I immigrated into the United States from Mexico when I was 10 months old, and have lived in the same small apartment in San Diego ever since. We moved into a seemingly nice neighborhood, but I would soon find out that it was a dangerous place to live in. Drugs, violence, and organized crime would be seen at all corners, and the many gangs polluted the areas with brutal violence against themselves, other gangs, and innocent people. Things seemed innocent enough, at least when I was small.
My father abandoned my family when I was 5 years old, and I thought he was leaving to Mexico to visit family. Even through the constant fights that had occurred in my house; I never seemed to notice the severity of the situation we were left in. My mom was left to raise 2 young kids in a country she knew nothing of. As we grew up, my mom had several boyfriends, some of which seemed nice right off the start, others who would tell me exactly what they expected of me, to stay away when he was around. A particular boyfriend that my mom had named Roger began to argue directly with me, saying that I was a poor kid who would amount to nothing. I would respond that he was a poor adult who had amounted to nothing and now lived in a small cramped apartment. And that is where the threats began.
He would start saying that the next time he was left alone with me he would do something he would regret for the rest of his life. A short amount of time later, my mom broke up with him and kicked him out. Life moved on and my mom began to struggle, even more than before.
I began to collect cans and bottles from trash at night, to help alleviate the financial struggle that we went through to pay the bills and rent. Every night, I would go through every dumpster in my apartments and other close apartments, to try to fill up a bag so that I could at least bring home 5 dollars a day. At the time, I was a sophomore in The Preuss School UCSD, a school to help underprivileged and low-income students go to college, but because I was working every night, my grades in school began to suffer.
Once I got to 11th grade, I realized that the workload was only going to increase, and I was working more and more, cleaning houses, using chainsaws to clear out entire backyards of trees and bush, helping move out furniture of apartments, selling my personal belongings online.
All of these situations I was put in helped me shape my goals and dreams. I knew how hard it was to work, and how frustrating it is to have no money available for you because it would all go to paying bills and the rent. I want to go to college, so that I could get out of the poverty I had lived in my whole life, and start a successful career and so that I can finally have financial security.