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Kelly O'Connor's Fundraiser:

Kelly in Argentina

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Kelly's Photo
Kelly's Photo
Kelly's Photo

BENEFITING: PACIFIC UNION COLLEGE

EVENT DATE: Jun 01, 2015

Kelly O'Connor

THE STORY:

I really want to go to Argentiana to grow as a person and experance new things I would like to exprience that may change my life in a better way. Let me give you a little more background about myself rather before I go on.

  • Here is a  essay to explain some of my life to help you get a better understanding of who I am and still tying to become.......

    I hated myself when I realized I had nothing. They say opportunity is the key to success; unfortunately my mother never handed me down any keys because she did not have any resources. Most of the time, my heart would hurt and I would forget about working and why I should have a passion to reach my highest expectations. Finding my own identity and obtaining self-respect was hard and is still hard for me today. I had to experience many difficulties in order to acquire motivation and desire. Throughout life, I have faced many hardships but have found hard work and determination to be the keys to success. 
    I was born in poverty and changed my life by the choices I made, but I still have not completely gotten out of poverty. However, I believe I eventually can by working hard. When I don’t work hard, I can’t reach my potential and cannot succeed. This was the only reason I didn’t end my life by the bullet and eventually found happiness in my self growth as a person. I had to teach myself to read, rather than someone teaching me. I had to find out what school I wanted to go to, and I had to find help through others to get the good grades I wanted. Deciding how to encourage myself to work hard gave me value. This made me gather my life together and overcome trials, while striving for potential. From a young age, I was deprived of the chance to learn how to read, this would haunt me even through school.
    I remember the first time our teacher made us read out loud during class. From kindergarten all the way up to third grade, I never read any books because I was never really motivated to learn. I would act like I was reading, but really, I was looking at the pictures. One day, however, my third grade teacher called on me to read, but I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t know what page we were on. “Kelly,” she repeated, and I asked what page we were on. When she repeated what page we were on, I just stood there, shocked. Looking side to side at the sentence in the book, I started to hesitate through it. My first sentence came out muddled and choppy. The tears rolled down my face while the teacher tried to comfort me once she noticed that I couldn’t read. There was an awkward silence as the students looked at me. I could not read, and every one of my classmates knew it. That was third grade the day I broke down in tears because I didn’t know how to read and I was not comfortable learning how. Because of this incident, I was placed in handicap classes. Handicap classes were classes designed for students with mental disabilities in order to teach basic reading skills as well as council students to be happy. It got annoying to get taken out of class ever time the class transitioned to English and Math to go to these classes. I felt shamed every time the teacher told me to go to the handicap classes. To my ten-year-old mind, it felt unfair and unnecessary for me to keep going to those classes, because I knew I was smart, the teachers just didn’t realize it. Even though I eventually did learn how to read, this obstacle was only the first of many challenges to overcome.
    I remember my first IQ test: it said that I was reading at a fourth grade reading level while I was in the eighth grade. I was ashamed; I didn’t know I was so illiterate. I never thought I could really get over an F- in classes or ever escape the special resource classes. All those times I cheated on people’s assignments and tried not to feel like I was a poor and uneducated student led me to the inevitable: I still failed as a student. However, this was the point that I decided I would start doing things to change my situation. I would stay behind after class and work on homework and study for classes long after the other students had gone. One teacher started to notice my effort to stay behind and learn more. Every single night, he offered to give lessons that I would take advantage of. I really wanted to stay after class to get good grades in my math and reading assignments. I felt like some teachers were truly just staying after to help me learn. Rather than focusing on my letter grades, they taught me that living life is more important. I tried hard, but even after giving my best, I still felt insufficient. This feeling would end up haunting me even in high school.
    I didn’t know if I was going to go to high school or college because that was where my family members discontinued their educations due to poverty. However, I made it to high school, passing the point where most of family stopped. Yet, I never had the good grades to want to stay in high school. When I started getting bad grades, I felt the same hopelessness from before. Again, I felt the need to improve my situation or at least escape the feeling of hopelessness. I wanted purpose, so I worked hard in order to get better grades. Through my hard work and stubbornness to overcome the many obstacles, I was ultimately rewarded when I found myself walking down the aisle to receive my diploma. Still, this was not an easy task.
    I went to a school called Rio Lindo Adventist Academy. It was a huge high school and it had a college life vibe to it. It really made me realize that a really nice school campus can exist. My trials on the campus brought back old struggles. I was still a child who didn’t know how to actually read and I stood out compared to the many students who could. I felt the difference between the privileged people around me and myself. It was even apparent in the dorms: everyone else had refrigerators, guitars, couches, shelves of food, and nice apple laptops. Comparing myself to them, it felt like I was the equivalent of a beggar. However, people noticed my lack of luxuries, and would often invite me to share food and let me use their computers. This kindness gave me hope and led me to believe that I could work hard and eventually make it out of poverty. Yet, one challenge in particular arose that almost demolished this dream: the SAT.
    Despite my low writing and reading level, I still received an opportunity to write an essay to go to Georgetown University to study for the SAT and ACT. By a miracle, I was received to the program and got the chance to study with the cream of the crop students from all around the world. Yet despite my usual efforts, I struggled at Georgetown. I didn’t know what I was really getting myself into, and when classes started, I suddenly felt the stress. I was not able to keep up with the reading and writing assignments. I was tasked with memorizing almost 40 SAT words daily and had a rough time. All of my Georgetown teachers did their best to encourage me to keep studying. I even asked the RAs to help me with my essays I had to write. One of the things I struggled with the most, however, was the SAT math because it was more difficult than any math that I had ever seen. However, I left Georgetown stuffed with knowledge, but still didn’t perform as well as I thought I would. I ended up getting a 1400 on my SAT compared to my friends who were also at Georgetown that got 1700 or above. I was immensely discouraged when I compared myself to them, but was also disappointed at the fact that I didn’t take full advantage of my experience there. I wasted the expenses and did not achieve my potential to get in a huge university. Still, I did not give up complete hope and, against all expectations from family members, I made it to college.
    I came to PUC with an undeclared major this year, the fall of 2012. Coming up early, I found a job at the custodial department and started working until PUC opened. During this time, I was reminded of my lack of learning and wanted to make it better. When school started, I started making choices to improve my situation. Still, I did not start well in PUC like most classmates who got nothing but A’s. I found that I had too much reading, just like at Georgetown, in my first week of classes. Everyone I knew was reading like it was so easy, and most read the assignments a week ahead of time. Before I started to fail in classes and experience depression like at Georgetown, help came quickly. The Teaching Learning Center found me and helped me with my linguistic poverty and issues. I went to receive counseling and get tested for ADHD, and kept going to them for help with classes. They went out of their way to help me keep up in classes and gave me tutors and a study coach to help me stay on track. 
    Although I am still struggling, it doesn’t mean that I can’t reach my highest potential, get good grades, or even succeed in life. Overcoming my challenges that I faced in the third grade, to studying after school in middle school, to studying for the SAT at Georgetown, to even writing papers for college English classes, I have found that hard work and diligence is the only way to overcome hardships. As long as I work hard and keep up my motivation, I will eventually become successful and will be able to drive myself out of poverty. This, coupled with the support of middle school teachers to my Georgetown teachers to even TLC workers, I have been able to make it this far and, with continued support, I will be able to eventually graduate college and find my place in life.

      I hope now that you have a sense of some my expriences an trails I still face today. I thing expriencing this trip and  many others will help me find out what I want to be in the futre. Right now I'm leaning more toward social work beucase I love helping people. I hope to exprience many mission trips to better help my understanding with a variety of people ranther then just the american culture. I hope you can better understand me need and dontate. 

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