David Rico, LSC-North Harris

Winning Essay:

I have been carrying more than my weight for sometime now and I've never known. For years I had always felt as if I was merely passing through; that I wasn't apart of what was going around me. Nothing felt real; I thought this was how everyone felt. Still, I kept living, working, taking care of my family, experiencing pain, people, let downs, occasional friendships, but nothing really ever stuck. I was certain and unsure. I thought things would change when I finished high school unfortunately because I was unable to pass the math portion of the TAK's I never received my diploma. I lost hope.

Things begin to change last year when I started dating someone with a good head on her Shoulders; she was a student at Lone Star. She asked me why I never thought to enroll. I explained to her that I did not have my diploma and because of that I was unable to enroll let alone attend college. Truth be told, I was afraid, I have never been more afraid. My life thus far had been full of short comings, financial inadequacies and set backs and I can not tell you how much it hurt for me to try. Lucky for me, my new girlfriend was terribly stubborn and would not drop the issue. She insisted that Lone Star was the perfect college for me. She told me that Lone Star specialized in helping students like myself succeed; I wanted to believe her but I just did not think I could be successful. After helping me study for my GED, I actually ended up taking the evaluation to receive my diploma. Last January I finally received the paperwork that would allow me to not only find better employment, but ultimately to chase my dreams.

Needless to say, I still did not apply to Lone Star. I did not think I would be accepted, and background aside, I did not think I could afford college. All of my money goes to care for my father who is disabled and my mother. Little did I know that when my girlfriend was enrolling in her classes, she was also enrolling me into the school. I was shocked, angry, offended, scared, impressed and most importantly a first generation college student. I made an appointment with a counselor who told me that I had to take a placement exam to see what level of classes I should begin with. I still scored low in math but on the upside I scored high in English and my counselor even complimented me. I was not even registered for classes and Lone Star had already shown me that I was good at something; I was so excited, I felt like I had purpose again.

Starting with the first day of class, my teachers made me feel as if I could really make a difference in not only my life but in the lives of others. I often struggle with talking to others but my professors really work with me. They not only let me be my self, they encourage me to be myself. Lone Star gives me the space I need to succeed, the positive environment, encouragement and support to help me achieve success and most importantly the resources and knowledge to help me get where I want to be. Most of the time my experiences at school do not even feel real. This is nothing like the life I knew before.

I'm new to everything but until Lone Star no one had ever really given me an opportunity to better myself. I spent six years at a job that barely made ends meet and I had no idea how to become a better person. At my school I am learning how to consider my beliefs, my body, my mind, my fears, the people I surround myself with, my general plans for my life and most importantly how my presence effects others. Lone Star college has changed my life by giving me a chance and for this I am truly grateful.

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