Away From Home For The First Time
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Our Parents Take Care Of The Little Things So We Can Focus On The Big Things

The first year of college, the first month away from home, and the first days of reality. Having been close to my family all my life, coming to college has allowed me to reflect on my past and all that they did to get me right here.

Nadia Ashraf

I'm ready to go.

High school was great, but I'm ready for the "real world." I'm ready for the challenges that are waiting to be conquered, the adventures that are idling to be explored, the knowledge that is drifting to be absorbed. And college is the start of it all. Although I am going to miss my family back in Virginia, it is not something I couldn't bear.

Having been raised by two very hardworking parents, I learned that in order to succeed in this world, you have to be self-reliant and resilient with the will to work hard and make sacrifices. I am confident that my parents taught me everything that I need to know and they did. But that does not mean it is easy on my own.

I would describe myself as an organized individual. That was until I realized I haven't done my laundry for two weeks. Until I missed lunch and dinner. Until I camped out in the library to study for my chemistry midterm. Until I noticed I went to sleep at 3 AM every night. Time goes by quickly here on campus. My classes start in the morning at 9 AM and the latest one ends at 5 PM, depending on whether I have lab that day or not. I grab food from the dining hall every time I get hungry and head to the gym when I have spare time to take part in the Zumba classes, badminton, and Tae Kwon Do.

Unfortunately, all the clubs I want to join meet Wednesday at the exact same time, but I have been able to alternate Camp Kesem, Circle K, Environmental Club, South Asian Student Alliance, and Muslim Student Association meetings so that I have gone to at least one so far. To be on a campus where there are so many different opportunities, I cannot help but join the various communities. However, I just cannot seem to make enough time for all of them.

I didn't understand why. In high school, I joined six honor societies, Key Club, International Club, Latin Club, and volunteered at our local elementary school while taking five AP courses. I did not expect it to be that different in college. Then came the epiphany. My mother, Ammu (in Bengali), always did my laundry so that I never had to worry about spending time on washing clothes. Ammu always had my breakfast, lunch, and dinner ready every day. When I had exams, she brought me bowls of my favorite fruits periodically while I studied.

My father, Abbu (in Bengali), always checked to see if I was in bed before 12, and if I didn't finish my homework by then, he would wake me up early to finish it. Both have always had my transportation arranged for me to go to my club meetings and volunteer events. Abbu and Ammu made it so that I could excel in school and be able to do all the extracurricular activities that I wanted to do. Because of all the little things that they did, I focused on receiving AP credits and officer positions, advancing in core subjects, and gaining leadership as well as exposure to various memberships and organizations. They gave me more time in the day than I ever realized.

We don't often take the time to stop and reflect on what and why our parents do the things they do for us. And too often, we don't thank them. We think that parents are supposed to do that for their child, but everything that my parents did for me, I could have done myself. But they chose to do all the little things so that I could excel in the big things.

I've always been thankful for Abbu and Ammu. But it isn't until now, on my own, that I can feel the great capacity of their work. What amazes me, even more, is that they gave the same support for my five siblings.

Whoever raised you took their time to give you more.

Now, take the time out of your day to thank them.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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