This I Believe

Paul - San Diego, California
Entered on December 2, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, work

[Perseverance No Matter the Opposition]

It is not easy to argue that life is fair. However, it is much easier to argue that because life is not fair, perseverance despite the strength of your adversary is a useful quality in dealing with the trials and tribulations life throws at us. I believe in perseverance no matter the opposition. This one quality can ultimately render ones outlook on life either positive or negative, greatly influencing chances of happiness.

One of the largest influences behind my belief came from witnessing and reflecting on the numerous struggles my mother had to overcome in her life. Despite life’s hardships, my mother still did everything within her power to provide a better life for me and my two older sisters.

At the tender age of 19, my unwed mother gave birth to my oldest sister Juanita. She faced a lot of prejudice for being an unwed mother with an interracial child. Despite being a young, single parent, my mother worked a part time job at a school, attended the University of Milwaukee Wisconsin, and raised my sister all while in her early twenties. After graduating with a degree in accounting, she met my father, got married, and had two more amazing children, my sister Monique, and then myself. However, alcoholism took over my father’s life and when I was four my mother was forced to get a divorce.

My mother was once again a single parent, only now she had to support three children on a single income. My family did not live in great neighborhood and thus the schools in the area were under-funded and over-crowded. My mom made more personal sacrifices than I’m sure I’m aware of so that my sisters and I could attend private grade school to ensure that we received the best education possible. She wanted my sisters and I to be able to better our lives in ways that she had not had the chance to.

One night, while I was only eight years old, my mother was murdered in an attempted armed robbery. The most important and influential person in my life was ripped away from me when I was only a young boy, and the lives of my sisters and I were changed forever. Still, although they took away her life, they could never take away the values my mother had instilled in my sisters and I.

Despite incredible odds my sisters and I, like my mother, persevered. Today, both of my sisters are finishing their graduate degrees, one in business, and one in criminology. After I obtain my financial services degree from San Diego State, I plan on attending a law school in San Diego the following fall. I know from life experience that if you can find the strength to keep going despite how far down you’ve been pushed, then anything and everything is possible. I believe in perseverance no matter the opposition.