Christine Rice MBA '23 and her mother, Josie Rice
After a long day of classes on a brisk and chilly afternoon, I got home from school and scoured our home mailbox, spotting the letter that would completely change my life. Arriving in a white pack with the school logo on the upper left-hand side, the material was dense, as if it had multiple pieces of paper inside. My heart began to race as I ran inside to find you, the moment had arrived. So many questions and thoughts ran through my head- there was only one way to find out. I stood at the kitchen table alongside you as I opened the acceptance letter.
As soon as I saw the Congratulations in a bolded font on the first line, we both began to cry- this is what my grandmother, my mother, and ultimately I always worked for. From humble beginnings coming to the United States and working our way up into homeownership and entrepreneurial endeavors, I always knew that I would be the first person in my family to go to college and earn a Bachelor’s degree. Without you, this wouldn’t have been possible. I was incredibly excited for the next 4 years.
Moving to a new city that was 3 hours away from home, I transitioned into university life. From freshman move-in to Homecoming Weekend, despite the distance, you were always there for me in ways that I couldn’t even comprehend.
Many difficulties arose as I began my battle with an autoimmune disorder that affects the very way that I lived my life. Throughout it all, you would advocate for me, call me every day to check on how I am doing, often drive up every weekend to see me and take me out to eat at my favorite place. In the moments when I didn’t have the strength to continue on my path, you encouraged and supported me to get through some of the toughest moments of my life.
I finally made it to the finish line to earning my Bachelor’s Degree with Summa Cum Laude honors amidst a global pandemic. I did it! I became a first-generation college graduate.
As I walked across the stage and shook the hand of the Dean and University President, I turned to my left to see my Mom in the audience. Through it all, my Mom was there, once again, cheering me on for this momentous achievement. I felt so grateful. From all the things that I went through in order to get to this moment, I wouldn’t have been able to do so without my amazing Mom.
Looking back at my 17-year-old self, I would tell myself that my life journey hasn’t always been easy and that I can lean on my family and university for support. There are so many people who want to see you succeed, especially, in my case, my Mom.
The simplest way to summarize it is: Thank you Mom for everything.