By Allison Johnson
Blog Content Contributor
For the past month or so, there have been endless tweets of black students in their caps and gowns captioned with a sad background story. The captions all go along the guidelines of graduating on time or early with honors, with some facts about their harsh childhood.
As a person who is both black and Hispanic, I know how it feels to be a minority. I’m also the child of divorced parents. There was a lot of uphill struggles, and tears shed between my parents and from middle school up until high school.
I grew up in many towns in Central Texas including Austin. There was a big culture shift when I moved to East Texas I had to carry, along with not seeing both of my parents every day; it had came to a point where I wanted to drop out and get my GED. They say babies feel their parents stress when they’re crying, so that makes babies cry more. Well not much changes when you grow up.
A struggle of being raised by divorced parents is that children often get told a lot to ask the other parent for money. Unfortunately, when this is the case, kids often feel like a burden to their parents when it comes to asking for money. So don’t be surprised that these 16 and 17 year old kids are also paying for several college applications on their own.
This makes applying for college an even greater deal to us. There’s a good chance that the student applying for college feels like this is their one chance to break the cycle. For many of us, we take AP English junior year which is right before we start visiting ApplyTexas for college applications. Remember when our teachers told us to use pathos to appeal to others emotions? HAHA. That is exactly what we are doing.
It’s not to make admission officers feel sorry for us though. It’s to prove one thing and one thing only. We have GRIT and will overcome so much to get that degree. If it means using pathos to market ourselves, then so be it. We’re taught in high school that appealing to peoples’ emotions is a fantastic way to persuade someone. Have you seen that Braveheart speech? Wow.
By many, we are deemed as the people who won’t make it. I’ll be honest, a lot of us black kids will probably never be in the same room as our parents unless it’s at a college graduation, or wedding. All I’m saying is that some people grow up with little to zero support. These graduates still graduated with a degree along with accolades, when statistics said they would do otherwise.
I know tons of kids with everything they need and more to be where these kids are going, but choose to waste their means. Not everyone gets a car from their parents. Not everyone has a trust fund, paid rent, paid utilities, or their parents’ connections.
To me, it’s not so much let me tell you a sad story. It’s more of telling you how much grit I have and will endure to achieve what I was born to do. To all my graduates and future graduates who will overcome a lot to even get that acceptance letter in their mailbox, be proud of your grit. It will get you far.
Featured image by Allison Johnson.