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Parents not ready for independent future

By Madisen William, staff writer
On February 27, 2014

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There is a lot of pressure being the first one in the family to get accepted into a four-year university.
But it seems especially hard when you are a first generation American.
There is a higher demand for us to continue our education in order to avoid a life of struggle like our parents knew back home.
There is a need for us to have that title under our belts so our families can gloat about it to others.
We even spend years in school doing something we have no interest in just to please our parents in hopes of earning a sustainable life.
It was inevitable that I was going to go on to a university after spending four long years at Contra Costa College.
However, my father and grandparents, who grew up in Pakistan where women do not stray far from home, have had a difficult time grasping onto such a concept.
Breaking the news to my father that I have the opportunity to attend Cal State- Long Beach has been a year-long process.
Although he is Americanized, he still holds on to many traditional values from his homeland.
The process has included countless hours of discussing financial needs, housing, transportation and safety.
All of these are normal conversations among families who are expecting their children to leave the nest.
What is not so normal is having your parents try to convince you to stay home or their spouse to move to the area of your college or university, or even just trying to make you feel guilty for leaving them.
All of this has happened in my situation.
I have continually told my father that it is time to cut the umbilical cord and let me learn what it is like to be independent, although it might be tough on both of us.
As his only daughter, that is easier said than done. The same goes for my grandparents.
If it were not for my birth, they would have moved back to Pakistan, where, let's be honest, the situation is far from great.
In my father's culture, daughters do not usually leave home at such a young age unless they are married or have a trustworthy male there to protect them. I have neither.
I guess the problem is that they have had 22 years to prepare for this moment.
In those years they have not only been inattentive to my dreams of moving to Southern California, but neglected to realize that it was going to be a reality someday.
I keep reminding both sides of my family that Long Beach is only a seven-hour drive away from home and that it is easier for me to visit them than if I were away in a different state. But it has still been tough on them.
With time hopefully they will adapt to this situation I have chosen for myself.
Don't get me wrong, my family is proud of all that I have accomplished with school and my life.
However, they want their only daughter to be safe and close to home so nothing bad will happen to me.
Leaving the nest only means that I can look forward to nightly FaceTime calls and Skype sessions.
Eventually monthly visits from my dad once I leave this summer.
As time is dwindling down, I am finding it harder and harder to explain and deal with my parents' and grandparents' feelings.
Nevertheless, I am sure with a little time and convincing, they will eventually come to terms with this new venture in my life. 


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