The Greatest Gift College Has Given Me

Okay, so maybe it’s not the greatest, but it’s pretty close.  It would be near impossible to formulate a comprehensive list of the ways in which college has changed my worldview or made me grateful for the small things in life, but there is one thing that for me stands out from all the others:

Newfound appreciation for family, specifically, my parents.

I’ve always been close with my family, growing up as an only child but with an older half-brother who I’m just as close to as I am to my parents.  But as I neared the end of my high school career, I was…..umm…..okay, I’ll be honest: taking them for granted.  I’m embarrassed to admit this now, when I think about the fact that I wouldn’t even be here at Loyola, as a first-generation college student, if not for the sacrifices that my parents have made.  But boy, has a year at college changed my mindset.

I’ve yet to get seriously homesick, though I hear it happens to everyone at one point or another during their college careers.  Yet, while I’m at school (which, granted, is only 35

At a men's soccer game at Ridley Athletic Complex with my mom and our friend Florence, two weeks ago on family weekend.

minutes away from my home in Pasadena), I’m given the opportunity to actually miss my parents.  You might think this would make me sad, but it actually makes me really happy.

When I was in high school, yes, it seemed like my parents were around too often and wanted to know too many things about my life and ask too many questions.  But now, I kinda like calling home every few days to check in, update my parents on my life here at school, and hear about what they’ve been up to (yes mom, I definitely need to hear every detail about the cute thing the dog did today).

Now that there is some distance between me and my parents, I’m able to think about missing cuddling with my dogs on the sofa while the family watches a Hallmark movie, or watching Gilmore Girls or Downton Abbey with my mom while we drink tea and snack on licorice, or discussing family history with my dad.

And I’m not the least bit ashamed to admit that I sometimes miss my family when I’m at school.  Actually, I think it’s a really good thing.  I talk about them a lot, have some pictures in my room, and look forward to stealing the [very rare] trip home on the occasional free

WIth my parents and our friend Florence, after my Spring Jazz Ensemble Concert last semester.

weekend.  Fall and spring jazz ensemble concerts and family weekend are also great excuses for my parents to visit me at school, which I know they love.  And I’ll admit, I love it too.

When I went home this past weekend for the first time in two months, I sat around the dining room table with my parents for over an hour as soon as I walked in the door, just talking about life, study abroad, school, and my recent articles for the Greyhound.

All of my friends miss their families at home at one point or another, but we’re grateful that we have each other as family too.  So when I’m at school and want to cuddle with my dog while the family watches a movie, I just have to opt for cuddling with my roommate on the couch instead.

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