Life After High School
February 5, 2019
This was the moment I have been waiting for my entire life.
With the acceptance letter to my dream university, I will be moving to Orlando and leaving the only home I’ve known these last 17 years. Coming from a Mexican background, family has always been a big deal to us. Surrounding ourselves with relatives is part of our culture and one never strays far from home, making sure to maintain the tight-knit relationships they grew up with. However, I am changing that by being the very first one from my family to enter a four-year university and leave the place I call home. Sure, a two and a half hour drive is not the largest distance but to me, it is life-altering.
My parents moved to this country as immigrants for a better life. They did everything they could to give us the same, if not, greater opportunities than others and for that, I am forever in debt to them. As a parent, seeing their child become an independent adult is a drastic change, especially for mine. Even though my family is outgoing and never walk away from new situations, I was a shy and quiet girl who depended on her mother for most of her childhood. Every little thing, she helped me do it. To this day, I still have to ask my friends to get honey mustard for me from the cashier at Chick-Fil-A.
“Parents no longer have a say in their children’s life when they leave,” said senior Maidele Saintyl. “Their children are now independent and can’t really give them advice. It’s scary because they no longer oversee what they do.”
Perhaps that is why moving away for college seems scarier than it should be to me. The thought of this newfound independence that I have yet to achieve is challenging. Although, I have learned everything one should know (how to do laundry, cook, clean, etc.), it is going to be difficult to not have someone to fall back on. “I’m both dependent and independent but I can survive on my own,” said senior Shanea Myers. “I’m going to miss my own bed and the food my mom makes. I’ll really miss my privacy though since I’ll be in a dorm with someone else.”
As the daughter of immigrants, it was extremely common to help my parents translate what they were trying to say to retail workers or their water and electric bills. This is where I found some independence. Everything I did regarding my studies was not only for me but for them as well. I wanted them to see that everything they did was not left unnoticed. When I told them I was accepted into the University of Central Florida, the flash of worry in my mother’s eyes was one of the first things I noticed. Seeing a loved one leave is not the easiest thing, especially when it is your own child you have loved and sheltered for over 17 years.
“The pain of our kids leaving for college is an emotional cocktail of worry and sadness . . . Many parents find the transition much easier once they know their kids are settled.” – Lisa Heffernan, TODAY Contributor.
However, pushing aside her worries, she congratulated me with teary eyes and a warm hug.
“Parents are scared because their children are no longer being monitored,” said senior Ouassima Kenzi. “As immigrant parents, they’ve sacrificed so much and are scared that their child will mess it up.”
As the second youngest and first one moving away from home, not only is my life changing but so is my family’s. After years of taking care of my younger sister and cousins, I only wish that I could only leave them with a sense of hope and motivation to follow in my footsteps.
Life after high school is nerve-wrecking and can be a hard transition but so is every other chapter in one’s life. It is up to you to finish it the best way possible and find the independence everyone seeks.