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Lessons Learned

By , Oak Lawn, IL
It is hard to believe that this is my senior year of high school. It seems like it was just yesterday that I transferred here my sophomore year. Graduation will be here before I know it and then I will be in the real world. As I realized this I began to think about what kind of a future I want to have. And I realized that I did not want to make the same mistakes that my parents made.

My parents have learned the hard way that college is the only way to have a well-paying, meaningful job. My mother never went to college and she has bounced from job to job over the years. Currently she works as a sterile processing technician at a hospital, meaning she cleans the surgical instruments. This is the highest paying job she has ever had. Unfortunately, it is also the worst job she has ever had. Not because of the nature of her work, but because of the boss that she has. Her boss treats everyone unfairly and threatens to fire anyone at the slightest misstep. Her boss has even said, “If you don’t like it then quit. I’m sure plenty of other people are hiring right now.” If my mom had a college degree, then she would not have to depend on this job. My dad is in the opposite situation, he is an independent construction contractor, so he is his own boss and he loves his job: remodeling kitchens, bathrooms, etc. But he does not have the best financial abilities, so if he goes through a period of time when he doesn’t have any work lined up, then he runs out of money quickly. If he had even some form of college education, then he could have another job to fall back on when he goes through a rough patch.
Another lesson I have learned from my parents is to not rush into an important decision. A couple of years ago we inherited a house from my mom’s grandmother. This was the first house my parents had ever owned. The entire mortgage was already paid off. But then my parents decided to take out a loan on the house so that they could get new appliances and furniture. Unfortunately my parents could not afford to keep up with the loan. Often they had to choose whether to pay the mortgage or get groceries. We even had the phones and gas shut off a couple of times. The stress of making the payments took its toll on my parent’s marriage, which was already on thin ice. My parents got divorced and we ended up selling the house for less than it was worth. If my parents had not taken out that loan, then we could still be living in that house today. This experience has shown me that something as important as a loan, marriage, or what college you go to is a decision that will follow you for the rest of your life. You cannot afford to rush into something without considering the consequences of it.

Sometimes the best way to learn is from the mistakes of others. I have learned many things from my parent’s mistakes, specifically the importance of a college education and taking your time when making an important decision. I have thought long and hard about whether or not college is the right choice for me. I know that this is the right thing for me to do. College will allow me to become more self-sufficient and it will give me the time to think and prepare for my future career. If I was accepted to this college I would not take it for granted. I would focus on my studies and take my time when making decisions. Especially at this age, the actions I take now will affect me for the rest of my life.





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