Family vs. School

29 Mar

861545_4661038719388_1340304047_nAs a first generation student, coming to college was a new and scary experience. I really didn’t know what to expect and how everything worked. My mother always wanted me to attend a traditional four year college since none of my family members even graduated high school. So it was a big deal not only for me, but for my entire family. I graduated high school and was on my way to become a WILDCAT! At first, everything seemed to be going perfectly; my family was super supportive and were extremely happy for me. Let’s just say it didn’t stay perfect for long. I decided to major in American History my freshman year with a minor in Middle Eastern and North African Studies. I have always loved learning about Middle Eastern history so as soon as I took a few classes I LOVED the subject. The third week of my Freshmen year I decided to CHANGE MY MAJOR – YAY!!!

I was excited to continue my new Middle Eastern History Major with a minor in History and Turkish. I was ready to go and excited for the future, but my mother was not as thrilled as I was. Changing my major was huge scandal in my family. Coming from a Hispanic background my family didn’t understand why I would choose such a radical and unusual  major. My extended family asked me questions about my major and seemed to warm up with the idea of my new career path. My mother on the other hand was still not to thrilled with the new career path I chose. Her concerns for me were normal concerns about  job opportunities and how much money I would be making with a degree in Middle Eastern History. I tried to explain to my mother that it wasn’t about the money, it was about doing something I loved. I really had to make sure I did my research about my future career, and made sure it was a decision I wouldn’t regret. It definitely wasn’t  an easy process to go through as a freshman, but I learned so much about my family dynamic my freshman year.

My family and I still go through rough patches, but we have learned so much from one another. I learned that your parents’ opinion about your future career is extremely important. You want to make them proud and have their support 100% of the time. But I have also learned that ultimately it’s your future, and it will be something that will always be a part of you. Take advantage of your resources on campus talk to your academic advisors, professors, mentors, and learn more about what you want to do and how you can do it. Follow your heart, and keep your family close to you!

I have a few tips on how to handle family and school at the same time.

Tip #1: Schedule in family time

Whether your family is here in Tucson or in another state, make family time. This makes your family know that you care about them and want to spend time with them. I know that feeling when all you want to do is go hang out with friends, but little moments like these count.

Tip #2: Talk to your family about school 

I know that when I talk more with my mom about my career goals or even just talking to her about school she seems to understand how much I love what I’m doing. This works wonders with my mother and me. Maybe it will with your family.

Tip#3: Keep in contact with your parents about important issues

 We all have those moments when we get extremely busy, and have no time to blink, breathe, or eat. BUT just one little phone call can brighten up your day or your family’s day. This lets your parents or loved ones know you still care about them even if you have a busy college life. It’s the thought that counts! It’s also important to keep them updated with important information.

Tip #4: Don’t let family feuds ruin your day

If by any chance you get in a little or big feud with family or love ones the best thing is to shake it off. Don’t let it ruin your day! I usually found it helpful to talk it out with my advisor (she and I are super close) or my fellow peers at work. Letting it out makes you less worried about what just happened, and helps you get through the day.

I can go on and on about how to keep family and school balanced, but in reality it takes work. As I said before, keep your family close, but do what you love. There are so many opportunities ahead of us, but also lots of hardship. Remember to always walk with your head up high, and BEAR DOWN WILDCATS!


2 Responses to “Family vs. School”


  1. Didn’t Know Who To Turn To. | Student Affairs Outreach - April 3, 2013

    […] week I talked about how I balance family vs. school, and the struggles I had as a first generation student. It was definitely tough my freshmen year, […]

  2. Study Diagnosis: What Tips Are Best for You? | Student Affairs Outreach - April 10, 2013

    […] Family vs. School […]

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