Two decades ago I was two years old when my father passed away from AIDS. My mother always tried her hardest to make sure I never went without. I never knew a need that wasn't met. When I was 15 years old my mother lost her factory job of nearly ten years, I was assured everything would be "ok." That year I went from being a selfish teen having everything I wanted, to worrying if we would lose our home. This is something my mother never wanted me to feel. We had the basics only: food thanks to food stamps, a home thanks to mortgage help, and electric and water thanks to bill payment assistance. I know these are things my Mother and I never imagined we would have to live off of. I was oblivious to the fact that we were in trouble. My Mother soon after filed for bankruptcy. That first Christmas it hit me: we were "poor." I told myself I would never let myself worry about these things when I grew up. I was going to make something of myself. I would never work my fingers to the bone in factories my whole life, just as everyone in my family did. I was going to college. I would make my family proud. My Mother moved out of the house when I was 18 to live with her boyfriend. I stayed in our home for a while by myself before moving in with my boyfriend and his Mother. My Mother's home wasn't exactly in the safest neighborhood in the world. At one time someone had attempted to break in my back door while I was sleeping. I decided it was time to go. As soon as I graduated high school I applied to college. After one year I decided on diagnostic medical sonography (ultrasound). I had worked a part time job at Panera since I was 16 and saved up, but this wasn't enough to pay my bills. I then spent my summer in a college help program job through a local factory that paid me $16.00/hr for 89 days. This was a life saver. I was able to save up for the bills I would have because I knew once I started the college program I would not be able to work very much. I continue to live with my boyfriend of 7 years, my now fiancée, in the house we rent from his Mother. We hope to get married after I finish college. This last year of the ultrasound program has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I have one more semester to go, and I have accomplished so much. I have the highest GPA in my program class, I even won a $500 scholarship for it! I have even been offered a job through the hospital I do my clinical rotation in! My family is so proud of me for being the first in my family to attend college. I am not shy to admit it either: I'm darn proud of myself! I'm just learning to fly.