When we are asked how we're doing in school, regardless of our answer, we've invested a lot in it.

Many tears and droplets of sweat have been spilled over the course of our academic careers. From the many late nights finishing up papers and lab reports to the all-nighters we pull studying for midterms that have, thankfully, now passed, there's no doubt we try our best to be successful.

For those in my class — the class of 2014 (represent!) — this is especially true. It's been four grueling years since we took our first steps onto campus and became official students at the University of Tennessee.

Our graduation inches closer with each passing day, and it won't be long before we close this chapter in our lives. Of course, we're all in the same boat; all of you younger students will continue on the same path we took toward graduation and success in your future careers. All of us are trying our best to find our calling and lead happy, fulfilling lives.

It's great we have Spring Break, then, to give us a reprieve. College itself includes growth, not just through our academics, but in other areas.

Our social, intellectual and mental fortitude is tested as we experience new things and learn more about the world. We can rest our weary bodies and minds for one final time before we make a final push toward summer.

During my break, I enjoyed the company and love of friends and family. I snuck onto the University of Memphis campus, sat in on several classes, and hung out with my best friends for a special intercultural event. At home, I finally had the chance to load myself with homemade, savory Filipino cuisine and sleep in a room without hearing random knocks and screams from neighbors.

However, I noticed something. Though it has only been two months since I was home over winter break, it felt like it was much longer. For my parents, it seems this was true.

Every time I come back home from break, I notice subtle differences. I see how they've become older. I come home to two faces that are always filled with insurmountable joy each time I see them, but underneath these expressions, I can see a mixture of sadness and tiredness.

My brother and I are usually away at school for most of the year, and the time we have been away from home in college has had its effects on our parents.The loneliness weighs heavily on them; they miss us at home dearly. The playful fighting and outbursts of laughter and sincere happiness from my brother and I are, no doubt, just a few things they remember and cherish about us.

I love my parents dearly, and I'm sure most of us do, too. Whether your parents say it out loud or not, they miss all of us as we attend college.

Even as each of us grows as a person with each passing day, we should keep our parents in our hearts and think of them. As we head back to school to finish this semester, don't forget to make time for family.

Although they miss us at college, we will strive to do our best and honor them for what they've done for us.

I intend to work that much harder for them, to show I will become someone in this world. All of us should.

Jan Urbano is a senior in biological sciences. He can be reached at jurbano@utk.edu.