FUCHS: College students should not overlook necessity of healthy relationship with parents

When I started college, I wanted nothing more than to get out of my house. I wanted to explore the world and be independent of my parents. I had this depressing and unrealistic dream of being an independent woman on my own, without needing any help from my family.

I chose to start my college career out of state, at a very small school approximately 3 hours from my home. I counted down the days, hours and minutes until I was able to leave. I planned on spending as much time as humanly possible at that school. 

In the very beginning, I even began to shut out my family and hoped that they would not want to come to visit me. Things began to go downhill when I was in the middle of my first year, and I was beginning to struggle with being away from home.

I did not struggle in the sense that I could not figure out how to feed myself or do my own laundry. I struggled with being homesick and feeling unloved and alone in the place I was in. I started to miss home to the point where it became crippling, but I was stubborn and wanted to live up to my goal of being independent. 

Eventually, I ended up transferring to Rutgers and spending more time at home. It is not a secret that my junior year was completely online due to the pandemic, which allowed me to live at home while taking my classes. In fact, I barely ever left my house junior year as I pretty much only needed to leave my house to go to my part-time job a few times a week. I grew closer to my family, more so than I had ever been before, and enjoyed their company more than anything else. 

One thing I have realized is that people often do not appreciate their parents enough while they are in college. I have met a lot of other people who had that same desire to leave the nest and be their own person the second they got to college. Parents often get underappreciated and in some cases are rarely visited by students during the school year.

It is, unfortunately, true that many people have toxic homelives which may cause resentment. But there are plenty of people who I have met at school who take their parents for granted. I have met people whose parents send them money on a daily basis, people whose parents completely finance their education and so much more.

To have parents who are willing and able to support their children in any way is a blessing. It does not have to be financial support — emotional support goes just as far, if not further. It is important to realize what you have and be grateful for it. Parents do a lot for us and oftentimes work tirelessly to provide.

I am more than grateful for my parents and am proud of everything they have accomplished in their lives. I am glad that I eventually got over the first-year mood of wanting to distance myself from them. Other than realizing how much I need to thank my parents for, I learned another valuable lesson since being in college.

Being independent does not mean not accepting help from others or welcoming others into your life. My parents have supported me through all of my decisions and phases of life. It took me a while to let go of my stubborn attitude and accept the fact that being independent is not the same as being alone.

I would not have been able to get to this point without the help of my parents who never stopped supporting me. Even when I did not want it, they continued to help me out and showed me that being independent does not equate to being completely alone. I am incredibly grateful for my parents and everything they have done for me and my brother.

Even if you are not close with your parents or do not have a good relationship with them, it is essential to understand how important loved ones are in general. They support us in our victories and in our darkest moments.

Julia Fuchs is a graduate student in the art history department studying Cultural Heritage and Preservation. Her column, “Questioning Jules,” runs on alternate Thursdays.

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