When I was in elementary school, I would always be teased because I was born in China and my English wasn’t the best. English isn’t an easy language to learn since there are so many exceptions and loopholes. School was a place I didn’t I want to be. Instead, I wanted to be home to watch television or play games with my little sister. I never bothered to do my homework, thus my grades in elementary school were terrible. My parents were too busy at work to care about my plummeting grades. Since my parents didn’t care, I didn’t care either, and I just thought of school as a chore that I did for my parents. Like any other chore, I did not like it, and this chore of school was extremely difficult and long. There were many times when I wanted to give up.
Shortly after I moved to America, my parents divorced. At first, I had no idea what was happening. I had to choose which parent to want to live with. I ultimately picked my mother because I have lived with her since I was born. The feeling of having my parents separated was like nothing I have ever felt before. I thought it was my fault that they separated, and I desperately tried to get them back together. I quickly realized my foolish attempts were futile. Since then, I have only spent time with my dad on weekends, and I have lived with my mom the rest of the week. Going to school was still waste of time for me. I thought that if I did not go to school, I would have more time to spend with my dad.
Even though I live with my mother, I do not get to see her often; I am sleeping by the time she gets home from work. When I wake up for school, she is fast asleep, probably exhausted from work the day before. She works ten-hour shifts, six days a week as a cashier at a restaurant. This causes her to be extremely fatigued and stressed. Because of this stress, my mother and I used to have a terrible relationship. Whenever I did anything wrong, she would beat me and verbally abuse me. I never learned to behave this way, but after many years of sadness and conflict, we came to an understanding.
When my mother stopped beating and verbally abusing me, I slowly came to realize what my mother had done and sacrificed for me. My mother is an extremely intelligent woman. I know this because before she got a divorce, she had time to teach me mathematics and would tell me stories about her childhood. She told me that she was always ranked top of her class, and I could infer that she had so much potential. When I asked her why she was working at a restaurant, she wouldn’t answer me; she’d give me a sigh and walk away. I was too young to understand before, but I know the reason now. Instead of pursuing her own personal goals, she came to America, leaving most of her dreams behind. The only dream she had was for me, her beloved son, to create my own dreams and ambitions on this foreign continent. It is not that I could not have had dreams or be ambitious in China, but in America, the chances for me to flourish are higher and the environment is better suited for a student. Seeing my mother struggling and working under her potential every day gradually made me want to reach my potential. My mother’s efforts and sacrifices would be in vain if I were to waste my talents. This motivated me my junior year as I tried to catch up on my schoolwork, which I had been ignoring my whole life.
Another source of my motivation comes from the vision of my future. I want to start my own business and become a businessman; I also want to travel the world and have a decent salary. These are my personal goals, but my most important goal is to start a family. This family will include my wife, future children and my mother, who had sacrificed so much for me. I have to provide them with the best care. This will bring me true happiness, and only then will I consider myself successful.
When I think about the future, it is only just a dream. In reality, I am still just a student in high school. All of my goals are still far away; I need to do my best now and not waste the potential my mother gave me in order to narrow the distance between my goals and me. That is my main focus right now.