Earlier this week, I started my post-grad fellowship at ProPublica. An hour before I logged on for my first day, I got a call from my mom who was calling to wish me luck and give me the same advice on professionalism she’s given me since I got my first job at fifteen.
Because of the coronavirus, I’ll be working remotely for the foreseeable future, but as an essential worker, my mom doesn’t have that luxury. When she called me that morning, I had just rolled out of bed and was settling into the couch to start my workday. She was coming off the night shift at a nursing home. Before we hung up, she congratulated me again on the job and the degree that led up to it, and it was hard not to think about how I was starting down a career path very different from hers.
When I first started this newsletter, I got a lot of suggestions from first-gen students and grads about what they’d like to see me write about. One of the first came from Texas Public Radio reporter María Méndez, who brought up an aspect of the first-gen experience that I hadn’t yet given much thought: how we relate to our parents once college is over.