Going to College
When I was pregnant with my first child I had tons of ideas of what a perfect Mom was. She would make sure there were warm cookies and dinner waiting for her children when they came home from school. I blame television and the fact that more often than not you want what you didn’t have when you were growing up.
Needless to say I am NOT that Mom, but I strive to be the best nurturer I can be. When they were little my fondest memory of them was when I would read to them. I cherish those memories because it is so rare now that I am able to do that (after homework, dinner, and getting clothes ready for school/work all of which have to happen in less than three hours before they have to go to bed). Now, they read mainly on their own, although we squeeze in a story at least three days a week.
As important as catching a bedtime story with my boys has become it pales in comparison to the importance of preparing them for college. No, I am not being an overachiever, I am a first-generation college graduate and I had no idea what I was doing when I was applying for college. This probably contributed to my making some very bad educational as well as personal choices. I didn’t apply for any scholarships even though I graduated high school with a 3.9 GPA and pretty high SAT and ACT scores.
This is why I am starting now by making sure my oldest son has good test taking skills (we practiced at home for his California State Exams). He knows to write clearly, color in the bubbles completely, and so on. My youngest is in kindergarten so we are only reinforcing reading and focusing in class. These are small steps but they are the initial steps and are very important for our children to be comfortable as they get older and are competing with children in private schools, those with private tutors, and so on.
My mom’s first language was Spanish so she could never help me with any of the above tasks. She didn’t read any of the books I like so we never discussed what I read. She was shy around other parents so she never came to my plays, mock trials, or science competitions. I was doing all of these things without her moral support and it was not easy. I took buses to all of the aforementioned events (or one my friends’ parents picked me up). I lived about 2 hours away from my school so I studied and did my homework on buses instead of a library or a desk.
I am not complaining over my childhood, I am describing it because I am sure there are countless of children that are living through similar situations. Although, with our current economy there are some children that are now facing deportation, homelessness, and a variety of other personal obstacles that will hinder their dreams of college/university.
Let’s focus on creating a society that values education. We need to take them to university tours when they are available. We can also go to our children’s school and speak to their academic advisors. Your children need your help. They need to see you taking an interest in their academic future. Once they see you take that stand it will become an automatic decision for them to go to college/university. If they see that you believe in them that is one less person they have to convince and they have your voice inside them telling them that THEY CAN every time society or one their peers is telling them that they can’t succeed or dream that big. They should all WANT to go to college; it should just be a matter of “What will I major in?” not “Why should I go?” Or even worse “I can’t afford to go”.
Education is something that nobody can take away from you. Our children can’t defend their roots, if they don’t know them. Our children can’t get better paying jobs, if they aren’t equipped with degrees. Your children won’t feel cultural pride, if you don’t feel pride in yourself. Begin by educating yourself so that you can pass it on to your children. EDÚCATE!