Although I now have a career and a better life, looking back at my childhood events makes me realize how much my life has changed. Each individual has massive potential to make a remarkable turning point in his/her life (Ward 34). It always depends on the opportunity that crops up and how one exploits it (Ward 34). My life reached a turning point when I applied for an essay writing competition while in high school.
I was born in a family where the economic situation was not very stable. The family was made up of my mother and father, as a well as my two siblings. My father was an alcoholic and barely supported the young family since he was unemployed. As a result, achieving formal education alongside other basic needs posed an incredible challenge for me and my siblings. However, my mother used to do some manual work in order to educate my siblings and myself through high school. I remember the presence of my father would send chills down our little bodies as everyone feared him. On the other hand, it was ironical of him to keep telling me the benefits of reading and that he would be happy if I finished my education up to the university level. As the firstborn in the family, an enormous part of household chores fell on my shoulders alongside other responsibilities at home. My siblings were literary under my care. Although most of my time I enjoyed reading books whenever I got the opportunity, I could not see myself proceeding with the university education due to poverty in the family. The possibility of attaining this dream sank even more after my parents separated while I was still a young girl, after which my mother, two siblings and I had to relocate to another state and settled with our relatives. Initially, dropping out of school was inevitable and my mother forced me to do some volunteer works. Depression almost killed my mother but with time life had to move on.
While in high school, I knew my dreams of joining the university were crushed due to lack of fees and kept hoping that one day I would at least get a sponsor or even be lucky enough to be accepted for a scholarship. My biggest dream was to join the university and continue with my education and finally, settle down with a good career.
One day while in the school library, I bumped into an advertisement about an essay writing competition which had promised an attractive reward in addition to a University scholarship to the participants. Immediately I saw this advertisement, my heart leapt with joy and knew that my life was due to change forever if I participated. I believed in myself as a good writer and above all writing was my hobby. As a natural story teller, I often enjoyed the responses I received after narrating stories to some of my friends and family. Therefore, after briefly reading the directions on how to go about the competition I felt very comfortable and prayed that the prize and scholarship will be awarded to me ultimately. The editors required the entrants of the competition to write about moving personal experiences that had changed one’s life forever. I immediately rushed home and started planning on how to structure the story. Telling the story came naturally for me, and every word was flowing easily. I could not help feeling as if I was pouring my soul onto that paper. The writing process was more enjoyable especially considering that writing had been my hobby for a long time. In essence, filling the required five pages did not pose a serious challenge for me. In any case, pouring some details about my life (of course, mixed with some fictional details) breathed a new life in my soul. On the same note, this was a competition, and God knows that I really needed the funds. Even if I got the third position and prize, I undoubtedly could not have been so badly off.
The waiting period was the hardest for me. This was especially after learning that some of the people who had entered the competition had been writing for varied newsletters. Definitely, the chances of winning the competition or even coming close to the winner seemed to be from zero to none. However, waiting for the winner to be announced was all that we could do (or maybe some praying could help, as well). After some weeks of waiting, the winner of the competition was due to be announced. I was accompanied by my mother and two siblings to the hall where the winner was to be announced. All the winners were hopeful of winning the competition, and, of course, some seemed so sure of winning. I remember the apprehension that I felt after the name of the person whose essay ranked the third place was called out. Seeing as I was not the one, I knew then that my dream had been crushed yet again. I did not even need to pay attention to the announcement of the second and the first winners. After the cheers for the essay in the third place died down, the essay that took second place was announced. Coincidentally, the writer of that essay had a surname similar to mine. It goes without saying that millions of butterflies coursed through my tummy. And finally, the winner of the ultimate prize was announced. I could not believe my ears when my name was called out. For 16 full seconds, I could not rise up. The crowd was cheering and my mother had to lift me up so I could stand and head to receive my prize. Adding to the surprise was the presence of my dad, not only cheering with the crowd but coming up to the arena and giving me a bear hug. Suddenly, we were a family all over again.
This win is still etched in my mind. I am yet to believe or even see how I could have emerged the winner in such a crowded competition. This marked the turning point of my life. Of course, the money went a long way in catering for the needs of my family. However, what makes this the turning point of my life is the fact that it launched my writing career. I now had the self esteem to enter into other writing competitions (and win). In addition, it opened an opportunity for me as a guest writer in a local magazine, after which I climbed the ladder to become the assistant editor. Graduating from high school was undoubtedly within my reach, and the dream of getting to college was not farfetched either. Even better, worrying about my siblings was behind me as my family was back together again. Am I always grateful for that opportunity? Your guess is as good as mine.
Ward, Koral. Augenblick: The Concept of the “decisive Moment” in 19th and 20th Century Western Philosophy. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate Pub, 2007. Print.