“Dedication. It’s a word most athletes hear often, I promise!” It’s a word that represents diligence, resolve, loyalty, and zealousness. A word that crowned me as inactive, and a true quitter amongst my teammates because of certain circumstances.
I was fourteen when I was given the biggest responsibility in my life: taking care of my sibling. My little sister was ten at the time, so back when there weren’t any babysitters in my community; my parent held me responsible for my sister after school. Basically, my mother assigned me to be her babysitter. My first encounter with Track and Field occurred during my freshman year of high school. Bashful and nervous, the track was one of the few places I had a purpose and could make friends. Every day, I looked forward to practice after school, but the ringtone of my phone crushed my expectations. “Calvin, go pick up your little sister from school,” said my mother. “If you don’t pick her up, you’re off the team”. As I hung up the phone, it filled me with resentment. I was disconsolate about it and felt bitter all day. Contrary to how they sound, these are the ultimatums my mother dealt with me as I became dedicated to the sport. My heart sank; my mother never asked for my thoughts on how I felt about watching my sister, nor did she give me much of a choice in the matter. I was in charge of making sure she got her homework done, was doing okay, and well fed as she got home. This led me to wonder: Is it fair for a parent to ask their oldest child to take the responsibility of a parent? In hindsight, however, I never questioned my mother’s thought process of assigning me such an immense responsibility. If you, as a parent, had to work ten hours each day, wouldn’t you want someone to help around the house? (“I would think your answer would be yes”).
I had a clear perception of what was best for me, as well as the two options I had- allow the circumstances of babysitting stop me from being dedicated, or develop a solution to overcome this situation. Hours after hours, faced with misfortune, an idea struck me on the hopelessness of the situation.
The solution? Convince my mother to do the impossible: allow her youngest daughter to stay home alone for two hours. How did I do it you may ask? Well, as I broke the news to my mother, she immediately said: “No”. In which I had to defend myself and tell her the plan, why letting my sister stay home for 2 hours would benefit everyone. It was a risk that I was willing to take, but I was prepared to see where my determination would take me. I came up with a set of rules for my little sister to follow in which were tested through practice drills while persuading my mother into agreeing with my argument. The more familiar she became with each practice drill, the less “scary” or “risky” it was, and the more likely she was to say yes.
Finally, after a week of negotiation, my mother agreed to follow through with my plans but only in a few conditions. This experience is what burns the words ENGINEER into my brain. My ability to solve simple problems with a degree of creativity is a necessary characteristic for a future Aerospace engineer. It is the one professions that give me the opportunity to be myself while thinking critically to approach real-life problems. I want a challenge that would put my skills into practice and develop it even further. I know that engineering would be a good fit for me and I’m even excited about the possibilities that going to college offers me in achieving this goal.