Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

The Journey Begins

As a first generation student, I have always been torn between feeling forced into independence yet feeling like I desperately need guidance. Yet, there I was signing contracts, booking flights, and packing to get ready for six months in London—a place where I would have to fend for myself. At first I was really excited for the journey. I knew it would be challenging but I also knew it would help me grow and give me the time and space to grow as a person. Well, I begin to reevaluate everything as I pack up my belongings from college and can’t help but feel anxious. Everyone else finishes finals and just leaves with a warm, “see you in a month.” Yet, I have to empty out everything and wouldn’t see any of them for close to 8 months. As I drove away I began to accept it. I convinced myself it would be fine. I had a friend from school going with me so I wouldn’t be alone. The excitement continued. A few days before I fly, my mom tells me a story about her childhood. She tells me of her humble upbringing and of the immense poverty she never actually noticed. She confessed to me that she never knew she was poor. That being the youngest of 8 children she was always protected. Only until she heard the stories and saw pictures of herself did she realize just how poor she was. So with tears in her eyes she told me she wishes she could’ve given me a better life. That she wishes she could shield me from all the pain of the world. Well what mother wouldn’t? Yet, I had never stopped to think of all the sacrifices and hardships she had undergone simply to survive and the many more for me to be where I am. Never realized that for so many years my mom has genuinely believed she had let me down. Well, as I got on the plane I realized something. As a first generation student I have felt alone and unequipped for most of my academic career, and at that moment I realized that I had never been alone. For every accomplishment I achieved or every shortcoming I faced my parents have been there to love me and support me. The truth is what my parents could not give me in academic support they gave me in moral support. So much so that I was oblivious all these years. I know I must sound like a privileged, spoiled, and frankly inconsiderate brat. And you’d be right. As the plane took off I realized that for once in my life I felt like I understood my place. I finally accepted who I was, who my family was, and how they shaped the person I am. So, I arrive to London with a mission to further understand the parts of my identity I so naively neglected. As cliché as it is I have to say that this journey has changed my life forever and it’s only just begun. I urge you all to learn more about your heritage, challenge what it means to be alone, and to turn to your mothers and thank them for everything they’ve done for us. So in summary, I was anxious and nervous yet excited about this trip. Like anyone would be. And in all that emotional mess I managed to find parts of myself and of my parents that have shown me how blessed I am. I am excited for the rest of the journey and what it has in store for me. Thank you for your time and stay tuned for my next entry about how I’ve adapted to the city. I promise it’ll be a lighter read

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