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“You’re too stupid to go to college!” my mother screams at me as I help my two sisters with their homework. I have already made dinner for my whole family and cleaned the mess my mom left in the kitchen. She is finally home after sneaking off to binge drink at a bar. It’s a normal evening in the Lautner home. My dad is working on some building in some state. I don’t know for sure, because he is in different places every week for work. So it falls on me to take care of my twin sister who was born with Cerebral Palsy. Her condition causes her to deal with muscle and coordination problems as well as learning and speech disabilities.
On top of all of my responsibilities at home, I had to work hard to keep up with my school work despite my mom’s constant degradation of me and my intelligence. Additionally, by the time I helped my two sisters complete their assignments, I was staying up late to finish my own. There were some nights where I wouldn’t go to sleep until 3:00 in the morning, and had to wake up at 6:00 the next day to get everyone to school on time.
During any of my breaks from school, I was working multiple jobs to have spending money for me and my sisters. Any extra money that my mom had went to her alcohol addiction, so we had to fend for ourselves. I started out babysitting for any neighbors I could find with kids. That led to me getting a nannying job where I took care of three little girls, was their personal maid, and cleaned their unkempt home everyday. In addition to that, I worked as a hostess at Texas Roadhouse on nights and weekends. I even worked part time at another restaurant in my home town called La Foresta where I would pick shifts whenever I found the time.
After I graduated high school I moved to Wilmington to attend Cape Fear Community College. While I was there, my older half brother had a child that he was forced to take care of on his own. Because of that, he and my nephew moved in with my parents, and I had to move back to Wake Forest to help take care of him. I didn’t feel comfortable knowing that my nephew was being left with my most likely intoxicated mother and my sisters who were unable to help as much as I knew I could.
After moving home, I chose to attend NC Dental U where I got my Certificate in Dental Assisting. Once certified, I found a job in downtown Raleigh working for a Dentist who started her dental career in China and brought those techniques with her. I learned a lot from working her and became more passionate about the dental and healthcare fields. After working there for awhile, I decided to switch to a part time job in order to give my nephew more adequate care. At this job, I do secretary like things while also maintaining my role as a dental assistant. I only work four days a week for four hours, which is good for my nephew and allows me more time to focus on my courses at Wake Technical Community College.
Advancing in my education would be my chance to prove my mother wrong, and to be the intelligent young woman that I know I am. I would be the first of my family to attend a university; I would hopefully inspire my sisters to follow in my footsteps.
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