I, a high school senior, one of the top 10 student in my class, am on the edge of having a nervous breakdown. These four years of high school have broke and built me, over and over again. They have kept me indoors weekend after weekend and they have isolated me from my family due to the mountain of homework I have. There are days where my brain shuts down and I stare blankly at the wall, questioning if all of this is worth it.
Is the loss of connection with my family worth the outcome? Is the loss of sleep worth it? Is the loss of my personal life worth a better professional life?
I remember being in my sophomore year of high school. It was a weekend and I, as usual, was completing homework. My mom entered my room and asked, “It’s Saturday, are you not going to go out again?” I replied by saying, “No mother, you know I do not have time to go out anymore.” Her eyebrows narrowed, and she seemed to be in deep thought. “I have noticed that you always stay at home,” she said.
I thought to myself, I know where this was going, I hear this almost every other weekend.
“I mean I am not saying that your presence disturbs me, but I am getting worried,“ she said, “I see your friends that go to Van Horn going out on the weekends, but you have not stepped out house other than to go to school.” Annoyed because she was not letting me finish my work, I answered, “Yeah I know! I have no choice! They do not have to work as hard as I do. Can you not understand that?”
“I understand,” she said, “It’s just that you are overworking yourself. You are not eating right, the bags under your eyes are getting worse, and even though I live with you I barely see you.” Without looking up from my work I said, “Well if I want to make it in life, I have to sacrifice a lot. Now can you please let me get back to work?” She left and I felt like a total asshole, but that is life for me. To have one thing, I have to give up another.
After I question if it is all worth it, I begin to think of the real issue: I see other students that go to a “good school” and it seems that they do not have to undergo the stress that I do. I have white friends that go to school in good districts and they do not have to lose as much sleep as I do. They do not have to stay in as much as I do on the weekends because they are not as pressured in school as I am.
Why is that? The American Dream has been set up to favor one color over the other. This happens because achieving the American Dream for white people is not as complicated compared to those of a minority race.
I am not saying that a person who is not white cannot become successful. I am saying that it will be harder for them to succeed compared to a white person.
They will have to work twice as hard, they will have to take on so much stress and pressure to at least have a chance of making it. They will have get through the obstacles placed in front of them.
Take me for example. I am a Hispanic girl, and for me to have a shot at success I have to drown myself in work. I have to stay up long nights completing assignments that will help me in the long run. I have to kick my mom out of my room because of the demands of homework. I have to torture myself mentally and physically. All for what? Because I live in a system, I live for a dream that has been set up unfairly from the start.