i agree wholeheartedly with these last two posts. a comm degree is definitely not worth the debt, imho. and living on your own is fucking expensive. you said you're going to save up a few hundred bucks and head out....you aren't going to get very far on a few hundred bucks, bud. especially if you're travelling across the country. you need to have at LEAST a couple of stacks before you take on an adventure like this.
that being said, sorry to hear about your pops and good luck in your future endeavors.