Two of my best friends growing up were Jeremy W. and Isaac T. They were both a year ahead of me. As most best friends are, we were all inseparable. Since we were close through our high school years, I saw the paths each of their lives took.
Jeremy was born into a very prominent family. His dad was a pharmacist at the local drug store, and his mother was a well-known and credible lawyer. Needless to say, Jeremy was given every chance to excel through his family’s wealth and support.
Throughout high school, Jeremy was an all-star football player with a 3.5 grade point average. However, he had no aspirations for his future. Contrary to his family’s belief, he had no intention of attending college. After countless arguments and many persuasive talks, he finally agreed to enroll at the University of Arkansas. The results of Jeremy’s first semester were shocking to Mr. and Mrs. W– and everyone else that knew him too. He had earned a GPA of 1.9 and had been forced to drop two classes because of absences. Not long after, Jeremy quit college altogether; he is now working long hours at a local lumber yard. He was given the world and every opportunity to become successful, but Jeremy became who he chose to be.
On the other hand, Isaac endured a rough childhood. The only parent he knew was his single mother. She worked as a clerk at a gas station about five miles from our high school. Isaac never had the coolest car or the latest clothes, but what he did have was his mother’s love and encouragement.
Through high school he maintained a 4.0 GPA but was unable to participate in any sports because of his family’s lack of money. Everyone who knew Isaac could tell you this: nothing would stand in his way when it came to his future. He had dreams and he fought hard to achieve them. Isaac now attends Arkansas State University and is working on a degree in physical therapy; he finished his freshman year with a GPA of 3.8. Isaac never had wealth, but he did have support and aspirations for his future. He is now becoming what he chose to be.
Everyone comes from a different background and grows up under different circumstances. Some things you cannot change: wealth, poverty, having both parents, or having a single parent. The one thing you can control, however, is who you become. If you work hard and dream big, you can shape your future into what you want it to be, no matter what the conditions are. My two friends are a prime example of this; you are who you choose to be.
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