The Gifts of Optimism and Determination
Laurel Aitken, Division 2, 12th grade #ws17e-s1d2

The household I've grown up in is very different from the traditional household. I grew up in a single parent household, I have no siblings and no living relatives. When I was six my mother fell ill, she was diagnosed with kidney failure. In spite of receiving a kidney transplant, she hasn’t been able to work since and her health still remains quite volatile, so I spend a lot of time helping her out at home.

When most people hear this they immediately pity us, but I rarely consider myself as being pitiful. I know my life or the way I’ve grown up has had many challenges, but I do my best not to let it get me down unlike many people. In fact I know that because I’ve had these challenges I’ve become very strong and independent. I would say that it was always been my adversity that has motivated me. It pushed me to work hard in school, and balance academics with cooking and cleaning because my mom was to sick to do it. Seeing my mom constantly struggle with money but still manage to get my needs taken care of taught me to be resourceful, and seeing her never give up taught me to do the same.

No matter what is going on at home, I never let it affect my academics. I have always worked hard in school maintaining a 4.0+ GPA and continue to so, striving to do my very best. Even when the car broke down a couple weeks back, and I have to walk three miles to and from school in the pouring rain, not once was I late to school. Even when my mom had to go to the hospital a few days later, I still got the cooking and the cleaning done and finished all my homework too. No matter what is going on in my life I do my absolute best to keep moving forward, I know that I can’t let myself fall apart, or just sit and feel sorry for myself.

Those who are unable to remain optimistic prevent themselves from moving forward. I know this first hand, my freshmen year we received notice that the state would no longer give us disability benefits. They felt my mom was well enough to work, not that they knew she was in the hospital a few weeks before for a nasal infection that could have caused serious brain damage should it have spread. After losing our income, I really began to allow my personal situation wear on me. I was eventually sent into a deep depression that began eat away at my life. It began to get harder and harder to push myself to get out of bed and get work done in school. After many months of suffering alone, feeling helpless in my home situation, I began communicating more with my mother and was able to realize I wasn’t as alone as I felt. I was able to pull together with my mother and realized in order to move forward we had to remain positive.

After my experience with depression I was able to recognize the importance and value of optimism in trying times. Since then I’ve rediscovered my determination and remembered to continue to move forward. I cannot say I’m able to stay positive one hundred percent of the time, but it has since been a lot easier to do so, especially since I’ve come together with my mother. In spite of her being sick, she has been an amazing source of support to me and has helped me to continue moving forward. My gift of optimism and determination sets me apart from most, and enables me to handle the things most people cant.Now, when I am confronted with new challenges I do my best to face them head on, and do my best to have faith that I can make it through everything life has to throw at me.
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