Finding the Other Side

When have you had to show courage and leave your comfort zone? How did this experience affect you?

“Ma’am, I just don’t have the money.” I heard a click, and the phone went dead. In middle school, my parents began investing in rental properties, and over time, I became the manager, dealing with the rent, repairs, and complaints for six duplexes and two condominiums. When I’m in my manager mode, I have to be more mature and experienced than most teenagers, and my hectic school life appears relaxed compared to the world of finances and paperwork. Although my parents were behind me, the job was incredibly intimidating at first, especially when people looked down at me, or thought I was a joke. It took courage to refuse being pushed around by adults ready to take advantage of my age, and sometimes I cried out of frustration or anger because of how hard it was to get something as basic as the monthly rent. It’s true that some people had the means but refused to pay out of a certain mentality, but why did hard-working families, like Sharika and her son, struggle so much to meet the necessities? My job showed me the less prosperous Athens, Georgia-the one usually ignored by our university town. But I didn’t ignore them anymore. Although I had raised money and collected food donations in the past, now I wanted to interact with the people I helped. In ninth grade, I threw myself into weekly homeless shelter dinners because I wanted my contribution to be a personal well-cooked meal, whether it’s tortellini or stir-fry, rather than a check through an organization. Managing rental properties and volunteering at the soup kitchen have made me look for realities most people at my private school disregard, so wherever I go, I’ll be looking to understand and help the people in my community.

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