All my life, I've taken my dad for granted, thinking he was just a nagging voice always telling me what to do. But until he went to India for one month, I never realized how much I depended on him. The first day he left, I didn't cry much, thinking it would be my first ever chance at some form of freedom.

As the days went by, I felt extremely lonely with only my mom to talk to. However, I realized that talking to just my mom wasn't enough. I needed opinions and help on certain project and essays, and only my dad could provide them. I realized how much of an impact his absence has made on me. I had no one to turn to when I needed help in math. No one to encourage me when it was time for the AP exams.

While my mom helped as much as she could, my dad was the one person who could help me through anything. A bad grade, bad experiences, bad days…. everything. He provided expert advice, suggestions and valuable help whenever I need it. During that crucial month he was gone, I was faced with my AP exams. Without my dad to help me study, I panicked and called him every night to study as much as I could with him. Nevertheless, it wasn't as helpful as it would have been if he had been here in person.

His absence gave me a view into the future when I'd be going to college. It scared me to think that that one month of his absence would be the rest of my life once I graduate high school. From the day he came back, I decided to never take him for granted and spend as much time with him as possible and learn as much as I can.

I encourage everyone to spend as much time as possible with your parents before officially becoming adults and leaving to college. They have a bigger role in your life than you think.