A Letter to My Dad: Post Grad

Dear Dad,

I did it! I graduated from college! As this day approached, I have had a plethora of emotions, both negative and positive. Lately, I have been throwing fits about different aspects of my life — my friends, my family, my education, my future, etc. While you were battling cancer, one of your biggest concerns was my future… you told everyone that, and not because you were worried I wasn’t going to be successful, but because you knew you were my person. You made it very clear that you wanted your circle of family and friends to take care of me and look over me. I get it — all you knew dying was that I was going to college for the next 4 years or so. Every time I think about my graduation ceremony, I immediately tear up because I wish you were going to be there. During the times I am supposed to be the happiest, I always miss you the most.

I know you immigrated from India to this country with nothing in your pockets when you were my age so you could give your daughters a better life and a priceless education. In these last four years without you, I accomplished a lot. I failed a lot too. But, I’m almost more proud of my failures. I joined a sorority and served on the leadership board for it. I studied abroad in Paris, and it was the best investment I ever made in myself! I ate a lot of bread, drank a lot of wine, and walked everywhere in the city. I went to India a few times — almost to look for you, but I found myself. I volunteered countless hours to the cancer community and Camp Kesem and also served on the leadership board for them. I had a minimum wage making job throughout college to pay for my coffee and shoe addiction. I didn’t start off college with the best GPA, but I only improved and even made it on the dean’s honor list a few times. I had some internships in the finance industry and now I’m officially entering as an analyst at BlackRock!!! I met my goal of getting a competitive and intelligent job after college six months before graduating! I did a lot. I missed you a lot. I still miss you a lot. I cried a lot. I laughed a lot. I loved a lot. I hated a lot. I fell down. I made mistakes. I got back up. I fell some more. I grew and I did it. I thought I couldn’t do it without you. All the decisions I had to make, all the struggles I had to overcome, all the boys I had to let go of… I wanted to call you so badly. I wanted to ask you your opinion on what classes I should take. I wanted you to help me with my job applications and prepare me for the rigorous interviews. I wanted you to meet my boyfriends. I wanted to cry to you about the boys that broke my heart. I wanted you to see me go off to college. I wanted you to see me graduate. But, I still did it. I did it, Dad and I hope I’m making you proud.

Endless love,

Your Lulu

Congrats to all the 2017 graduates!

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Internal Locus of Control vs. External Locus of Control

Internal Locus of Control- Internal Locus of Control means if something happens in your life you feel like you can change the situation or influence it. You feel like you have more control over the hardships in your life. For example, if your parent was diagnosed with cancer you would take them to chemotherapies, be positive around them, and do research on cancer (exactly what I did.)

External Locus of Control- External Locus of Control basically means you feel like whatever has happened in your life has happened because of your fate or destiny. You feel like there is nothing you can do about it. So if your parent was diagnosed with cancer, you feel like this is your destiny and that your life is going to suck now and you cannot do a single thing about it.

Remember, if your parent has cancer you are not the only one going through it. There are millions of kids who have been in your shoes (myself included). Your family is also experiencing the same struggles you are. Some cases might be worse, some might be better but there will always be someone in your proximity to understand your pain and struggles. I suggest taking advantage of those who truly understand how hard this is and showing your support to those in a similar situation. If you know someone at your school with a parent who has cancer that you rarely talk to, try reaching out to them and discuss your problems and offer them your support. I have done this many times and it’s definitely paid off. I know some people may be shy or some just don’t like sharing their parents diagnosis/prognosis, but it never hurts to try!

If you feel like your life sucks and you cannot go any further in life because your parent’s cancer feels like a barricade, you are mistaken. Don’t get me wrong, I felt like that for a very long time. Sometimes I still feel like that. Thoughts of what could’ve been cross my mind all the time. Life is unfair and hard at times. But remember what you go through will make you a stronger person after the obstacles of cancer. Try not to think about the past so much or what could’ve been. Focus on the present and future. If you are unhappy with something in, change it. You control your life and your happiness.

Kids who Have a Parent with Cancer

As a parent, one of the hardest things to do is tell your kids you have cancer. No parent would ever anticipate this coming…who would think about something so scary in their spare time; “Hey. if I get cancer one day, how would I tell my beloved kids?” A parent can’t wait too long to tell their kids something is wrong, no matter what age, kids pick up on things like this quickly.

I vividly remember the day my dad told me he had cancer. It was May 22, 2011. I thought it was going to be a regular day with Sunday brunch, study sessions, and movies with my family but then one word changed my whole life: cancer. Feelings of fear and uncertainty began to overshadow my dreams and aspirations in my academic and personal life. I then had so many thoughts and questions running through my mind.

Who’s my dad’s doctor? Is he a good doctor? Where did he go to school? Is the doctor even a ‘he’? What stage is the cancer? Where exactly is it? Am I going to be able live my life normally? Is my academic life going to be jeopardized? When does the chemotherapy start?

and the scariest of them all

Am I going to be okay? Are my mom and sister going to be okay? Is my own father [the man who taught me how to talk, walk, swim, bike, tie a shoelace, play guitar, solve physics and calculus problems; the man who taught me the meaning of life], going to be okay?

At times, we forget that the “C word” is hard for everybody in the family- not just the patient, not just the spouse, not just the older sibling, not just the younger sibling, but every single person. No matter what kind of cancer or what stage the cancer has progressed to, it is one of the scariest diseases for all countries across the globe.

As a kid, one of the hardest things to do is hear that your parent has cancer and you cannot do a single thing about it. At least in my case as a high school student I couldn’t cure my dad, no matter how many things I tried. I felt so helpless. However, as much as I could have done, I did with no doubt in my mind. Everything from finding healthy diets to learning how to use an oxygen tank required 200% of my energy and every inch of hope I had.