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Why My Grandmother Is Such A Huge Inspiration

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

Women’s History Month is all about celebrating and praising the achievements women have made and the obstacles they have overcome. In honor of that, I would like to talk about my grandmother, a woman who has lived a very fulfilling life despite the hardships she has faced. Through it all, she persisted, and I draw much of my strength from her courage and perseverance. 

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Beautiful photo of my Grandmother originally taken in the early 1970s.

My paternal grandmother, Mary Jane, had a difficult upbringing. Born and raised in rural Minnesota in the 1940s and 1950s, Mary Jane had seven other siblings. Her father was a farmer, and her mother was a homemaker. Her family was very poor. At some points, they struggled to have running water or electricity in the harsh Minnesota winters. Despite these misfortunes, Mary Jane made the most of her childhood enjoying hobbies such as bicycle riding, listening to the radio and obsessing over celebrities through movie magazines. 

When she was 15-years-old, her father sadly passed away, devastating Mary Jane. She was incredibly close to him before his untimely death. Because my grandmother was one of the older siblings, she had to help her mother care for her younger siblings when her father passed. At times, she had to make sure her younger siblings did their homework, bathed and had clean clothes to wear. From a young age, she had to develop a motherly-type of love that would come into play once she herself became a mother.

In 1976, after she married my grandfather and had children, she unfortunately suffered a brain aneurysm. She was only 33-years-old. As a result, my grandmother completely lost the ability to read and write. With the help of doctors and psychiatrists, it took her months to regain the capability to read and write again. At the time, she already had three children: my father, my aunt, and my uncle, all under the age of seven. 

To this day, my grandmother suffers when reading and writing at times. Though she still has her struggles, she is so inspirational to me. Despite everything that she has gone through, the aneurysm undoubtedly being the most onerous, she’s persisted. More than that, she has flourished while maintaining an abundance of pastimes including gardening, baking and playing Yahtzee. She is undoubtedly one of the sweetest and most caring people I know, and regardless of the pain she has experienced in her past, she still finds the strength to have an optimistic perspective on life. 

Grace Ulferts

Northeastern '25

Hello! I'm Grace I am a third-year Behavioral Neuroscience and Philosophy major. I'm originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is my second year being a part of Her Campus, and I absolutely love it! I love to write, and Her Campus is such a warm and welcoming community! :)