Prof. C. Shimonkevitz
Sept. 12, 2013
The Long Hard Road to Achieving
Sometimes life is a complicated journey; it is filled with winding turns and unexpected detours and delays. During my childhood, I experienced many challenges, during the time in a little girl’s life, she should experience dress up moments and fairy tale dreams. Unfortunately, that was not me as a young girl; as a child, I learned about responsibility very early. In spite of a hard knock life, I persevered and maintained my focus to achieve success in and outside of the classroom. In many ways, I was a mother to my six younger siblings. My parents were never stable and able to care for my younger brothers, sister, and I. My father was a drug addict, who physically abused my mother. At the age of seven, my mother was diagnosed as having cervical cancer, which presently, is an ongoing battle. After my father abandoned the family, much was left on my shoulders as a helper for my mother. As the oldest, the responsibility of caring for my mom and siblings fell on me. In the home, I cleaned, prepared meals, babysat, and took my sisters and brothers to school. With my mom sick and left to raise us on her own, we were forced to move in with relatives. It was that move that we experienced our biggest loss.
After five years of living with our grandmother, an electrical fire claimed our home and all of our belongings. That was very frightening. Not only did it ruin our possessions and home, but that it almost claimed the life of my little brother. It was that moment in life when I was not just a big sister, but also a hero; that day, I saved my brother’s life. My brother three years old at the time was in his crib napping in the room that the fire started. When my grandmother first noticed smoke she ran for the steps but being the age she was, she couldn’t make it up the steps, Instead, I ran up the steps and into the room, I remember grabbing my brother and trying to run away from the flames. I only made it to the steps and fell because of breathing in the smoke, I don’t remember much after that except a fire man laying my brother and I on an ambulance bed. With such unfortunate events, briefly after, we were placed in foster care. This not only took us away from our mom, but from one another, causing my sister and I to never see my brother again.
Experiencing such turmoil as a kid, it is natural for a youth to act out, and that is what I did. When I entered middle school, I was not as focused on academics as I should have been. Things soon began to fall apart, during middle school, and I would cut class and skip school. Now, back with my mother, home life struggles continued to stress me out. Then the light bulb came on. I thought, “If there is any way I can contribute positively to my situation, school is the answer.” At fourteen years of age, I made the commitment to myself to be the very best I can be. I