Have You Thanked Your Family Today?

By Barbara Hewitt

It was wonderful to see so many families on campus last weekend. Hopefully you had a chance to enjoy some time with yours and show them around your “home away from home.”

As I saw how many parents and other family members made the trek to Philadelphia (in miserable weather, I might add!) it made me reflect on how dedicated many Penn parents are and how many sacrifices they often make to send their sons and daughters to Penn. Of course, even with the terrific financial aid Penn is able to provide, the tuition bill itself presents a challenge for many families. However,  beyond the financial support, families provide so many other types of support on a daily basis (the moral support during a tough week with multiple tests or papers, the driving of students to and from campus on a regular basis, the willingness to fill out the long financial aid forms….the list could go on and on….).

Perhaps the most important thing our families often provide, however, is a deep conviction that education is important and that you, their son or daughter, deserve a college education and can indeed excel at an academically rigorous institution such as Penn. I think back to my own family background. My father was a New York State Trooper and my mom a homemaker.  Since neither attended college, they didn’t really understand the college application process or get terribly involved with the selection of which colleges to consider. (One of my fondest memories from high school is when they handed the keys to the car over to my twin sister and me for a week spent travelling around visiting numerous colleges on our own. It was great fun and a wonderful chance to navigate a small part of the world with no parental supervision.) Even though my parents didn’t provide very much guidance on where to go to college or what to study, they were tremendously supportive in always letting us know that college was definitely an option and that somehow they would find the way to send us if we wanted to go. With five children, all of whom went to college…and three who eventually obtained graduate degrees…this was no small feat. Their support and belief that we could do it launched us all into productive lives and careers, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Take a moment today to think about the many ways that your family has shaped and supported you in your career and academic goals….and then take another few minutes to make sure they know how much you appreciate it!

Author: Barbara Hewitt

Barbara Hewitt is the Executive Director of Career Services.