When Your Immigrant Parents Just Don't Get It

It’s More Than 'You Don’t Understand' When It Comes To Your Immigrant Parents

This holiday season, realize that your auntie's distaste for your life choices is more cultural and generational rather than personal.

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"Mom, you just don't understand!"

"You know, back in my day…"

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Media portrays the evident rift between an older and younger generation perfectly. A complete misunderstanding of the change in culture. These instances are depicted in typical teen tropes of listening to edgy music despite their parent's dislike of it, when the parent critiques the teen's often revealing wardrobe, and when technology becomes the forefront of entertainment. However, there's another intersecting type of intergenerational conflict if your parents migrated from another country.

1. Family over everything

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On priorities such as family, academics, or friends, traditional cultures seem to have a heavy hand on all of these aspects. In many Latin countries, for instance, the family is a pivotal aspect of an individual's life. Family precedes over friends, school, and sometimes, even one's self. Decisions are made for the collective unit, and individualism is looked down on and perceived selfish and uncaring. Also, family extends into the physical home, as for example, Filipinos tend to house aunts, uncles, and grandparents in one household.

2. Language barriers

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Most likely, immigrated parents don't have English as their first language. Words can be misinterpreted, and sometimes there aren't any words to translate a certain feeling or thought. There are also some instances that the child has to interpret announcements for parents or act as a mediator between parent and teacher. As a conflict, its another responsibility for the child to mediate these language barriers and translate it so their parents can understand and respond appropriately.

3. (Dis)Tasteful attitudes

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Many delicious foods, especially from Asian countries, don't share a similar palette with American ones. A lot of children of immigrants have grown up surrounded by disgusted faces and rude commentary on their home dishes. When attempting to solve this issue with their parents, there is usually a lack of understanding and money. Parents don't understand why their kid wants ham sandwiches instead of spring rolls. On top of that, parents simply cannot afford to buy Lunchables every day because of working multiple minimum-paying jobs. This conflict in food palettes can start a rejection of home culture because classmates conflict with a child's cultural identity and children's ignorance can really hurt individuals in the long-run.

4. College prep

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If your parents are immigrants that studied (or even if they didn't get to higher-education) in their home country prior to coming here, there is a likely chance that you've had trouble navigating the school system, especially for college. The list goes on: lack of resources, lack of guidance, lack of understanding. A lot of the misunderstanding, however, comes while preparing for college. In many countries, schools require solely high marks, which is why many parents tell their kids to focus solely on their studies. However, extracurriculars are a crucial part in American college admissions. Many high-ranked U.S. colleges seek students that are well-rounded, holistic and leaders or entrepreneurs in their community. It isn't enough to have good grades anymore but to also have a laundry list of leadership experience, volunteerism, and/or creativity. Most immigrant parents, however, may nag that it's just a waste of time. However, in U.S. colleges, involvement means just as much as the grades.

5. College 

This is literally how college feels. Thanks, Hudson.

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College in the United States is set different from many other schools around the world. The general understanding, for instance, that your major doesn't have to correlate with your career choice is an upcoming, but primarily American, thing to believe. Other countries usually have their schools set up for a direct relationship between and career, such as History major means Historian or History professor. However, in the U.S., a History major can translate to politician, businessman, filmmaker, or journalist. The flexibilities are well-known to be endless.

6. The Future

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It's the age-old (and very wrong) "Asian" trope to push their kids into the medical field, but for many immigrant parents who have struggled to move from one country to another, the medical field is as top-tier as it can get. Medical careers are consistent, present, and have an array of employers all around the world. In contrast, minority communities in the United States' artistic fields seem far and in-between, regardless of how much money individuals actually make. Non-STEM is the least route, which is why many immigrant parents push for the medical field (or sometimes law) because it's the clearest and most present pathway to show that their migrations struggles were worth it. However, this is why representation is important for minority communities because, for those involved in the arts and other non-STEM fields, there'll be more support from our support system if we have more evidence that the American market actually wants us.

Immigration is not an easy feat, and every parent who has struggled in this hostile country to make lives easier and better for their children should be commended. However, there are still key differences that can make some experiences more difficult to navigate for those identified as a 1st or 1.5 generational than children whose parents were born here.

The struggle is real, but the results are rewarding.


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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.
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Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.


2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.


4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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