The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

An ode to the women in our lives

To wrap up Women’s History Month, the buzz staff wrote tributes to the women in our lives who have inspired and supported us throughout our lives. From mothers to aunts to grandmas, we look up to these women, and they remind us that there isn’t anything women can’t do, know many how many people may say different.  

Carolina Garibay, buzz editor

I could write paragraphs and paragraphs about the women in my life who have inspired me, but everything really comes back to my mom. Throughout my mom’s life, she has always put others first, especially me and my siblings. She will go out of her way to make sure others are happy, and even though my family is always telling her she doesn’t need to, she insists.

Something I admire the most about my mom is her work ethic. She is so dedicated to what she does and will not stop until she has done her best. She has inspired me to also work hard and go above and beyond what’s expected. You will never see my mom slacking off or putting bare minimum effort into anything, whether that be her job or taking care of her kids.

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    My mom has taught me a lot of things, but something I’ve learned the most from her is compassion. Not only has she stressed the importance of being a good person, but she has demonstrated it throughout her life through everything she does. My mom cares about everyone and everything, yet she is secure in her beliefs and values and will stand up for what she believes is right. She’s someone I’m so proud to have in my life, and I’m even prouder to call her my mom.

    Sydney Wood, buzz assistant editor

    Although Women’s History Month is an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements in our society, it’s always important to acknowledge the women who have influenced our lives. I am incredibly lucky to have so many inspirational women as friends, family and role models in my life, but I am especially grateful for my mom. My mom is the only person I know who simultaneously beat stage 4 cancer and earned a black belt in taekwondo. Today, my mom continues to be an inspiration in my life. She spends her time running a business, taking MasterClasses on cooking techniques, attending local council meetings and gardening, yet her support and kindness toward others are unwavering. 

    My mom has been in cancer remission for more than 12 years, but she still actively reaches out to family members, friends and near-strangers who have been recently diagnosed. She’s the type of person who makes an effort to help others even if she has nothing to gain from it, and she’s shown me how to be a good person through her actions rather than her words. One of her personal mantras is that life gets better as we age and to focus on the present instead of being consumed by our fears of the future. 

    I asked her what advice she’d give to others, and she said: “It’s not the big things in life that make life great, it’s all the small stuff. Enjoy the small moments.”

    Raina Kutliroff, staff writer

    My Mom is an inspiring woman in my life because she is a superhero! Caring for four kids at the same time and somehow having enough time and attention for all of us and our problems. She always has the best advice, and if she weren’t such an important part of my life, I would not have a shoulder to cry on or any delicious home-cooked food to eat. 

    Rukayah Hussein, buzz calendar editor

    Even outside of Women’s History Month, I always want to make it a point to celebrate the incredible women in my life across time and everywhere in the world. I could not pick just one woman to write about, so I chose to write about my roommates, who have been my ride or die since the three of us transferred to the University in the autumn of 2019.

    My two beautiful, inspirational roommates, Simrah and Zehra, are loved individuals in my life. It is a universally acknowledged belief that I could not have asked for better roommates and friends. They are both hard-working and loving women who lead life — even despite the obstacles that the universe has placed in our paths these last few years — with the extraordinary perspective and elegance that I aspire to embody in my own life.

    They are supportive, not only of each other but of myself, and they have somehow put up with my antics and borderline aggravating rambling for nearly two years. I am honestly shocked I haven’t been kicked out and shunned yet. They are always down to overindulge in the amazing food around campus and stay up late to watch movies with me — even if I sometimes doze off. I am especially grateful for the conversations we’ve had – and will probably continue to have – about practically everything, from the most mundane to the important and thoughtful topics we could even think about.

    Caileigh Alexander, staff writer

    One of the most influential women in my life would have to be my grandmother. Aside from raising four kids, she also worked as a full-time nurse all the way into her mid-60s. She has always encouraged her daughters and granddaughters to go to school and continue their education. When she and my grandfather first got together, she was the initial breadwinner of the family, which was an abnormal occurrence in the early ’60s.

    Along with her persistent encouraging attitude, she is also one of the most compassionate people I have ever met. Between splitting her time between her four children and nine grandchildren, she also volunteers in her town by setting up charity events and food drives and has volunteered at her local hospital for many years. Whenever I go to her hometown, people always stop to tell me that my grandma is one of the nicest people they have ever met. She is truly one of the smartest and most passionate women I know.

    Since I can remember, she has driven all over the country to trace our family’s genealogy and find distant relatives. She has traced our family’s lineage back almost 400 years and continues her research to this day. Her determination, kindness, humor and passion continue to not only inspire me but also her two daughters and five other granddaughters.

    Julia Youman, staff writer

    One of the most inspirational women in my life is my grandma. She’s one of those people who you can’t really imagine as being sad because she is always happy. I’m constantly in awe of her carefree energy, and I can only hope to approach life the same way when I’m older. She’s battled breast cancer and faced the death of both her husband and son, yet every time I see her she is perfectly content with her life. She goes on road trips with her friends to do wine tastings or to catch a Hamilton show and to go abroad to look at architecture. She loves red wine and dark chocolate and anything with skulls on it.

    For Christmas, my mom and I picked out a bottle of Crystal Head Vodka, which comes in a crystal skull. She always has the coolest rings; they are never too flashy, but they are always unique. One of my fondest memories from when I was younger was when we would roam around local art markets and witchcraft festivals. She would almost always buy me a handmade necklace or a dress for my doll. When I was younger, I never understood why she chose to remain close to our family despite not being related to any of us. She came into the family when she married my grandpa, and when he died, she continued to stay close. I think that’s what inspired me all these years: She taught me that sometimes you choose your family. She had family back in California where she was born, but she always made an effort to be around and stay close to us and I’m forever grateful she did. 

    Michal Szczepaniak, staff writer

    My sister, Marta Szczepaniak, is one of the most inspiring women I know. Growing up, we were always very close. She let me play with her and her friends, and she never leaves the house without reminding me that she loves me first. I always knew I was lucky to have a sister like Marta, but it wasn’t until recent years that I really started considering her my best friend. Her intelligence, creativity and passion inspire me to strive for greatness in everything I do. Marta graduated from the University last year with a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology and minors in psychology and chemistry.

    She is currently in the process of applying to pathologists’ assistant programs, and her dedication to her schoolwork amazes me every day! Every morning, Marta wakes up at 9:00 a.m. and devotes most of her day to studying. She pushes herself harder than anyone I’ve ever met before, and she truly deserves all of the amazing things coming her way. Despite our typical sibling rivalries, she really is the best sister in the world, and I am so lucky to have her.

    Zoe Nielsen, staff writer

     I am very fortunate to have many inspirational women in my life. I joined a social sorority in the fall of my freshman year at the University, and my whole world changed. I was suddenly surrounded by women who were hard-working and passionate about all different fields.

    At one of the very first events I went to that fall, I met Kelli Smith who became not only one of my best friends but also an amazing mentor to me. Kelli is two years older than me in school, and for me as a freshman, seeing someone so put together was really intimidating. We quickly became close, and she was always there to offer me advice about everything I needed. I was so lucky to have a role model at school so quickly and someone who really encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone. Kelli encouraged me to keep up with my schoolwork and extended all of her resources to me.

    Now, after almost two years of friendship, I have gotten to watch all of her successes, and she has supported mine. Thanks to Kelli, I had all the guidance and love I needed to become a successful individual on this campus. I cannot thank her enough for being such an amazing role model. 

    Emilia Chojnacki, staff writers

    My babcia, which means grandmother in Polish, is my inspiration! She is in her 70s and has the most amazing spirit. When I visit her in Poland, we still go on many mile-long walks with her dogs through the forest to get to our favorite trails. She takes my siblings and me on the trolley to the center of her Polish town for ice cream, and she explains the historical significance of the buildings still standing from medieval times. Her past of being a physical education teacher with an active lifestyle allows her to care for my grandfather, as well as having the energy to take my brothers to the soccer fields every day during the scorching hot summers.

    I thank her for making my summers in Poland full of freedom and love. She made me feel comfortable in a foreign place and gave me a second home. I aspire to follow in her footsteps to lead a fulfilling life and to develop extreme skills in the kitchen. I cannot wait for when we see each other next and watch late-night world cup matches, pick the poziomiki – translated to strawberries in English – from her garden and run to grab the clean laundry from the clotheslines when it starts to rain.

    Casey Daly, staff writer

    I hope that my mother doesn’t forget to take care of herself. Not only is she an empowering woman, but she is simply a good person at her core. She is one of the world’s top appreciators of simplicity, always happy with a night on the couch, a walk backdropped by a blue sky or a K-Cup of decaf after dinner. My hairdresser always asks me when she’s going to come into the salon because even though she’s a city judge she is still a woman and should care about her hair. Her makeup collection is a small compartment in a small drawer under the sink, the green-and-pink Great Lash and a natural palette of eyeshadow that will last her years. My mother is naturally beautiful. She’s got marathon-runner calves, she comes home from long days of work with her dark hair shining in place and silver eyeshadow over her green eyes. She worries often, but mostly about others. We are often baffled by what to get her for Christmas. She speaks to the dog like he’s a baby. I remember her on the verge of tears once in the airport because she thought the dog was mad we didn’t bring him on vacation. There is no doubt that my mother works hard; she is someone who has carefully achieved each and every step to her success and anchored it with hard work. She has taught me to be the best woman and person I can be. 

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    About the Contributor
    Carolina Garibay, buzz Editor
    Greetings! I'm Carolina, and I'm a junior studying journalism with minors in public relations, Spanish and psychology. I've been writing for buzz since my freshman year, and I'm so excited to be buzz editor and further explore all that the CU community has to offer. I love to write about cool people, music, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift, so if any of these interest you, drop me an email! Be sure to check out our radio show, "What's the buzz?" on WPGU 107.1! [email protected]
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