For Kim and Jeff Tocci, it seemed like yesterday that they were putting their daughter Emma Kay Tocci on a flight to Abu Dhabi for the first time. Now, they reflect on the past four years.
Any parent can tell you about the bittersweet emotion they feel when their child leaves for college. When the time came for Emma, her parents tried to make that transition to her new home away from home easier by focusing on her future, and all the things she would discover and experience. The positive support proved to be key for a smooth transition.
While the Toccis were initially unsure about Emma's choice of college, they grew to be open to the possibility that NYUAD may be a good fit.
This is a time for them to grow, and a time for parents, sadly, to start to let go a bit. It's inevitable that kids grow up... parents need to focus on the positive aspects of these next steps, and not hold their child back from being all they can by not letting go.
The Past Four Years
The growth Emma had shown over the years has been wonderful for the Toccis to witness and be a part of.
Two things especially stood out to them: her independence, and her accomplishments and involvement in various university activities.
During her first year, Emma had to navigate an illness that she was hospitalized for. In her second year, she found herself ill again while studying in Prague. Emma's ability to obtain health care independently, manage her condition, and juggle her classes showed her parents just how independent she has become.
Emma's involvement within the community, such as taking part in TEDxNYUAD and winning a talent show competition, further exemplified the confidence she had gained while studying at NYUAD.
Read Emma's story: What if I went to a college outside the US?
The Toccis had planned to travel to the UAE with their older daughter for Emma's Commencement, followed by a European trip. However, with the ever changing global uncertainties due to COVID-19, those plans have been cancelled.
Despite the fact that they will be celebrating virtually, rather than in-person, the Toccis are grateful to have watched Emma grow into a strong and confident adult and are proud of her achievements.
If we had not been open to the possibility of her attending NYU in Abu Dhabi, she could have missed the opportunity to experience the world like she has these last four years.