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Ever since I was a kid, I have always wanted to do something important.

I wanted
to be the childhood figures Id seen in cartoons, like Pocahontas. I wanted to be
as caring and understanding as Snow White. I wanted to change lives like Mulan.
When youre a kid, everything seems easy, the world is at your feet, and you have
this mindset that when you get older you can do anything. Now that I am older,
nothing is simple, the world seems out of reach, and I know life isnt boundless b
ut has many limits. There are times when I wish I could be a kid again, if only
for a few minutes. I could go back to the time when my parents sheltered me from
the harsh realities you face growing up. I can remember the point in my life wh
ere I wasnt a kid anymore, when a lot of things changed, and I gained perspective
on life.
I was fourteen when I found out my mother had a tumor. My parents threw around b
ig words like benign and malignant. My mind immediately went back to my eighth g
rade health class when we learned about our bodies and medical terms, as well as
the circulatory system and benign and malignant tumors. The type of stuff I nev
er thought would apply to me. The words benign or malignant meant either nothing
to worry about or cancer. Knowing this at age fourteen was like getting a punch
to the stomach.
The idea that my mother could potentially have cancer seemed impossible. It wasnt
real to me. It became very real the day she had the tumor removed. I remember I
got to skip school and drive to the hospital with my family. As the doctor desc
ribed what was going to happen to my mother, I had the impulse to cover my ears,
close my eyes, and pretend it was all a bad dream. I told myself to be strong a
s my mother headed back with a nurse to a place the rest of our family couldnt go
. I sat in the waiting room under bright fluorescent lights, crossing my fingers
, hoping everything would be okay. I can still feel the goosebumps that covered
my skin. After a few hours, it was all over. They had completely removed it, and
everything went as planned.
When I finally saw my mother, it was a relief, followed by a pain in my stomach.
She was covered in bandages with a pale face and unfocused eyes. I had never se
en my mother so weak and vulnerable. I was terrified. When we got home, there wa
s a phone call. The tumor was malignant. My mother had cancer.
The tumor was rare, and in most cases, reappears or spreads to the lymphatic sys
tem. I read all I could find online. I was so scared. With a busy father and two
siblings, what would our family do without her? I knew my dad would fall apart,
my brother was just too young, and my sister was never reliable. I knew I would
have to hold everything together if she left our lives because there was nobody
else. I would have to juggle all the pieces.
She wasnt supposed to be left alone. Someone always had to be around in case some
thing would happen. My father had to work to provide food and pay the bills. My
brother, sister, and I had school, but I volunteered to stay home. I skipped two
weeks of school to watch over my mother. I was there to keep her company. I bro
ught her tall glasses of water, along with her medication. I made her food and a
t night I slept in the living room with her. I was anxious that, at any minute,
something would go wrong. Soon enough, she started to get her color back. She st
arted getting up and was in less pain. She pulled through.
After the radiation and a few MRIs, everything almost went back to normal. The th
ing is, when I went back to school, I didnt care about it anymore. I became utter
ly apathetic in my classes. Id just space out. On the nights I was supposed to be
doing homework, I always found something else to do.
School became unimportant. I didnt see the point anymore in trying. School was al
ways the second priority. I barely scraped by but managed to score well on tests
. Not only did I not try, but I stopped going to school as much. The amount of t

imes I was absent made my guidance counselors mouth drop. I have spent my high sc
hool career messing around and not taking anything seriously. I didnt set goals s
o that I wouldnt disappoint myself. Now that it counts and it matters, I regret n
ot taking the time to do my homework, or turn my projects in on time, because th
ose little things could have greatly changed my chances of getting into a good c
ollege. The little decisions I made completely altered my chances of a college c
I am not saying my high school existence was a complete waste. I did learn. I ha
d great experiences as well as atrocious ones. I made mistakes and poor choices
that I learned from, as well as good decisions that I am proud of. Life has its
ups and downs. Through it all, I managed to make friends who I know will always
be there and I am closer with my family than ever. I have been consistently on a
swim team since I was eight and am one of the best swimmers at ________ _______
_ High. I have achieved multiple art awards. I have regrets that I know I cant ta
ke back or change, so I focus on the present.
Right now, my focus is on getting into college; not only to make a good future f
or myself, but for my mother, to make her proud instead of disappointed.
All my life I have wanted that Cinderella happy ending, I have wanted to try on
that glass slipper and have it fit perfectly. Thats what I am hoping for in colle
ge. I want a chance to help make the world a better place,the opportunity to mak
e a difference, and the privilege of having more than a high school diploma.