By Andrea I., Collegiate Crossings Student
Third time’s the charm, right? I honestly haven’t worried about college the way most teens do. When I was kid I just figured everyone goes to college so I’ll go too and that’s it. End of story.
Then my oldest brother, Moe, dropped out of high school, blurring that expected route I had imagine everyone was taking. And soon after I saw more teens, most of them my brothers friends, drop as well.
At the time, it seemed that opting out of school was normal among teens, even though I could see the hurt on my parents and on other parents faces. All I recall is that my brother and my father were the worst of people to have been put together on this planet. And because of all the fights that would break out, my brother had had enough and ran away. He was gone for a long time. I could only imagine how hard it must’ve been to focus on school.
A year or so after my brother ran away, my mother began nagging me and my second oldest brother, Enzo, to finish high school. She was very stern about it. The hurt of failing her first kid fueled her and she was going to make sure we obeyed.
Enzo, however, was awfully close to following in Moe’s footsteps. In his final months he was feeling depressed and didn’t think having an education was important. He figured it would make it easier on him if he dropped out.
My mom, on the other hand, thought that was ridiculous of him. She went to the counselors pleading with them to make sure they keep on him and push him through his final months of high school. And he did, but college wasn’t in his plan.
Education could have skipped right over me. But something I overheard one of my brother’s friends saying stuck with me.
“She’s okay, third time’s a charm – right?”
Right there, reality hit me as flashbacks of me fooling around with my friends, by doing anything to distract us from listening to the lessons and not using the time given to work on assignments, manifested itself into stinging tears.
For the majority of my life I had been a mañiosa, always being a little brat, never thinking that I should have been learning from my brother’s mistakes, and the text books. It had taken me eight years to understand that messing around wasn’t going to help if I ever wanted to have a better life and get out of poverty.
Not to say that my childhood was entirely terrible—there are great memories—but they wouldn’t have motivated me as much as the terrible ones have. I’m extremely grateful for the hardships I’ve had to face, even if it did take quite some time sulking and asking myself “Why me? Why my family?”
Without those experiences, I wouldn’t have made the goals I’ve put in place for myself. I’m looking forward to the part of my life where I’m happy, where I have a college degree and a job I love, and a family that is a loving family from the start. And I look forward to looking back on how far I’ve come.