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Between the Lines: In college, it's too easy to take parents for granted

I don’t know about you all, but I think of my parents a lot. I think of them when I’m sitting in lectures or taking exams or even just eating a meal in the dining hall.

I never realized how much I loved my parents until a couple nights ago. During those nights when I am trying to stay afloat in classes or writing articles or even just trying to maintain a little inch of my sanity … I remember my mom and dad.

My parents arrived in the U.S. from South Korea about 24 years ago. When I was younger, I never really saw any struggles that they had to go through to make a living for my brother and I. I was blind to what exactly they sacrificed every day.

My mom and dad own two businesses: a beauty supply store and a dollar store. They work 10 hours a day for six days a week. I never really realized how tired they were until I called my mom a couple days ago and she tried to hide the exhaustion with a cheery “I love you!”

My heart started to ache and I wanted to go home right then and there to snuggle with my mom, to crack jokes with my dad and to spend time with my brother who I never really got close to until I left for college.

I think of all the years my parents worked endlessly to keep up with rent while trying to make life at home as comfortable as possible. I remember griping and groaning about how tired I was to my mom over the phone and she’d listen and console me sympathetically.

How selfish am I? How horrible of a daughter am I to a woman who slaves away in a store dealing with rude customers and moving boxes all day?

I remember that Regina Brett, a columnist for The Plain Dealer, had written a book arguing that we take for granted the things we say we “have” to do, but

that we should say we “get” to do.

How many times have we said “I have to go to class” or “I have to study for this exam” or “I have to get that internship?” Going with what Brett said, what if we changed those sentences to “I get to go to class” or I “get to go to college?”

Because of my parents, I get to go to college and I get to write for The Post and I even get to walk up Morton Hill.

Keep this question in mind: Why are we here if we “have to”? You don’t have to be. Don’t waste something that someone who loves you worked for. Probably the things that make us so exhausted or tired are nothing in comparison to the labor our loved ones do for us. I’m guilty too, guys.

Hannah Yang is a reporter for   The Post. Email her at

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