Throughout my whole life I have been trained to work hard and get an education in order to do something better with my life. The idea that education is the key to success has been engraved in my mind since I was a little girl. I have lived my whole life in a financial struggle, watching my parents work themselves like mules in order to give my siblings and me a better chance at life. They have worked since a very young age, due to financial needs so when they were growing up, education was always second after making money. After being raised under those conditions and suffering their whole lives, at low paying jobs, for my parents, education became a must in my family. Although it would have been more financially convenient for my parents to have my siblings and me work early on to help with the bills, they instead decided to have school be our main focus even if that meant they would work like dogs in order to get our family by.
Growing up in America was always a struggle because my parents do not speak English and it was not until I began school that I became fluent. Luckily I had an early start at school so the days of me struggling where not as lengthy as they were for others. I remember the school my parents placed me in, it was a Catholic school called Open Door. Out of all of my siblings, I was the only one put into the school. I felt special, even though my siblings were all placed in some sort of early start program at my age, I was the only one to be placed in an actual school. Despite the fact that it was not cheap my parents managed to pay it off and did it all in the name of education. Seeing how that experience benefitted me once I began public school, my parents knew right away that their sacrifices were not in vain. Attending that Catholic school gave me a jump start to my educational career. Before I was five I was already beginning to read and write. After this, when I began pre-school, I was more advanced and was able to start developing leadership skills as I helped my peers in learn the things I had already began to learn. Although my time of enjoying my toddler years were cut short, I was given the chance to have a leg up once I started up in public school. Making sacrifices I did not want to make at the time in order to be better off in my future became a type of life-style that I have continue to strive for since then.
My parents were basically forced to abandon school and begin work at a young age and as they got older it became harder and harder for them to return to get their education. Work was always a requirement and the types of jobs that they could gain were ones that did not make returning to school manageable. My parents had goals and aspirations that they basically had to let die due to poverty. They would always remind me how they would not want anyone to have to sacrifice their dreams in return for enough money to barely get by. “In the give and take of these struggles, forms of literacy and literacy learning [took] place”[Brandt 339] in that my parents focused and have been working hard towards a new goal that they both want to achieve: to help their children work towards a higher education in order to be successful. Moreover, with my parent’s reassurance and the mindset of never making excuses, I was constantly active, always trying to better myself.
It has hard to continue to work constantly for a goal that seemed so far away but nothing was as hard as when the two things I lived by: Family and success, conflicted with each other. It was the end of my senior year and after weeks of stressing I decided that I would attend Syracuse University. Knowing that I would no longer be able to be around my family the way I used to, I planned to spend as much time as possible before the fall semester began. This plan soon changed after I was offered the opportunity to come to Syracuse University during the summer for Summer Start, free of charge. Summer Start is a summer program for incoming freshman offered by Syracuse University, where one can attend classes and gain extra credits. At first when I was offered this opportunity I did not want to do it because that meant that the time I had left with my family would be cut extremely short. Seeing how I am really close to my family, I felt as though I would be leaving too soon. I was torn between the two mottos that I have lived by ever since I attended the Catholic school. My family and my drive for success have been the two things I could count on throughout the years of my life and when these two things could no longer agree with each other I was completely distraught. Nonetheless, “I love my [parents] with an aching devotion, I decided” [Alexia363] to leave early with the intent to make them proud. Despite how difficult the decision was I knew I had a great opportunity to get ahead at the tip of my fingers and even considering not taking the chance would have been insane. I accepted the opportunity and prepared myself emotionally and mentally to be far from the ones who have encouraged me through everything so that I would go and do the things necessary for me to achieve.
Since my parents lacked education in their life, something that has caused them to always struggle financially, they promised to attempt to give their children everything they hadn’t. Therefore education was always a priority in our lives. This mentality has stuck with me. Even though I am getting an education unlike my parents, I have struggled first hand financially and I see the way people who do not have a diploma or a degree struggle. I have met some of the most intelligent people being held back by the lack of a piece of paper. This is why I came such a long way. They are why I came such a long way. I am a Mexican girl from Dallas, TX attending a university in New York with a scholarship due to my hard work thus far. There are lots of people who grow up having opportunities to get ahead of the game the way I did. Many with a similar story growing up but the difference is that they did not have both my parents and my background, which has become my literacy and life sponsors.