Everyone dreams of getting into high school. The drive for some might be getting to associate with the popular crowds. For others, it may be getting to experience another level of social interaction. However, my story is different but yet similar. I dreamed of going to high school but due to life circumstances my path changed. At this time obtaining my high school diploma has a value that I cannot place a number on. My experiences of not having it are vast. This includes not being able to earn a substantial living wage, not having the consistent ability to provide my own basic needs, and I often have felt that I have let myself down and I am not where I should be at this time in my life.
Earning a substantial living wage is crucial for survival, healthy survival that is. I stopped attending school when I was 16 years old. The time has passed by quickly and I have struggled through most of the days. I have worked many different jobs. These jobs have not paid me much money and or have not provided me without hours that I needed to make ends meet. For example, I once worked at The Cage. This is an underground warehouse where they work you very hard but only pay $8.75 per hour. I would go into work eager to earn my money and eager to take on as many hours that I could. I often told myself that If I worked the fulltime hours I would be able to have a check that could pay my bills. Unfortunately, they would never provide me with the hours that I needed and the checks were always less than what I always planned. My experience with not earning a substantial wage was a reminder that I needed to return to school to complete my high school diploma. A poor paying job always lead to not having enough money to do what I needed to do.
Since leaving high school and having to take care of myself, I have not been able to consistently provide my own basic needs. At 16 I was living with my God Mother. When I initially began working my first job at Popeye’s Chicken it was “fun”. I was able to earn some money and buy myself what I wanted. The fun soon wore off but the responsibilities began to pile up. My God Mother insisted that I began to assist her out and pay on the household bills. In order to make the money needed to help her, I had to eventually had to take on more hours. The additional work hours began to interfere with my school hours and eventually I stopped going. I did not get any pressure from my God Mother to go to school. She supported my decision by telling me that I could drop out of school because I needed to work to care for myself. Over the years as I got older, the bills begin to change. I had to move out on my own and the need for money only intensified. I always knew that I needed to get my high school diploma, but the situation that had materialized around me demanded that I work as much as I could. This experience was hurtful. I often did not have the money to provide my own basic needs like food, shelter, clothing, transportation and personal items. The inability of being able to provide myself with the basic needs only wore on my mind. I found myself looking around me at my peers that had graduated and where they were and I realized that I had done accomplished half of the things that I should had at this time.
In 2015 I began to take some serious inventory on my life. I was not in a good place and I was falling fast. It was hard to accept, but my current situation was a clear sign that I had let myself down and was not headed in a positive direction. As a young girl I watched my mother fight mental health issues that lead to her abusing alcohol. I dreamed of going to college and becoming a psychoanalysis. At this time in my life, I realized that I had many dreams and I had not taken one step to making either one of them come true. I was let down and therefore sought out opportunities to assist me in earning my high school diploma. It was time that I begin to turn this life of mine around.
In conclusion, my high school diploma is very important. I know that I can never change my current circumstances if I keep on the same path. I understand that the change that I am looking for will not come over night, but I have to keep pushing forward. The work toward this goal has been a continual action for the last two years and the journey has not been easy. The choice I made four years ago has had a very significant impact on my life. The experiences that have formed from my previous 16 year old mind, have taught me rough life lessons. Moving forward is not an option.
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