My Upbringing

University of Texas at Austin: Topic A


So here's another essay answering a prompt requested by UT Austin:

What was the environment in which you were raised? Describe your family, home, neighborhood, or community, and explain how it has shaped you as a person.


There were countless days when my family would drive around neighborhoods in different communities looking for a bigger, better house to move into- which evidently never happened. As we drove past beautiful brick houses I’d hear my father say Algún día mi niña; as he always looked forward to a brighter future. Fast-forward and we’re still living in the small, yet safe apartment we’ve been living in for the past 15 years. We didn’t have everything we wanted, but we’ve always had everything we needed. Not once did I lack a home cooked meal, clean clothes, or a fridge full of food. One might think these basic things are not worth spending your word count on, but they are what I’m most thankful for because they were solely reached through my parent’s sheer hard work that drives the ambition I have been instilled with today.


My childhood was filled with unbroken pep talks from my dad, kind- hearted encouragement from my mom and the protective teasing you hear from siblings. I had an older brother to look up to and a younger sister to watch over. Saturday morning swim practice, piano and violin lessons, gymnastics, and tennis games were included. My father brought us up to be as well rounded as possible, exposing us to all types of sports, education, and art; teaching us to never be afraid to do anything good, while my mother taught us the importance of generosity and sacrifice. She used her talent and creativity to give her children their dreams. Anything that allowed me to be proactive was supported even when my parents couldn’t afford it. It was complete with so many things they didn’t have the opportunity to even perceive as underprivileged children growing up in Mexico.


Being the best swimmers on the team and always bringing home an A scored report card made my father feel nothing less than proud. Pleasing him was always a priority that warmed our hearts and filled us with confidence. Through strenuous hours of labor, my parents have always found a way to make time for us. Family always came first… until the day I woke up at 3am to the sound of tears and screaming. I found out my brother was bisexual: the worst thing that could have ever happened to my father. The scenarios that followed this moment will be something I’ll never forget. Since the night my father disowned his son, disappointment has colored his every glance and gesture. A few months later, my brother left for college, my best friend moved schools, my family was broken, and so was I. Not getting into the selective magnet high school for performing and visual art worsened my stability. Attending the 24th most challenging school in the nation ranked by The Washington Post didn’t make it any easier, yet slowly gaining independence; I pushed myself through the environment I was left with.


The past 3 years of high school have been the most life changing years I’ll forever be grateful for and I believe that God is the one to praise. Because of him, I have been reminded of my purpose. I have learned what love is. I have become more outgoing, accepting, and determined than ever. At my seventh year at North Hills, I’ve realized I’ve been humbled through its diverse and hardworking students. My faith has glimmered happiness through my family’s fragmented relationships I attempt to mend to this day. It is the reason I obtain the trust my father lacks because of the countless time he’s been disappointed, the love my mother never knew because her father walked out on her, and the un-materialistic success my brother doesn’t quite grasp. I am determined to resist any emotional or physical barriers ahead of me. The privileges I live with have taught me that there are things much more worthy than a pretty brick house.


Word Count: 660

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