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My Crowning Moment
Young Woman Reflects on the Role Education Played in Her Life
Education has helped me overcome my dependence on individuals who would have easily left me in the streets before caring about my capabilities. My bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) allows me to navigate my success the way I want to because I worked hard for it. My degree also gave me analytical perspective—to evaluate people and determine whether or not they are positive influences in my life.
Even though I might come off as blunt or “stuck-up” to some, I ignore those criticisms. I understand that certain individuals whom I grew up with neglect their independence as they continue to lack confidence and surround themselves with dysfunctional circumstances. By earning my college degree, I recognize the opportunities, the knowledge, and the advantages I now have by comparison.
Education is a right to which we’re all entitled. But education is also a privilege that some people cannot afford. While everyone deserves the opportunity to learn and expand their intelligence in whatever field they want to pursue, it isn’t free to go to college.
Individuals like me do not have the luxury of being unconcerned about the financial burdens within the American school system. I had to take out loans and work overtime to prevent any school debt after I graduated.
However, unlike many others, I received a generous scholarship from Mercy Home’s AfterCare team. I will always be grateful for this massive support during my journey at UIC. Regardless of that help, I still faced challenges as a college student, but I overcame those challenges to receive a new form of privilege: a college degree. This allows me to become a highly qualified candidate for many career paths along my way, thanks to the security of my education.
Education is a right to which we’re all entitled. But education is also a privilege that some people cannot afford.
Observing the social dynamic between college graduates and non- college graduates gave me perspective on both worlds. For instance, without my degree, most employers would only consider my work experience or my social relationships, rather than my academics.
Prior to earning my degree, I lacked my own platform and felt I had to prove my worth to others. So my hard work became my confidence because no matter how challenging my journey was throughout college, I was still determined to complete my education with a bachelor’s degree because I knew it would build better opportunities for me.
Now, I have my own place, a possible high position at my current job, and I’m an applicant at an insurance company. Best of all, I have my own peace of mind. The professional skills and critical thinking I gained with my degree gave me options and made me understand that I have the ability to overcome anything that comes my way.
It’s easy for someone to use excuses and remain in their comfort zone. And it’s difficult for some people to fulfill their potential due to fear.
As a scholar and double minority—a Latinx woman who came from poverty— at times I disregarded my own worth. Many times I thought my education didn’t matter, but as soon as I graduated, that state of mind all changed.
It’s easy for someone to use excuses and remain in their comfort zone.
Near the completion of my academics, young people from different types of communities reached out to me, offering their guidance and encouragement. I had friends and colleagues tell me how proud they were of me for accomplishing so much success. Even my youngest brother expressed to me that I was his biggest role model—that I motivated him to reach his goals.
My degree gave me the self-realization to value, rather than disvalue, myself. Now I know that I have always been a queen who just needed her education as her crown.
My knowledge and self-actualization has allowed me to channel my energy toward my future and the individuals who supported me along the way. My education made me realize that I am too worthy to feel unwanted or useless because I worked hard to achieve nothing but the best. I am now able to acknowledge the fruits of my labor, as I explore different career paths and continue to become an independent woman in pursuit of my own happiness.