Describe a circumstance, obstacle or conflict in your life, and the skills and resources you used to resolve it. Did it change you? If so, how?
Growing up with my older brothers and sisters I felt like they would always stick with me through anything. The fact that I’ve seen my older brothers & sisters leave the house has really been a conflict to me ever since. My oldest sister Elizabeth was the first; she left the house at the age of 17. I was 11 at the time and I knew what was going on, so I was really disappointed in my sister because she was my role model. What was I going to do without her? Who was supposed to be my role model now? I felt lost, sad, & confused. The next year my other brother Elijah left the house, then Brian. They all basically went more to the partying, boyfriend, girlfriend path rather than on the road to their future and education. Recently my sister Courtney has graduated and again the story repeats with her as well. I am a shy & quiet person, yet love to help people so I started to recognize the fact that I had to learn to be independent myself and not having to follow anyone or look up to them.
Because of this I decided to volunteer at the local food bank. Over the summer, I wasn’t really doing anything, although I had been waiting for an email from the Food Bank letting me know when I was assigned to volunteer. On the other hand, I would’ve loved to volunteer with my older brothers and sisters; I knew this was my time to be independent. I depended on them too much and the fact that they all left the house has really been a conflict to me. Not until July did I start to realize that I was wasting time and I knew I had to sign up to volunteer again to let them know I was really serious. Two days later I got an email! I was scared and didn’t know what to expect since it was my first time ever to volunteer anywhere. I decided to just get this over with and get it done easily. All we had to do was get empty banana boxes and sort the food and pack them in a pallet. Simple, nothing hard just follow the rules. At first I didn’t know which goes where and since I was quiet I just watched what the others did. The next day it was the same thing, but this time even more people showed up. They would try talking to me but all I did was smile, until I knew I had to start talking more knowing this would be the perfect way for me to get involved in more activities on my own. I began to talk to this college student for a bit but all of a sudden she stopped volunteering, even though she had told me she was going to keep going until summer was over. So again I felt alone; I started to pay attention more to helping and getting the work done on my own. After about 2 weeks the retired veterans who volunteered constantly began to recognize me and would ask me to help. I started to chat more with them as well as getting involved in volunteering for about 2 months. Every day there would be different groups and individuals helping out and would look confused about what to sort in what pallet. Not until they saw me doing everything quick did they start asking me questions and in that point I started having conversations and having a great time. A couple of reoccurring volunteers would pair up with me to work together and it really felt like I had another family. I loved to volunteer and help out since we would get things done and when our time came to finish I would stay and help with my partners. Although my 14 year old brother is quieter than I am, I knew he would love to help out too. Because of this, I felt that I had to get him involved in this to learn to communicate with people more often and ask for help when needed.
I want to be my two younger brothers’ inspiration to keep going in a higher education and have a great future for them. I think it’s best for them to learn to be independent and get things done themselves rather than with people all the time. People come and go and maybe it’s just the best for us. There’s not always going to be someone there, so we need to either be the motivation or reason for someone else to keep their head up and go through any obstacle without hesitating to ask for help. The day I saw each of my older siblings leave home had really changed me to become independent and talk for myself through anything. Even if I have to hear my dad say “you’re going to end up just like them” over and over, I will prove him wrong and that I am different. I will be the example. I will make my parents proud. I will go far in life.