Surviving First Year

Students navigate Jayhawk Boulevard before the start of the school year. 


My worst nightmare in high school was bringing a guy home — solely for the fact that my mother is the most unpredictable loose cannon when she knows my own humiliation is at stake. She would tease me for hours until I’d start sweating at the palms.

My temper would begin to shorten, and I would be visibly irritated, all of which made her want to tease me more. As I am sure this goes for many others as well, I would let the fear of being embarrassed by something she could potentially say manifest itself into anger toward herIt is so easy to get caught up in thinking someone’s opinion of you could be skewed because of something your parents said in their presence. The thought is trivial, but when you’re young, everything seems like the end of the world. It’s not. People will like you. And if they don’t, they’re not worth your time.

I truly believe if your parents do not go out of their way to publicly mortify you out of the goodness in their hearts, they are doing you a disservice. Those moments and memories you wished you could forget will be the reasons you know how to laugh at yourself.

As the new school year commences, I reflect on the differences going into my freshman year and now heading in as a senior. I watch the uncertain but hopeful looks on newcomers' faces walking by and the fear-stricken looks from parents masked with smiles that trail just a few feet behind, trying not to hover.

When I moved into my dorm freshman year, my family went the whole nine yards moving me in, especially my mom. She wanted to decorate, chat with the new roommates (and anyone else we came into contact with), stock the mini-fridge and get more decorations. I remember getting snippy at times or answering shortly because I wanted to expedite the process, naively thinking that this time was all about me. But the reality is that it is not.

So, to the freshman, this time is about your parents letting you go for the first time and trusting you enough to do so. This is about them letting you go, hoping you don’t mess this up, but knowing you will at least a little.

You are not the only one starting a new chapter in your life. So, let them hang on to these moments with you while they can. Let them embarrass you in front of your friends. Let them run back into your dorm flailing the baby blanket you purposefully forgot at home, and let their unfiltered lips fly free.

There will come a day that you long for those moments with them whether you like it or not. 

Haley Czuma is a senior from Chicago studying English and dance.