON FRIENDSHIPS

First of all, while I am sure your mother (and probably your father as well) does miss you, she made the choice to go away.

You say they are putting a lot of pressure on you but I suspect it's just concern about you and the way you are living your life.

A student at university is usually surrounded by other people and makes lots of friendships, many of which last a lifetime. Your parents may be concerned that, by staying in the flat on your own, you are depriving yourself of that opportunity.

Of course they would like to see you, but if you explain that you are worried about your studies and you'd rather concentrate, they'll understand.

Do make sure, though, that you make the most of your life as a student — perhaps invite a few people to visit? I'm sure your parents wouldn't mind, as long as they don't trash the place.

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