By Gaby Gonzalez

Growing up, my life always felt like life was out of my control because it was built on a lie. I don’t remember much about my childhood, but I remember the day my mom dropped my brother and I off at a relative’s house to spend the weekend with my father. That was the last time I saw her for many years. My father took my brother and I to Mexico, to live with my grandmother and insisted that our mother had abandoned us. The first couple of weeks went perfectly; I was the new girl in the family and everybody liked me, but one day, out of nowhere, my grandmother changed. 

I grew up being told that I would not become anything in life, that I would never survive without a man who could provide the food on my table, and how I was never going to be enough for anybody. My father was very controlling, so I spent most of my days in a small room, staring at the four walls, imagining how I could change the place. I thought about making shelves or creating a built-in closet; of course, I did not know that these things existed but I was happy thinking about organizing the place. Somehow, the idea of putting things in order was soothing. 

Fourteen years after we were taken to Mexico, I finally found my mother again. It was then that I understood the truth: we had not been abandoned but kidnapped. My mother worked hard to bring us back to Texas and eventually we were reunited.

When I arrived, I realized that she had many health issues, so I had to drop out of school and began to work 40-hour weeks to help her with bills and food. Still, I held on to the hope for an education, for a chance at a truly better life.  I knew I wanted to go back to school because I want a career not only to prove to others but to prove to myself that I can do whatever I want. 

I didn’t know where to begin. Luckily, I heard about ACC. And it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. ACC has helped me in so many ways, it is affordable and is flexible with the schedule, plus, the teachers are amazing and they are here to help when I need. I was scared to go back to school, because of the language, money, time, and many more things but with ACC, I feel like I have found the right spot for me to major in architectural and engineering computer-aided design which is a field that is both creative and precise. I can say with confidence that I finally feel in control of my own destiny. 

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