The Power of Overcoming the Odds
I should not be working on my Master’s degree. I should not have graduated with my Bachelor’s degree from a private university with an academic scholarship. I probably should not have even graduated high school. Playing the Bach Concerto for Two Violins at Lincoln Center would most likely be out of the question, as would becoming captain my high school Kickline team, and playing violin in an adult orchestra at the age of sixteen.
You see, my first home was in a trailer in a poor, run down neighborhood in Pasadena, Texas. Many of the homes were dilapidated, with chipped paint, and roofs in need of repair. My first bedroom was slightly larger than a normal closet. My father grew up having what would be considered a decent life, but never graduated college, and held a string of what most would consider being remedial jobs. His family life was tough, and he moved from Maryland to Texas when he was in his late teens. My mother left her house at the age of sixteen, and was never able to graduate high school, let alone college, because she had to work full time and support herself. For most of my childhood, my parents were on one form of public assistance or another, dealing with the realization that there was not enough money to both pay bills and buy food.
Despite their situation and the world into which I was born, or perhaps because of it, my parents taught me invaluable lesson. They taught me to work hard in life, and that hard work will eventually lead to success. They taught me that nothing in life is free, other than the love of one human being for another. They taught me to dream, and that with dedication and perseverance my dreams could become reality. These lessons have been drilled into me for as far back as I can remember. I don’t remember a week going by in which my parents didn’t remind me that I must go to college, and I needed to build a better life for myself than the one that they had.
My parents not only taught me these lessons through words; I see evidence of their teaching in the way that they live their own lives as well. My mother went on to receive her GED, and my parents now own a house in an upstanding middle class neighborhood. The fear of how to feed their family is no longer a pressing issue. Because of their teaching, and their examples, I have been able to achieve great things with my life, and I know that I will continue to achieve greatness. I plan to go on a receive a second Master’s degree, possibly even a third. I want to start a family of my own at some point in the future.
So this is what I believe. It is the lesson my parents taught me through their day-to-day steadfast example. I can overcome desperate moments, and dire reality through the beauty of hard work and unconditional dedication. From trailer park to Lincoln Center, I am forever grateful.
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