The Life I Want and Need

Alexander - Orlando, Florida
Entered on December 8, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that education is the only way to give a person the best opportunity to succeed in life, but this was not always the vision I had for my life. It was only recently that the goals I have now were not even thought about, much less being pursued.

I started out my high school career by getting good grades and staying out of trouble. I was on the football team and made a lot of friends that way and they were good friends that were playing football and staying out of trouble like I was. But, after a year or two in high school I started to surround myself with the wrong people and I began to drift from the football team. My grades were slipping and I was an immature young kid that wouldn’t listen to his teachers. And my parents had no chance of getting through to me either. It seemed that my life was heading in the wrong direction and I had no clue, but I see it now and I am really fortunate that I got my head on straight.

My sophomore year, I started associating myself with the wrong people and had just started at my first real job. I was working at a family sports bar as a cook in the kitchen when I started to realize that most of my fellow employees were either high school dropouts that didn’t go to college or they had gotten in trouble with the law. Working in a kitchen was a part-time job for me, but for most of the people working alongside me, this was how they paid the bills. Kitchen prep at a sports bar is not fun work, you have bad hours and the job is not easy. I couldn’t imagine doing that for my life and I started to see that education should be the path that I need to take to make my life the best it can be.

The following summer before my junior year, I went on a family vacation. We fit most of the family in an RV and headed up to Pennsylvania. I noticed that my parents (who both went to college) were paying for dinners and we were having many less problems financially and in other ways then my aunt and uncle, who both didn’t even finish high school. There was a noticeable difference in the people in my family between who got an education and who decided not to. Between work and my family, it started to hit me that it will be significantly harder to live a life I can be proud of without a good education. I believe that you can make a good life for yourself if you get a good education and work hard, and that is what I plan on doing.