That was the simple request my parents had for me my entire life. Not get a job. Not get married. Not move out.
Just finish college.
Specifically a four year college.
Which meant to me, my selfish me, another 4 years stuck with my parents.
In brief, I grew up in a very strict household. And as time went by, I became okay with the thought of college. Because college meant dorms. Because in a way, I was free.
I took unconventional classes. Never really declared a major. Joined a sorority. And long story short, dropped out after a year.
Because I didn't learn a thing. Literally passed my classes with luck. But didn't want to take the financial burden of continuing something I saw absolutely no value in.
Because living in the dorms didn't meant I was free from my parents.
And I hated it.
Sure, my parents were disappointed. But I made it up to them by finding a good job.
I then gave school another try a year later. My parents constantly nagged me to go back. So, I tried nursing school. (A vocational nursing school.) And finished.
But heart was still not in it. I didn't even walk during the graduation ceremony. Nor did I pursue a career.
My parents were really disappointed this time.
It hurt them so much that they couldn't attend a graduation ceremony. Which led to a heart-to-heart that very day. And that's when I finally had my A-HA moment. I learned...
College was the only thing my parents had. The only thing worth value as an immigrant in this country.
I learned that my parents only wanted that for me, because that's the only thing they knew.
That day we met half way. And I promised them that I would one day give it a try. For myself. On my time.
When I met my husband, his parents asked me about school. I wasn't embarrassed of my past so I told them exactly how I felt. That it wasn't for me.
My mother-in-law then told me something that I will never forget- "College isn't really to learn anything specific. It's really meant to teach someone discipline."
Another A-HA moment. I never looked at college that way.
And a funny thing happens when another person gives you a neat perspective on your situation- you start to see the good in it.
Two years ago, I randomly started to dabble in some online college courses. With my own money and not my parents or financial aid. And after many years, I finally enrolled myself in a four year college. Declaring a major I know I would succeed in. I didn't take any aptitude or character tests. I didn't research into what field of study pays the best. And I definitely didn't start with my friends because they all had either graduated or never gone.
I based my choice of major simply in what I knew was best for me.
I set a goal for myself. To finally graduate from a four year college before I'm 30. And I'm proud to say that I'm 29 now and a senior.
I'm doing it now because I know I can. Because I know I have the discipline to succeed. Because I realize that I have a great support system. Because I have Michael and want him to finish college too. Because I do want to make my parents proud.
But most importantly, because I want to.
Sure, it is hard. And there are some days that I wish I had done this sooner. Your brain isn't as quick as when you're straight out of high school. Sometimes family time takes precedence over study time.
But I'm doing it. And I couldn't be more proud of myself.