I recently visited my family. I don’t live far, so there’s really no excuse for me to not see them. Recently though, I find myself getting more and more distant. For some reason, every time I called, there’s always family issue, most of them financially. The problem just seems to pour in and I can only do so much.
Thoughts cloud my mind during my drive back. Questions like how I got out and got so lucky to be financially stable rushed in. Is it really just luck or is this something that everyone can achieve? Is it normal to be in debt and my position which seems normal to me is so unconventional?
You’re past does not dictate your future, unless you let it.
Determination is a big factor that comes to mind when I think about my ways of getting out of poverty. I didn’t grew up in a rich community and I attended the worst public school in the city, so odds are really not on my side. But I was determined. In high school, I took all AP classes (2 of them), and took some classes in the community college. I didn’t listen to teachers or counselors who told me to enroll in a community college before applying to university. Not that there’s anything wrong with the community college – they are actually more realistic with their advice, but I chose to dream big.
I seek help, knowledge and advice – and I (try) listen to it. When I was in college, I look for every help that I can get, be it financial aid, tutoring and business school application assistance. I realize that I’m not as smart as I thought and whatever I learned in high school did not prepare me for college, so I look for help. I studied until I am at par with my classmates.
I studied abroad and realized that other first world countries are living on small houses, biking to school and making their own food… and they are happy! It took me back to my roots, growing up in a third world country, I dreamed of bigger house, cars, clothes and shoes because I thought that it is how people should live. I was wrong and I learned that by living abroad.
My first employer out of college created a program for first generation college grad with intensive leadership training and I participated on it. This lead to promotions and more career opportunities in the future which then lead to higher earnings.
I have a loving family who instills the importance of education and hard work. I don’t think I can be where I am right now without their support. Granted, my views changed, in college and now, but my parents never once told me that I can’t achieve my dreams — regardless of it being unrealistic (at the time), or impractical. I grew up with my parents telling me that I can be whatever I want to be.
I tell my siblings that if I can do it, so can they. In fact, anyone can… learn from your past and used that experience to guide your shape the future that you want.