Alina Garza Pizana

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We all have a beginning; an origin. We come into this life by mere happenstance and then carve our paths from there. Each story unique to the individuals’ circumstances as well as personal life experiences. Most days we get too caught up with our own life’s hectic motions that we don’t really stop to wonder what the person next to us is like. What brought them there? Where are they headed? What is their life story? Today I’m giving you an insight of my story so far. The tragedies as well as the fortunes that led me to where I solidly stand today.

My story began on September 10th 1999 Brownsville, Texas. I was the second and last child born to a mother who worked in the newspaper and a father who worked as a psychology professor in Mexico. The only problem was that both of my biological parents were not yet ready to assume the stresses and compromises of parenthood once again. My dad was out of the picture, and after a few weeks, so was my mother. Giving in to my infantile cuteness and incognizant nature, my grandfather gladly took me in along with my six year old brother, Saulo. From there and on life was absolute bliss.

Every day we would seek new and exciting adventures, each one with a valuable lesson attached at the end. There was never a dull moment. Our grandfather was our life mentor and we were his pupils, driven by pure curiosity and childlike mischief. Young and unafraid with the world at our fingertips. Because of his humble beginning and giving nature, he decided to pass all of his philosophies and acquired knowledge down to us. Every day there was something new to learn whether it was how to swim, how to play cards, or even the medicinal cocktails he made for walk in patients when he worked as a pharmacist in Mexico. The same admiration and respect he gained from all those who encountered him was the same respect and admiration he wanted us to be able to earn one day. Through curiosity, determination, persistence, knowledge, humility, and love; these exact principles are what shaped and molded the person I was soon to become.

I was very happy at this point. I had my own perfect little family alongside my brother and the man who was both my best friend and paternal figure. I was involved in sports as well as music. My grades and keen interest of learning displayed a promising future to my teachers. I was passionate about everything I did thanks to my loving and motivating grandfather. Sure, I was different in the sense that I talked in a peculiar way and didn’t exactly “follow the crowd”, but I was incredibly happy.

From one day to another tragedy decided to strike and slowly but surely burn out that flame that I had in me. That drive and motivation gone. Our grandfather became very sick. The hardest part was when he no longer recognized my voice or who I was. The most infuriating part however, was having to accept that he was human like all of us and his time to go was near and his work on this earth was done. Instead of even discussing other options, my brother and I decided to take full responsibility and take care of our grandfather until the end. Just like he had planned to do with us. By the age of 12, I had already learned how to handle medications as well as file paperwork for nurses who came on the daily. I was like his caretaker 24/7.

Some time passed and my mother came back into the picture since only she could take official legal actions along with my uncle while I had to go back to school. Shortly after the first few months of my freshman year in high school, my grandfather passed away. My brother and I went back to living with our mom. I was devastated and started slacking off in school, sometimes not showing up for weeks on end. I lost interest in just about everything. I was too blinded by pain and solitude after I had shut all my friends out.  However as time progressed, I realized something that marked a turning point in my life- tragedy and death are inevitable, it is a natural part of life. How we choose to react to these setbacks is all a matter of choice. Its either we let negativity consume us or we build ourselves up and forward. We are all here for a predestined amount of time and it is out of our power to control that, but the thing we are in control of is what we chose to do with that given lifetime. I became determined to build myself up once again and make my grandfather proud.

I did everything I could to make up for all the time I had lost. I stayed after school to recover lost credits, made new friends, got two jobs over the summer since my mother became too sick to work, and helped my brother with the bills. I even decided to take advanced courses in order to challenge myself and push my potential. Of course new and daunting obstacles clouded my vision from time to time, but I always found a way through or over. Why? Because I knew all of this would build my strength in the future. Every time I found myself at the entrance of a closed gate, I found a way to open up another one no matter the distance.

These ordeals shaped the content of my character and that is something I never wish to change. I plan to further my studies and become someone even greater. I took all the hurt I had learned to conceal so well and turned it into courage to help others one day, which is why I chose to pursue the medical field. I will also make the most out of my existence by visiting all the countries I’ve had in mind since I was kid. I plan to enrich my mind and soul with all kinds of new and staggering experiences since life was never meant to be lived in one place. I will let my imagination and creativity reach colossal heights. I will prove myself capable. After all, only I am in control. I’m the one at the cell, I fabricate my own destiny. As for now, I will soon be closing this current chapter in my life and flipping the pages to the next one. University.