This is the end of an era for your parents, too

By Kyra Sadovi, Assistant Opinions Editor

When I arrived at Wassaja Hall in August 2017, I had just about had it with my family. After a three-hour-long car ride in my family’s minivan, crammed between my siblings, a bike and not a few suitcases of clothes, I was ready to run into my dorm without a single glance thrown over my shoulder. The summer had been long. I felt ready to live my own independent life, parents be damned. Underneath all of that teenage angst and frustration, though, was the reality facing me as I stepped into the Ikenberry Commons for the first time: I was frighteningly alone.

Tensions always run high on move-in day. Everyone is trying to go somewhere and somehow manages to be an inconvenience to every other person trying to walk through the suddenly too-small dorm lobby. As a freshman, I was very self-conscious. I walked the halls on that first day trying to look cool but open so as to attract friends. I wanted to seem erudite but not disparaging. Attractive, but not superficial (yes, I see the irony now). I tried to preserve this balancing act, a feat that would make Cirque du Soleil proud, as far away from my parents as possible.

That was my mistake: an inevitable one, but an error nonetheless. As a freshman, it’s hard to escape the ever-present weight of what feels like everyone’s eyes scrutinizing your movements and choices. That pressure is what made me feel the need to buck my comforting support system, my family, and strike out on my own so early in the day.

Don’t let that pressure get to you.

One of the most important lessons learned during one’s undergrad years is how to be comfortable in your own skin. The process of learning how to do that is grueling, and often painful. It can blind you to reality at times: You don’t see the most important people in your life anymore because you see the new life ahead of you. It’s easy to allow that first day to overwhelm you with the infinite feelings, looks and words said. Instead of pushing forward, pause and take a look around you.

See your siblings stare in wide-eyed bewilderment as they realize that their older sister is really leaving. Watch your parents when they turn their attention with laser-like focus to straightening that poster just so, choking back tears. These are the people who have watched you grow, fail and succeed. They are the ones who stood by with pride in their eyes as you walked across the stage of your high school auditorium to receive your diploma. They may drive you insane, but they deserve a moment of gratitude as they cope with your looming absence.

During the hustle and bustle of move-in week as you stare your future in the face and take the first step forward on the path to the rest of your life, take a moment to pause and look behind you. Give your parents that much-needed hug, and be patient. Think of all of the unconditional support they’ve shown you — it’s time to return the favor.

Kyra is a sophomore in LAS.

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