For as long as I can remember, my mother was an alcoholic. I spent too many nights at my grandparents, reading Harry Potter aloud to my grandmother. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K Rowling wrote " “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow up to be.” This spoke to me in more ways than one. It did not matter that my parents did not attend college. It did not matter that they were never going to provide ANYTHING for me financially. It did not matter that they would not love me and support me in the ways that many people's parents do. What mattered to me was that I was going to make it, all on my own. At 15, I got my first summer job as a lifeguard. I saved all of earnings for the entire summer until my braces were paid off. Not once did I ask my parents for a dime. At 16, I started waitressing at Denny's. I worked hard, and studied even harder. Before I knew it, I was able to put a down payment on a brand new car. Once again, I did not ask my parents for a dime. Fast forward to 18, I was graduating high school and attending Penn State later that year. Books were one of the hardest financial commitments to me, considering they are overpriced and often unnecessary. However, a few extra shifts at Denny's paid for those as well. I still hadn't asked my parents for a dime. Here I am today, writing this short story to you at the age of 21. I will be graduating college next month, on December 17. I have worked two jobs for the past three years. In fact, I have enough money to pay off my loans upon graduation. Also, my car is more than half way paid off. Further, I have traveled to Germany, Jamaica, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic over the last four years. Each summer, I go somewhere new. This is my gift to myself, for working as hard as I do. All of this has been accomplished without asking my parent's for a dime. I will not tell you that it was easy, but I will say that it was worth it. Just remember -- t's always fun to do the impossible!