I will be graduating on May 18th, 2017 with my Master of Education in Organizational Management with a concentration in Higher Education. This is my third time graduating in five years. When I graduate, the only family that will see me walk across the stage is my dad. My mom died when I was 16 during my sophomore year of high school. My mother’s parents died in the 90s. My dad’s parents, my grandparents, died in 2011 and 2014. I have uncles and aunts, but I’m not close to any of them. The only other family member I talk to, besides my dad is my cousin, Jill. That’s it.

When I graduated high school, my mom and my grandma weren’t there. My grandpa died before I graduated college. My dad’s parents help to raise me when my mom got sick. They were there for me when she died. My mom and my paternal grandparents all went to college. My mom graduated Magna Cum Laude from University of Massachusetts Boston as a double major in English and History. My grandma graduated from the University of Connecticut and then Yale with her Master’s in Nursing. My grandfather went back to college at 26 at American International College, then went to Syracuse, and then on to Harvard’s Business School. They never pressured me to have “perfect” grades, but they all taught me the importance of a college education, and now none of them will be there to see me graduate with my Master’s of Education. It sucks and it hurts to see so many classmates of mine surrounded by their parents and grandparents on graduation day.

But, I have my dad who has always supported me. He was supportive when I changed my major (twice), nearly transferred to another college, stayed an extra semester to add a minor, and going back to graduate school. My dad is always here for me and I am extremely grateful for that and for him. But, I wish I had my mother and grandparents here to support me too. I hope they’d be proud of me.