To the Mom Who Did It All 20+ Years Later

To the Mom Who Did It All 20+ Years Later

This is the congratulations that you deserve. The thank you for showing me that no matter what life throws at you and no matter how tough things may get, that you can still find some way to push through it all and come out stronger.

You didn’t have the normal life; graduate 8th grade, go off to high school, then graduate and go to college, meet a guy, fall in love, and start a family. Instead, your family started in high school. There was no graduating and college. No perfect guy. You had your first kid when you were still one yourself. That’s one of the biggest challenges you encountered that caused you to start the life everyone leads 20 years later.

You then met my father and got pregnant with me. That postponed whatever opportunity you may have had to pick back up the lasso and get back on the horse. However, you did it anyway. You still had me. Rather than trying to take the life that others deemed right, you choose me; you got on a different horse.

I know it was never easy for you. While you may have come and gone in your first two children’s lives, you came around when things were right. Yeah, there were bumps in the road and during those tough times you weren’t as present and even though that hurt at times, I knew there was part of you with me and that you were trying to do what was best for you which ultimately would be best for your children. Then came my half brother.

Seeing him be the motivator and the apple of your eye made me happy. To see you finally have that drive within you made me proud. Even though you may have had a couple bad seeds looting the garden which caused about a year set back total, you still did it.

So this one is for you. To the mom who did it all 20+ years later.

I am so proud of you. To see all those tough times you went through in life and to see you now, I am thrilled to see you finally be who you are. That you finally overcame all those things and people who were holding you back and get what you deserved.

I cannot believe how happy I am for you. How happy I am that you dropped that 200 pounds of weight and got your degree instead. That you persevered and pulled through when only a few of us knew you could.

So, this is the congratulations that you deserve. The thank you for showing me that no matter what life throws at you and no matter how tough things may get, that you can still find some way to push through it all and come out stronger.

“So mom. I am extremely sorry that I wasn’t able to get out of work and be there for your big day. I just wanted to let you know how proud I am of you. These past few years have had their ups and downs yet you never let that tear you away from school and chasing what you wanted. You persevered in way that I admire. I know it has been tough but you did it. You did it, mom, and I could not be more thrilled and happy for you. I know you’ll continue to be strong and I know you’ll find an amazing job and won’t stop till you do because that’s who you are. You’re someone who doesn’t stop. You don’t stop fighting. Don’t ever lose that. I am so proud of you. Smile big and proud, you deserve this.”

You waited 20+ years to start and finish your education. I can’t wait to see you prove to those who thought you couldn’t do it that it doesn’t matter when you get it done, that you can do amazing either way. I love you, mom. Keep your head up and keep moving forward. Be proud to look people in the eye and say, “I did it”.

Cover Image Credit: UC Magazine

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What It's Like To Take A Class With Professor Yuri Urbanovich

My experience taking a class with one of the best professors at UVA.

I have taken multiple classes with Professor Urbanovich during my time at UVA, and he is one of my favorite professors. Not only does he genuinely care about his students, but he also pushes them to learn more than humanly possible in the span of 50 minutes.

Seriously, I have learned more in his classes about Russian history and politics than I could have ever imagined. Professor Urbanovich’s thick Georgian accent and recalls of personal experiences also make his classes more personal, allowing students to understand the nation’s history and politics on a completely different level.

No wonder his classes fill up in a matter of hours when course registration begins!

The best part of Professor Urbanovich’s class is the many repeated quotes that one can uncover during his lectures. I am currently taking a J-term course with Professor Urbanovich and I have noticed that he says some things a lot throughout the course of his lectures, which makes them that much more interesting and fun.

If you’re interested in taking a course with Professor Urbanovich, which I highly recommend, be aware of the fact that Urbanovich will say the following things a lot.

1. My friends...

Professor Urbanovich does not refer to his students as “you guys” or “ my students,” but rather “my friends.” He often starts his lectures with “my friends,” making the class more intimate and welcoming. He welcomes various thoughts and opinions and treats his students in a way that makes it seem like you really are friends with the professor.

I have only taken two classes with him, but he always remembers who I am (a rare occurrence at a large university).

2. It is inconceivable

Professor Urbanovich often says that certain events or occurrences are “inconceivable”, and when he does, you know that the even matters a lot in terms of Russian history. It’s sort of like a marker for the things you should absolutely remember after any given lecture.

Earlier this week, one of his students quoted Urbanovich’s “inconceivable” phrase during a presentation, and the entire class, including the professor, started laughing. It just goes to show how welcoming and fun his classes can be.

3. I mean, can you imagine...

This is something along the lines of “inconceivable”, but it happens on rare occasions, usually when Professor Urbanovich is comparing the US to Russia and explaining how various events that occur in Russia would not be welcomed in the US or any other nation.

For example, the Pussy Riot fiasco that occurred in Russia was a stab at the religious values present in Russia, but we idolize it in the US. If something like this had happened in Israel or any other nation with strong religious values, we would most likely look at it in a different light. I mean, can you imagine…

4. I am so proud of you

Professor Urbanovich values education over number grades, often telling students that he is extremely proud of the work they’ve done and that they will go far in life. He does give exams, homework responses, and various projects, as any professor would, but he often makes students feel accomplished and successful after the completion of any assignment.

His comments on most essays are very constructive and provide guidance toward the development of better writing skills and the creation of more ambitious future projects.

5. Don't throw potatoes at my head

On the first day of my J-Term class, Professor Urbanovich compared our class to a large group of protestors as a joke, saying that we shouldn’t throw potatoes at his head if we did not agree with one of his statements.

Throughout the course of the past two weeks, he has repeated this phrase several times, especially during lectures that might have sparked opposition among students. Professor Urbanovich says this in a joking way of course, and it makes the class seem less intense than it is, almost as if we were not learning 1000+ years of Russian history in the span of 10 days.

Cover Image Credit: UVA

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21 Things To Do On Your 21st Birthday

You’re officially legal! It’s time to celebrate!

You’ve been waiting for this day for, well, 21 years! It’s one of the biggest milestone birthdays there is to look forward to. You probably never thought you’d make it to this point, but now that the day is here, there’s so much to do!

1. Drink!

2. Go out to dinner.

3. Go to the Casino.

4. Go on a winery tour.

5. Drink!

6. See a movie.


7. Drink!

8. Eat wine-flavored ice-cream!

9. Buy something for yourself.


10. Scratch lottery tickets.

11. Drink!

12. Go bowling.


13. Throw a party.

14. Go on a cruise.

15. Drink!


16. Dance.

17. Drink!

18. Go to a club with friends!


19. Celebrate with family.

20. Open presents.

21. Drink!

You’ve waited 21 years to legally have your first sip of alcohol, whether it be wine, beer or some fruity cocktail. The moral of this is it’s time to drink, so indulge yourself.

But drink responsibly!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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