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The Ways My Dad Showed Up for Me in College

Anne Maytubby

As Father’s Day approaches, I've found myself overwhelmingly thankful for the ways my dad was there for me throughout my time at college.

Last month I graduated from the University of San Diego and I was lucky to have my whole family celebrating alongside me for the week leading up to the ceremony. It’s a time I'll never forget, and was full of many reminders of how grateful I am to both my parents for the ways they supported me over the past four years.

My dad and I have always been close, though not in the same way I am with my mom. During my first year of college, my mom was the one I called to cry to and update on every single second of my day. The phone calls with my dad were less frequent, and much simpler. I'd give him the highlights, he'd ask about my classes, and I'd call him again a couple weeks later.

Looking back, I appreciate the simplicity of my relationship with my dad. Calls with him always felt like a break for my brain — he's easy to talk to, makes me laugh often, and is consistently excited to hear about whatever is going on in my life.

I could also always count on him to answer the phone, regardless of what he was doing. As I went through so much transition starting college, I could always count on my dad to be consistent, a great listener, and a taste of home when I most needed it.

I also have great memories of when my dad would visit me in San Diego. Freshman year he came for Parents Weekend, showing up at a point when I was homesick and anxious to see my family. Similar to our phone calls, spending one-on-one time with my dad is also wonderfully simple — we ate lots of good food, went on countless walks, and laughed a ton. And we still reminisce about the iconic ocean kayaking experience we had together.

My junior and senior years, my dad was sent to help me move out of my college housing. I’m known to be disorganized when it comes to packing and, while I’m sure it would be frustrating for most to pack up a college home with their dysfunctional daughter, my dad tackled the task with efficiency and, most importantly, patience. In these moments I was reminded that, no matter how messy my life gets, my dad will always be there to help me through it. He always shows up for me, and this became even more apparent to me after I left for college and the times spent together became so much more meaningful.

As I got further into college and closer to having to start a career, my relationship with my dad shifted. I began to turn to him more with my stresses about not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I majored in Environmental and Ocean Sciences, a subject I'd always loved. However, there was a period where I felt that there was no certain career path for me post graduation, and that maybe I should change my major to something more "functional."

I remember when I told my dad this, he immediately stopped me and encouraged me that pursuing my passion is more important than worrying about making money or having the "best" job. He told me stories about his own life and the decisions he made when starting his career, and assured me that, as long as I go after the things I love, everything else will fall into place.

I'll never forget these conversations, and without them I don’t know that I would have stayed on my path to get a degree in what I care most about. Growing up has meant getting to have adult conversations with my dad while still maintaining the joking relationship that I grew up with, which has been so special to me.

Going to college reminded me that I'm lucky to have a father who was and still is present in all aspects of my life. I've met students who have lost a parent or who have complicated relationships with their father, and every day I'm thankful that I can call my dad at any moment and he will answer.

Role models come in all forms, and for me one of my greatest is my dad. Not all people my age can say the same, and I recognize that Father’s Day likely isn’t easy in that case. So, to my dad, thank you for being there for our family in all ways. I am so grateful for how you raised me and wouldn’t be who I am today without you.

I love you. Happy Father’s Day!

Anne is a recent graduate from the University of San Diego with a degree in Environmental and Ocean Sciences. Outside of work, she loves to travel, hike, attend concerts, and spend time with close friends (and her dog Max).
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