*While editing and polishing this essay, I don’t regret what I originally put, thus I didn’t change much. However, I would greatly appreciate any feedback on anything I missed*
Picking My Path and Pushing Past
An individual’s response to the constraints of convention or circumstance
Text: Angela’s Ashes and Diary Of A Piano-Tuner’s Wife
Everyone has dreams they wish to follow or goals that they want to achieve. Whether it be a dream career or simply a diet, every person has objectives that they want completed. For me, most of my childhood dreams and aspirations still hold true today; but that is not the problem. The problem is the fact that so many dreams are crushed by unfortunate circumstances; constrained by the limitations of one’s situation. My dreams of getting into a good university bank on two things: Money and grades. One of which is entirely under my control, but the other isn’t; however, it is up to me to decide how I respond to that.
Growing up in an Asian household, it was instilled in me that I would do well in life. I would study and work hard to get good grades so that one day I could get into a good university to pursue some sort of prestigious profession. “School, Franny, school. The books, the books, the books..” I was always being reminded to study hard. “Be a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer.” The amount of times that I heard a combination of those words were enough to drive anyone insane. It just so happens that as I actually do want to pursue medicine in my future. I was told that if I worked hard enough, I could do anything I wanted, no matter what. Nothing would ever be significant enough to hinder my path to success and in believing this, it becomes more true. The program that I want to get into is a health science course at a university recommended by a teacher. The coincidence is that it is one of the hardest programs to get into, across Canada. And yet, while that might be a little nerve wracking, it does not concern me: for I cannot control other people’s success but rather, only my own. If I work hard enough and do well enough, I will get into that program. This is the mindset that has slowly been ingrained in me, as my family has encouraged me to grow beyond myself; but it might not be enough.
Throughout my life, I have been told that money is not a problem. If there was something I wanted to do or pursue, I would get it regardless of cost. That doesn’t go without saying that it only applied to things that were beneficial to me. If I wanted piano lessons, I would get it. Musical fees? Done. Asking for an IPhone 11? That is a different story. With the gift of free choice to do what I wanted, I found more opportunities to succeed and grow. It is clear that paying for university would be included in this list, especially because of how much my family believes in going farther in academics or success. And yet, money is still a problem. A single mother with triplets and an average paying job obviously cannot pay for everything in life. No matter how much she would want to, she could not pay the tuition fees of all three children; let alone the housing and food costs if any of them wanted to study away from home. “Maybe now I understand my mom” because I know that it isn’t her fault either. It wasn’t her choice to be a widow and it wasn’t her choice to have triplets. A child, yes, but three at once was a little unexpected. It was the circumstance that just happened and she could not control it. She wanted to keep all of her children, thank goodness, but with that comes its own constraints. All three of us will graduate at the same time, and all three of us will be heading to university at the same time; but there is not enough money for her to pay for all of us, unless we do something about it.
When faced with the constraints of my specific circumstance, I have two choices: either find a way to get money to pay for university, or simply not go. Like Mr. Hannon, my mom wants me to go somewhere and achieve more in life than she did. “The world is wide and you can have great adventures.” While probably worded differently, my mom thinks the same for me. She, however, cannot do it for me. I would have to push my way past the constraints that money holds on my future by working to gather my own money. While difficult and not necessarily rewarding at first, I would still much rather go to university than not. The end goal overthrowing any thoughts of giving up as getting into that dream university will make the labor almost effortless. Getting a job has its challenges and so does applying for scholarships, and it might all be for naught if I do not get in, but it will take me somewhere. Like the piano-tuner’s wife, I cannot let my circumstances define who I am, or what I will do. “I’m more Than just another string he fails to tune.” Like her, I will be more than the constraints of my circumstances. I will push past them in order to create a new opportunity for myself, and not a circumstance that was created for me.
While my circumstance might be specific to me, the whole idea isn’t. Everyday people encounter circumstances that constrain their abilities to continue on their way. Whether it be a dream or a goal, or one’s everyday life, there are all types of circumstances, long term or very sudden, that can slow someone down. With these constraints, one has a choice in how they respond: to push past the constraints of their circumstance or to let it hold them back. Neither choice is necessarily better than the other except in the case of personal preference. Frankie could leave his circumstance and pursue bigger things, but he does not want to, and that is not a bad thing. As long as one is happy with how they respond to the constraints of their circumstance, it is a good choice.