Why Not? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 25, 2009
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Do you want to go to the boys club where the ­testosterone lingers like garlic chicken leftovers? Do you want to go to McDonald’s where dreams and futures are ground up like the beef in the freezer? How about outside, where the “ghetto” is friendly to ­natives and hostile to outsiders like an unseen but always-present spirit?

Why not? I ask as I shuffle my feet, a million problems in my mind but smiling as if I couldn’t care less. I wave to the “gangsters,” “thugs,” and “hustlers” of the neighborhood. Why not?

I need to relax. I’ll have a stroke if I worry – brother is in jail and sister is pregnant yet again. So why not? I deserve it. I never knew there could be pressure to succeed at 14. It sucks when you have to be the first in your family to attend college.

Broken bottles lie forsaken and battered on the street, a bag lady curses out pigeons in the distance. This is the other side of success, the not-so-glamorous world that many experience. For some, it leads to ruin and despair. College is my only hope. I lost my best friend to this ugly yet beautiful world; I owe it to him.

Everyone is counting on me, my cousins on the corner, my friends who may not have the opportunity, and my late friend. I am determined not to let them down, and my ambition will drive me through others’ expectations and propel me in a successful jump into life after college.

So when I ask myself in the mirror, Do you want to go down in history as the first person in your family to ­excel, despite widespread inner-city clichés that make this journey seem trite? I say to this prominent ultimatum in my life, Why not?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 12 comments. Post your own now!

Bethani said...
Dec. 21, 2010 at 9:04 pm
this reminds me of how my mom told me that if i get into the college of my dreams I'll do what she never could. My parents were told I'd never go to college because of my learning disability. well im proving them wrong! 
nchic said...
Nov. 22, 2010 at 8:25 pm
this is great! it reminds me a little of "between walls" by William Carlos Williams. keep writing and sharing it with the world!
dnm509 said...
Nov. 1, 2010 at 10:54 am
I myself also have these problems just like you. I will be the first person in my family to ever to go college. My brother and sisters won't go and my mother could not go. So I guess we will be in this thing together. All you have to remember is to never give up.
babigerl1194 said...
Jul. 13, 2010 at 1:34 pm
whoa!! this is amzing and i wish you luck...
RawyaAviva said...
May 30, 2010 at 9:23 pm
Never give up. No one but you holds the keys to your future. By accomplishing your goals you can be a world changer and a source of inspiration to those who did not have the power to believe in themselves. Keep writing, it is what sets you apart.  
Madison22 said...
May 30, 2010 at 3:21 pm
WHY NOT???!! Go for it! Never give up!!! Work hard!! Good luck!! Awesome article!
pinksage33 said...
Aug. 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm
This is amazing!!!
stoked replied...
Feb. 1, 2010 at 12:09 pm
ur life sounds alot like mine, i do boxing also, well actually mma.
TheUnknownGuest said...
Aug. 23, 2009 at 4:31 pm
I feel for you too.
AmnyR said...
Aug. 23, 2009 at 1:03 pm
article was great. god bless you and good luck!
doverdrama said...
Jul. 16, 2009 at 12:33 pm
I hope you do well in school, and God Bless to you and your family. It sounds like you're really dedicated, so cudo's to you.
mmfdg623@aol.com said...
Apr. 27, 2009 at 11:50 pm
Good for you. Keep it up! You deserve to succeed.
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