By Guest Blogger Elizabeth Levstek
When I was younger, I always thought that the idea of having your mom as your best friend would be impossible. Now that I am a Senior in college I can’t imagine what my college career path, friendships, or all of the adventures that I have embarked on in the last couple years would have been like if it weren’t for the relationship that I have with my parents and my mother especially. I hope my blog today will encourage the moms reading to continue to foster a relationship with your daughters, but be patient if it doesn’t happen immediately. Hopefully my story will give you inspiration!
Growing up, my Mom and I weren’t always close. We all know growing up as a girl is not easy by any means, but Mom was there every step of the way. From the age of 4 , she carted me around to all of my soccer games, tournaments, camps, practices and was my biggest support system and role model. We weren’t super close through my high school years, but we were a lot closer than most moms and their daughters. To this day, my best friends will go over to my house (even when I’m away at school) and visit with my Mom because she was a second mom to them. I was raised with the same caring and giving nature and I couldn’t be more thankful for that because it has raised me into the person that I am today
Our relationship wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows, though. In my transition from high school to college, I struggled more than I thought I would. Growing up, I was always ahead of my years and very independent but always managed to talk to my mom and dad on a daily basis (living at home, why wouldn’t I?) When my time came to head off to UNCG, I knew that I would be just fine. I was rooming with my first cousin and knew that I could handle taking care of myself and be on my own without missing home (too much anyways).
As the first couple of weeks went by, I realized the whole college thing was just what I expected it to be. I was adjusting and doing very well in all of my classes, making friends, working out, and joining clubs and organizations on campus. What I didn’t know was that I was torn between being fully capable of being independent and keeping in contact with my parents. I wasn’t calling home as much, and for me that definitely was not normal. My parents knew that I was okay and just enjoying my college experience. This period of my life continued until the end of my first semester/beginning of my second semester. I started to have difficulty in my classes and started to get sick every other week. I always had a strong immune system growing up and hardly ever got sick. I went in for a normal check-up and failed a hearing test and that’s really when my journey began. I was sent to an ENT and Audiologist for supplemental testing. After thorough testing, they still couldn’t figure out what was wrong. They placed me on a high dose of Prednisone for 5 months and sent me for blood tests every other week to send off for testing. Carrying 17 credit hours as a freshman Pre-Nursing Major and going through the testing and most importantly the side effects of the Prednisone definitely was not easy. My parents stood by me at every appointment, checked in on me weekly, and were there for me anytime I needed to vent. Taking Prednisone at a high dose causes weight gain, irritability, loss of focus and patience, and fatigue.
After surpassing those complications, I ventured into the Kinesiology department which is taught through a more applicable setting to the real world and works well with my visual and hands-on learning style. My parents were very supportive of the change of major and encouraged me to seek out other options. In fact, most college students go to school majoring in one thing and end up graduating with another after 1, 2, 3, or even more major changes. Throughout college, you develop into so much more than an adult. Looking back on my 4 years at UNC-Greensboro, I am not even close to the person I was when I started. While my overall personality and perspective on life has stayed the same, I’ve realized the true meaning of friendship, understood qualities that I find most important in a significant other, have learned to deal with adversity, and most importantly, how to manage finances and balance out school with my personal and social lives, jobs, and extracurricular activities. Every experience in college (and even in high school), is an addition to your story and truly makes you the person that you are today.
The end to my second year of college, when my mom and her business partners decided to open up their own boutique, was really when our relationship started to blossom into the best friend relationship that it is today. Growing up, I was never really “girly.” I wore athletic shorts and t-shirts every day, and honestly, to this day I’m still doing the same thing most days. It was a rare occasion to see me dressed up or see me with makeup on. When mom decided to open the boutique, it was a whole new experience for our family. In the works of the opening, it became a daily routine to call mom and tell her to check her Pinterest for pins that I sent her of clothing, jewelry, and styles that I hoped to see at the grand opening. Although I am working towards a medical profession, I have been involved with the boutique for the past two years, and it has been an incredible experience working in retail and for my mom. While working for the boutique wasn’t the original plan, an agreement was made that while I am at work I am an employee, not her daughter. It has brought our relationship so much closer being able to work together a couple Saturdays a month and hear feedback from clients about how awesome it is that we work together have such a close relationship. This past weekend, I was able to travel with them on business to the Atlanta Mart and see the ins and outs of purchasing.
I am currently carrying 21 credit hours, applying to ABSN programs, working 3 part-time jobs, and managing a social life and my Mom has been nothing but supportive of me through every aspect. There’s not a day that goes by where I’m not talking to my Mom on the phone or sending her texts on how my day and classes are going. She is my biggest cheerleader to this day, but also my best friend. I am so thankful to have such a close relationship with her and can’t wait to see our relationship blossom even more as the years go by.
Liz grew up in Winston-Salem and attended R.J. Reynolds High School. She is currently a Senior at UNC-Greensboro Majoring in Kinesiology with a concentration in Cardiac Rehabilitation and a Minor in Spanish. She will be graduating this May and is currently in the process of applying to accelerated Nursing Programs (ABSN).
We are tremendously grateful to Liz for giving us a college student’s perspective today and hope those of you with teen girls can take her words to heart!