By Vanessa Garcia
It has been very challenging growing up in a troubled neighborhood
especially when I had friends and family member involved
in gangs and drugs. I have witnessed shootings, drive-bys,
and people getting jumped and threatened. I have also witnessed
domestic violence in my own home. I met my step father when
I was four years old. My step father was a caring person
but he had an alcohol problem. His alcoholism was the issue
that overwhelmed our lives.
Despite witnessing domestic violence at home I have dedicated
myself to my studies. I come from a very humble family of
three. I live with my mother and my older brother. None
of my parents have gone to college. I will be the first
one in my family to go to college. I work financially to
help my mother. I do not like seeing her worry about paying
bills and rent. While most of my friends go out to party
in the weekends and worry about being in vogue, I worry
about helping my mother with household costs. This is why
I work in the weekdays and weekends to help my mother pay
for bills and also to pay for my own expenses. To be honest
it is a challenge to work in the weekday because I have
to make time for my homework, extracurricular activities,
clubs, family and friends.
All through my middle school years I have known it was difficult
for my mother to raise us on her own. I was thirteen years
old when our economic situation was the worst. We did not
have enough money to pay rent and bills so in my vacation
before I went into the ninth grade my mother, brother and
I went to live temporally with my aunt in Bakersfield.
There we found our temporary job as migrant workers cutting
grapes in the vineyards. It was a very difficult job because
we had to wake up at the crack of dawn and arrived home
at five in the evening. This experience had a great impact
on me because it made me realize how fortunate I am to have
my education. I was only thirteen when I got this job and
this has taught me to be very appreciative and compassionate
to other peoples’ situation.
The circumstances in which I was raised in have impacted
my life. For me to succeed academically is important because
I consider this the best way to help my family prosper.
The troubles I saw at home and in my neighborhood have given
me the motivation to really stay true to myself. I plan
to go to the University of California, San Diego and major
in sociology. My goal is to improve the lives of people
who come from the same background as me. I want to support
families who are lacking the resources, the opportunities,
and the support that they need to improve their lives.