Do It for Them: "The Acey Shoe"

“What are your plans after graduation?” asks my professor.

“Well, I hope I get a job,” I chuckle.

“Have you considered getting your Master’s degree?”

I’m silent for a second. “I have…I really want to.”


I look down and insecurely respond, “I’m the first in my family to go to college, so I’ve had no guidance. And getting this far has been really hard. I’ve had to do this alone. What if I start my Master’s degree and don’t finish?”

She smiles and turns to look out her window. “You know, Fran, you aren’t the only one who’s been a first in the family.”

“I know,” I respond. “I think I’m just scared.”

She holds out my assignment for me to take, and says, “You wrote in here that your mother was the first in her family to come to the U.S. and that because of her courage, you and your sisters now have a better life than she did.”

I look at her and then look down. I know where she is going with the conversation.

“I’m sure she was also scared coming to a country where she knew no one,” she adds.

“Yes, she was…” I respond.

“But she did it for you.”

I suddenly feel a rush of energy. I’m holding back tears from forming in my eyes.

“Sometimes, others give us the courage to take the next steps. So, who’s going to be your motivation?”

I swallow back tears before responding. “My sisters...I’ll do it for them…”

When I look back at many of the choices I’ve made in life, I realize that I always thought about my sisters. How will this affect my sisters? Would this make them happy to call me their older sister? Will they still consider me a role model after this?

If I’m being honest, they were the reason I said “no” many times to things that could have been major setbacks for me. They were the reason I said “enough” to bad relationships and ended them. They were the reason I said “one day at a time” as I pushed through to get my degree. I am a better version of myself today because of them - and for that, I am eternally grateful.   

How many times have you wanted to accomplish something in life, and the moment you want to give up, you think about someone who would be proud of you if you fulfilled that something? Or, depending on the situation, maybe the opposite! We’ve all got someone - or people - in our lives that we want to make proud, set an example for, or prove wrong.

There’s something powerful that happens to us when we think about others during moments of decision-making. It’s like a switch turns on, something is ignited, and we have something beyond ourselves to hold on to. All of a sudden, what we are striving for is not about us anymore - it’s about them, too. And we feel a heavier responsibility to accomplish our goal.

So, the next time you want to give up on a dream, think about someone. Maybe that someone is a loved one or a friend who is pushing you to press on. Or perhaps it’s a hater who never believed in you and told you you wouldn’t be able to do it. The point is that you now have a reason beyond just your own desire to keep going. And when you look back, you’ll be able to say, "I did it for them!"

Each post is named after a pair of shoes. This post is named "Acey" after my sisters, Stacey and Tracey.