Disclaimer: Mom, I did not actually write this in class. I promise that I paid attention to the lecture.

Dear Mom,

As I sit here in class I can't help but realize that I am here because of you.

That's not to say that I haven't always known I was here because of you, you gave birth to me. And I don't say thank you enough for that either, so I'll say it now and get it out of the way. Thanks for birthing me!

But what I really mean by this is that I am sitting in this chair because of you. I am sitting in a freaking desk chair (it spins!!!), in a beautiful lecture hall, learning about the things I love, because of you. Mom, I'm sitting here as a student at an Ivy League school because of you.

I am here because of the time you lied to me and told me that colleges started looking at your grades in middle school.

I am here because you made sure I played varsity sports year-round, joined music groups, took art classes, participated in student government, took all AP classes, and got a job. I am here because you helped me prepare to be a college student during my senior year of high school, and wrote countless checks for college classes so that I could start my freshman year off with 52 credits to my name.

Mom, you are the reason I aced my SATs and ACTs. You are the reason I got 5's on AP exams. As I would stay up all night bent over my desk, you would bring me Shirley Temples with extra cherries, just the way I like them.

You would take me to Dunkin Donuts the morning of my exam, and would text me good luck before I walked into the testing room. I always walked out of that room with the confidence you instilled in me (except for AP Calculus, we don't talk about that).

You drove me to countless college visits, paid for application fees, and waited with me in anticipation for those big acceptance packages to arrive. You supported me through a stressful senior year, and were always there when I needed you. You would ask me about my day, and we would discuss who I met and what I learned at my rotations.

You went to every senior banquet, every research presentation, every awards night, and every senior night meet or game (not to say that you weren't at every game and meet already). You were there when I accepted a full tuition scholarship to my dream school.

You were the loudest one in the crowd when I walked across the stage, accepted my diploma, and gave a speech as salutatorian of my class.

When I was having a hard time adjusting to college life, you'd always answer the phone. You were never angry when I came home almost every other weekend. You always gave me extra money to have fun and get food because I was a college student who couldn't manage her money well (I still can't, sorry).

You sent me the best care packages (seriously, what other mom sends you the Grey's Anatomy board game and curse word coloring books?). You got me my first passport and paid for my flight so I could explore the world for the first time in my life. You were the reason I went to Rome and had the experience of a lifetime.

And when I realized that St. John's wasn't everything I wanted, you supported me in my decision to apply to transfer to Cornell. You helped pay all the fees, and we anxiously waited together for that letter to come in the mail.

When I got in, you immediately helped me pay for the summer courses I was required to take. And when it didn't make financial sense for me to transfer, and everyone told me no, you watched me as I cried in the car and said yes.

You took out extra loans, made it work, and drove me to my first apartment that fall.

I cried when you left, just like I did when you dropped me off at my dorm for the very first time.

Mom, I can't thank you enough for everything that you've ever done for me in my life. I know I am more of a financial burden than most (seriously, Cornell does NOT come cheap), and sometimes I am more of an emotional burden than most. But you've never given up on me. I can't think of any other person like you, or that means as much to me as you do.

You are truly one of a kind.

You're the kind of mother that teaches her child basic organic chemistry in the fourth grade. You're the kind of mother that becomes a foster parent while writing her doctoral dissertation and inspires her child when she walks across the stage to accept her diploma.

You're the kind of mother that looks up inappropriate words on Urban Dictionary and sends memes just to make her kid laugh. You're the kind of mother my friends wish they had. And you're the kind of person that I aspire to be.

So thank you, Mom. For everything. I love you more than you'll ever know.