Advice from My Immigrant Parents

Here are some of the wisest things my parents taught me ⁠— of course, they said it with an accent so you’re going to have to use your imagination. Let me set the mood for you. You are sitting at a table with my Middle Eastern mother and father with some incense burning in the background. They tell you: 

1. It’s not who you know, it's what you know

  • Growing up, this was the exact opposite for my parents. It didn’t matter if you had a Ph.D. or a high school diploma — if you didn’t know someone who could get you to where you wanted to be, you would never get there. Education is important and my parents made sure my sisters and I knew this growing up. Knowledge is so valuable and it’s worth more than all the gold in the world. Choosing to invest in knowledge will benefit you and help you get to where you want to be without relying on anyone else. Don’t get me wrong — it’s great to network, but YOU have to make an effort to achieve your goals. Other people can’t do that for you.

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2. Don’t be ashamed of where you came from — never be afraid to be yourself

  • Embrace your culture! It's a part of your identity and you shouldn’t feel the need to hide it from anyone. Diversity is beautiful and if your friends think otherwise, get new ones! 

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3. Being a woman can’t limit your success

  • Women are amazing (just stating a fact we all know). We are seriously so powerful, and we have contributed so much to this world that the list is endless. Being a woman can’t limit your success because gender doesn’t define it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you are a “girl”. If they tell you anything remotely close to this, tell them to suck on a cactus and shove it up their — you get the idea.six women wearing white pants posing

 

4. Your money doesn’t make you

  • Sure, everyone wants to be wealthy, but at the end of the day money doesn’t define you. People are going to remember how you treat them and others, not how many fat stacks of Benjamins you had. I hate to break it to you, but we are all going to die one day. You’re dying right now and you’re not bringing your bank account with you to your grave, so be a decent person! pink pig figurine on white surface

 

5. It’s okay to fail, just as long as you don’t stop there. 

  • Failure was my second greatest fear growing up, with the first being dogs (I think that’s a Middle Eastern thing?). It’s no secret that immigrant parents love their A's, and mine were no exception. It wasn’t until I got my first C on an exam that my parents were like, “Okay, that’s fine. It happens.”  I waited 17 years to hear them say this and they’re right: it's okay to get a C, a D, or an F because they all get degrees — just as long as you don’t stop there. It’s okay to mess up and bomb a test or 10 as long as you’re resilient and try harder next time. 

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 I hope you found these pieces of advice to be helpful. (: 

 

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