AP Lit. A2

The last few flakes of baby cereal floated out of the box and into the old Mac Donald’s cup that I used for a makeshift bowl. I knew that before I went to school I would have to go down the street to the 711. Mornings at my house in El Cajon, California were dismal to say the least. Waking up at 7:30am, I would start to plan my mornings. My mother was sprawled out on her foam bed with some man that I couldn’t honestly say that I recognized. She had been up all night doing speed and whatever these so-called friends of hers brought over with them. My 13 month old brother was screaming in his crib and waiting impatiently for someone to rescue him from his night time jail. As I lifted the infant out I realized that my other brother, who was 2 years old, was attempting to peel his two day old diaper off of his body. What was I, a five year old kindergartener going to do? The same thing that I had done numerous mornings before. I ushered the two babies into the bathroom and peeked in on my mother to make sure she was all right, or maybe I was making sure that she didn’t go anywhere. After I had sponge bathed both of them I attempted to dress myself for school. I picked up my favorite pink and white polka dot outfit and tried to decide whether or not if after two days of being worn, it was too dirty to wear. Next I went into the kitchen and tried to figure out what we’d have for breakfast. Pancakes? Eggs and Bacon? Waffles? Macaroni and Cheese? Actually it was the same mac ‘n’ cheese that we had eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner the day before. Finally I would wake my mother to tell her that I had to catch the bus. Whether or not she woke up or just left my brothers in the living room watching television I do not know.

I tell you this not to gain sympathy, but to demonstrate how far I have come. As a person, I’ve grown and risen above the binding fundamentals of my early childhood. However, not everyone is so lucky. So often in society people are unaware of their own aptitude and succumb to stereotypes. Many people seem to think that parents shape the lives of their children. “Rich” kids are supposed to be proper and follow in their parents footsteps. “Poor” kids will be the blue collar workers that their parents before them were. What about those of us who are free, determining our own destinies?

Without knowledge of “hard-knocks.” how could anyone fully appreciate the person that she has become and recognize her accomplishments? Some people are destined to remain unaffected by life’s hardships; some are destined to know exactly what hard life is, and somewhere in the middle of all this, is me. I am determined to become more than any stereotype would allow and to live a successful life. Succeeding in life is more than the people you are seen with and things that you own. Victorious people are those who are able to meet their own goals despite the hand that they were dealt.

Goals are the personal standards that we set for ourselves. In our early years, these goals can be making an “A” on a spelling test or climbing to the top of the monkey bars. When you finally achieve these goals, you can be proud, regardless if someone else did it before you. Sometimes achieving goals takes discipline; sometimes it means failing a few times before succeeding. But the key is not to dwell on how you got there, but that you did get there. My goals are to be educated and pass on my love for life to the people that I encounter. Having goals and the achieving them, earns you respect and might even inspire someone you didn’t even know was looking.

Often times when people look back on their lives they wished they could have done more. However, when outsiders look back, they see all the accomplishments of character. Think