By Siqi Wang for The Daily Iowan 
Recently, I watched a friend’s parent arrive on campus to help him move from one apartment to another. The scene made me recall my former life with my own parents, my family, and my hometown, Xi’an, China.
It has been three years since I moved away from my home. Before I turned 18 years old, I never lived away from my family — my school was a mere five-minute drive from my home.
Every morning, my mom woke me up on time. After washing my face and brushing my teeth, I went to the kitchen, where my mom had already made a delicious breakfast for me: eggs, milk, and more. Then, my father took me to the school. After eight hours, my mom picked me up and prepared our dinner — typically different kinds of soups. My life was fairly simple at that time — but I was happy and satisfied.
Life has changed a lot since I graduated from high school and arrived at the university. Like so many other students around me, my mom and my dad are no longer the main components in my day-to-day life.
When I moved into the dorm, I suddenly found that I had to set the alarm for myself in the morning — otherwise I may not arrive on time for my class. I needed to go to the dormitory for food on time, otherwise I may miss my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I had to wash my clothes by myself, otherwise I would not have clean clothes to wear. All pretty typical for an average student — Chinese or otherwise.
But everything has two sides. Although I should, need, and have to face lots of different kinds of obstacles to get through this transition in moving to the United States and being an international student, I also learned a lot more nuanced lessons that I think will benefit me in the long run as well.
In my life today, I choose what I want, which may not be restrained by a parent. While admittedly my parents tend to offer me the proper advice most of the time, I need to make mistakes to help me learn. Certainly, I’ve made mistakes. And certainly, I’ve learned from them.
I may study hard all week long and play hard with my friends during the relaxing weekends. But I’ve learned that I need to sometimes sleep hard as well. And there are, obviously, other things … but let’s just say I feel that this whole experience has made me much stronger.
All in all, I love my life here in Iowa. I enjoy my independence, I try to stay positive and enjoy the beautiful environment around me.
Still remember Mahjong from last time? Play it at the Organization for the Active Support of International Students, and you will gain friendships with other international students such as me.