Learning on the Fish Farm

Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

Tattooed in my memory are the shrill rings of my alarm clock set to exactly 6:00 AM every day, submerging half my 110 pound body into the sub-zero water, fish half my size splashing muddy water onto my pale face. Most kids enjoy the freedom that comes along with summer vacation—having fun, sleeping in, and just relaxing—but for as long as I can remember, I’ve spent every summer working nine hour days helping my family manage our fish farm. I’ve never seen this as a burden, however, but rather as an opportunity. While others go out and enjoy temporary fun, I am learning something far more permanent—the hard work behind every dollar earned. As a result, I am more conscious of every dollar spent. I don’t envy my friends who can go out and lavishly spend their parents’ money. In fact, I hope that they too can experience the process of helping their parents earn money—as I have done every summer.

Coming from a family that’s always been financially unstable, I’ve seen my mother and father work upwards toward twelve hours every day, exerting strenuous, manual labor in exchange for a decent living. I learned from a very young age the meaning of hard work and the value of each dollar it yields. But life hasn’t always been like that for...

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