Shantel Singleton, W Jordan HS, 2018 Awardee

Apr 25, 2018

My family upbringing was one of a kind. To some who are religious I was a gift from God on the chilly morning of December 16, 1999. Unfortunately to my parents I was what they would call an “oops” baby who stopped them from getting their fix for nine months. If you haven’t guessed already I was born to two heavily drug addicted parents. After I was born and as I grew up my parents continued to put worldly things before me. We moved from house to house as they weren’t financially stable and didn’t want to get caught. Every house was all the same unsanitary, drugs and alcohol lying around, and dangerous people coming and going. This happened for a while until I got sick. My parents did not know what to do for me as they could barely take care of me and do not know how I had still been with them this long. I had an infection that needed to be taken care of. My mother’s parents were aware of the situation therefore they thought to adopt me. As I grew up my grandparents had five other children not including my mother. Money was tight and there was always chaos but we learned how to live in that environment. Life was better but life is never easy. As my grandparents began to raise me we had a hard time understanding each other. I did not understand what was going on, who to listen to, and why my living situation wasn’t the same as my friends. During my sophomore year I fell into a deep depression. I did not want to go to school but I didn’t want to be at home. My head was filled with multiple emotions and I contemplated whether living was worth it multiple times. After attending a field trip concerning looking into careers in the medical field I discovered that helping others made me surprisingly happy and satisfied with life. As I continued going to numerous medical camps and helping those around me as I volunteered my depression diminished in a sense. I became happy and have wanted to succeed above average in as much as I can since then, especially concerning my future career in the medical field. I have found continuous motivation to be the best me that I could be because there is always going to be someone better then you at something but if you try your hardest then at least you know that you won’t be a failure. I have learned to keep your head up and always be resilient because out of everyone you depend on you the most and you wouldn’t want to let yourself go down a road you don’t approve of. Other students who may be in a similar position as I need to know that they are better then they think they may be. You determine your own destiny and worth. You are not your family nor or you your families mistakes. Nobody is perfect but finding out what is important in your life through the imperfection is when you find out who you are and what your purpose in this life may be. Never forget to never be perfect but to be the best you that you can be because that is perfection.

To further carry on about my story of resilience I have survived by having a strong motivation to be better than my parents and to make a difference. I started a mindset that I do not want my life to be for nothing. I soon decided that I wanted to be happy and I would let nothing get in my way. As I did such I thought about others out there in this world who may be going through struggles and how they deserve to be happy too. At that moment I decided to start focusing on myself and working towards making others happy and making a difference. I started of small by trying to do good in school, loving myself, and becoming proud of myself. As I did this I started volunteering places, working, and serving anyone and everyone as much as I could. This is how I survived. I thought about how I could be the next Ghandi or president but at this time and moment all I can think about is how I am not worth it. I thought about how these popular people have possibly gotten through the hard times and made themselves someone they never imagined that they could be. I have gained skills such as finding things that make me happy which include art, sports, and being creative. I have built on multiple little skills such as being empathetic, patient, loving, and a good communicator. As I have built on all of these skills I have learned to focus on myself and being proud of myself. All of these skills have lead me to the ultimate skill; mentality. Mentality can decide everything. I once heard a story of this older woman who was not mentally strong. One day she found out that she was most likely going to die in up to two years. The next day she died. Another story I have heard was about a man, a police officer to be exact. He was in a chase when he tackled a thief who then got back up and shot the officer 11 times. The officer thought about his wife and children, how he didn’t want to leave them. He thought about those around him who could potentially be hurt. As the officer thought about all of this he got up and fought with the thief for ten more minutes before eventually the police officer had to shoot the thief. The police officer survived this incident and a reason for why he survived was because he was mentally strong. As I teach myself about not falling back into a depression or not to have those emotions to bring me down I always tell myself what my strengths are. Even if I am not the best at that strength I tell myself how much I love doing that certain thing. Sometimes I think about how if I were to leave today there would be people who miss me even if I don’t want them to be the ones who missed me. I think about what I would think if they ever left me and how sad I would be so I can’t do that to them. Most of the time I tell myself positive things such as how amazing I am and how I can only get better from here. I like to watch videos or think about the people who have it worse than me in any aspect. I think about starving children in Africa or those with cancer in the hospital and about how they are still happier than ever. As I think about these people I think about how if they were in my shoes they would be grateful for what they have and they would make something out of themselves. I think about how there are some people in those situations who aren’t happy and how all I want to do is make them happy and to see the smile on their face that I know could be there. This is how I survive.

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