As a parent, I can imagine that most things are taught from experience. They made all of the mistakes before so that they can teach you to not do the same. However, some parents have to learn along the way and teach their kids to roll with compromise. My mom mastered that method and it helped me get through my first years of college. Living the life of a first-generation college student never fails to test me. I feel lost like many others do. It puts an insane amount of pressure on me to make the right decisions because I simply can’t afford to make the wrong ones. At the same time, my parents experience the same challenges while figuring out my financial aid, living without one of their children, and still being there for me while I’m gone.
My mom helped me work through countless struggles that I faced as a kid, so what’s a couple more as an adult?
Moving out and going to school across the country with my mom at my side made me appreciate her more than I already have. It made me realize that even though I’m an adult and I should prioritize my independence, she’ll never let me go through anything alone. She never missed an opportunity to tell me that I shouldn’t ask for her help, but she never hesitates to give me advice or point me in the right direction when I do. She can’t help her motherly instincts. Plus, she thinks she’s right 100% of the time. I agree with her most of the time.
College will show you hard truths and teach you many lessons. It all comes with growing up. These hard truths include having to be your own friend, not being afraid of adversity, and accepting mistakes as long as you learn from them. Luckily my mom instilled these values with me early on, making them easier to overcome when I faced them as an adult.
Though my mom didn’t go down the traditional path of attending a 4-year university straight out of high school, she still came out of adulthood as a strong, independent woman – one that I look up to every single day. While trying to figure out what she wanted to do and when she wanted to do it, she went through a lot of trial and error. Life definitely showed her that it’s not always easy. She learned many lessons and then passed those down to me. Every time she felt unmotivated she reminded herself that her future relied on her. She never gave up, learning that bad things are only temporary and that hard work always pays off.
Growing up as a painfully independent person, my mom learned the hardships of reaching financial stability while still young.
She immigrated to the United States as a kid and needed to relearn her lifestyle in the meantime, which is a difficult thing to do. Some might say she did it with grace, so much so that her kids were well off because of it. I grew up with the mindset of prioritizing the things I needed instead of the things I wanted. As an adult, for some reason, I still had trouble grasping this concept. That’s why my mom had to micromanage my bank account my whole freshman year.
Whenever I came across a problem my freshman year, big or small, the first person I called to discuss it was my mom. Even if it was the middle of the night and I was in a different time zone, she still offered an answer for everything. When you ask someone for advice and they tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear, thank them.
That’s the real definition of love.
I called my mom for some of the silliest things. I reek of indecision, so I usually asked her things like what I should eat for dinner, if I should go to a party or not and then what I should wear to the party if I decided to go. I asked for her opinion on some Bumble dates, even though I knew she hated hearing about it. It went against her “strong, independent woman” image she wanted for me. Thankfully, she helped me out of a lot of bad decisions.
College students often get consumed by imposter syndrome and my freshman year experience showed it. Getting into college seemed like a grand accomplishment within itself, but then you still had to prove yourself afterwards. Imposter syndrome ate me up almost every day, especially since the admissions office gifted me a very forward and strict journalism professor for my first semester. He gave it to me straight. I complained about it every time even though I probably deserved it.
I doubted my abilities that entire first semester. I convinced myself that I wasn’t skilled enough, rich enough or as well-known as some of the other writers and students on campus. I questioned my decision to go to a private school. Once more, my mom shifted my mindset. I wrote a lot my first fall semester. I wrote about music and local artists, the things that made me love Boston the most. My professor hated A&E coverage.
Yet, every time I wrote an article my mom rushed to read it.
Even if the article sounded like complete gibberish (it likely appeared that way), she’d read it. My mom read the entirety of each piece without having me tell her to. It’s such a small gesture that I took advantage of at the time. When it seemed like I’m writing without support, my mom appeared to prove me wrong. She always told me that to be successful, you have to believe in yourself first. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. Now I don’t care too much about likes or reads because I know that as long as I’m writing with passion, my mom will always cheer me on.