Can anyone give me any suggestions on my essay, please? I'm not sure if this answer is the kind of thing they're looking for.
Prompt: Describe the world you come from and how that world shaped who you are.
I remember the makeshift wall made out of black trash bags that separated the living room from the bedroom, the small, white table that I would do homework on, the padlock on the giant, metal door, and so many other things about it. The poorly constructed roof would creak with the slightest movement of a cat. The occasional sound of the door being hit by a basketball would drown out all other sounds inside. It wasn't great, but the garage was my home.
By the time I was seven years old, I had seen adults fall under the influences of drugs and alcohol, criminals get arrested, and illegal immigrants struggle to survive in the poverty-stricken, drug-infested, gang-affiliated streets of South El Monte, California. This is the world that I come from. Needless to say, it wasn't the best place to live.
From a very young age, I was exposed to the effects of a lack of education. In turn, my parents always stressed its importance as a means of rising above the living conditions that were so common among our people. "Así es," they would say in Spanish - that's the way it is. My mother's face was so serious when we talked about things like this. It was as if for the time that we spoke, I was no longer a young child. I thought about this in school every day. As I walked in the gates of Miramonte Elementary School with my blue and white uniform, tattered shoes, Godzilla backpack, crucifix around my neck, and my head held high, the words that my parents spoke resonated so well in my head. I knew that whatever it took, I was going to leave this place.
At recess, my friends and I would walk around the school and talk. Cartoon characters, superheroes, Hot Wheels, and the like were a part of our normal conversations, but all the while, I couldn't help but notice what else would happen outside of our circle. Childhood innocence was lost, intellectual curiosity faded away, and ambition seemed nonexistent in this trap that we called our school. Why didn't they see it? I guess that's just the way it is.
With easy-money schemes readily available to those who chose them, education was not the path taken by many. At times, it did seem like the realistic approach to leaving South El Monte and everything that came with it. "Who do you know in college?" my uncles would ask. With no answer, I seemed irrational in my attempts to demonstrate the effects of being studious. "Don't forget that you're still Mexican," they would say, "College won't change anything." In my mind, things had already changed.
While the attraction to living the easy life funded by illegal activity was always around, my parents' two words outweighed all. They were right. Así es, but not for me.