Like Mother, Like Daughter

One of seven children, living in the projects, alcoholic father, desperately poor, sixth grade dropout. Yes, that was my mother's story, the story of her childhood anyway. She was determined not to let that be the story of her whole life.

Earning a college degree became her goal: the ever-present but elusive dream! Finally, nearing forty and with three children, she enrolled at Lehman. And she sure was enthusiastic. She loved Lehman! She rocked her Lehman hoodie like it was going out of style. Dinner table conversations were about her genius professors, the unbelievable library and even the brilliant colors of the campus trees in fall.

Mom earned her BA in Psychology in 1993. I dropped out of college in 1998. She was disappointed but tried to hide it. Over the years, she would gently encourage me to return to school. “Why not try Lehman?” she would ask. I would brush her off and change the topic.

In 2005, mom died unexpectedly. Among her belongings, I found a journal in which she had written about my leaving school. She blamed herself. She thought that she was a bad role model because she had been a dropout. It was devastating to realize that she felt responsible for my bad decisions.

Fast forward to 2013 and I am now a Lehman student. My mom has no idea that her journal entry was partially true. She is my role model. Her example encouraged me to return to school and her enthusiasm about Lehman influenced my choice. She is responsible for me being here! So, as I walk around campus or do research in the library, I think of her. I’m going to rock my Lehman hoodie and smile all the way to commencement. Thanks Mom!

Topic: Student Life
First Name: L.
Last Name: Walsh
City: Bronx
State: NY

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