America provides many opportunities for those who are willing to work. “Good luck is the residue of hard work. The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

What Shapes Us

America is a unique place, consisting of vast varieties of cultures, races, religions, and ethnicities. What is great about this country is how each person can grow up in different circumstances, yet still have the ability to work for what they want to achieve. My parents have always pushed me to do my best in everything I do, whether that be in school, cross country, or just overall being a good person. I am fortunate enough to live in America, where my hard work can create countless numbers of opportunities for me. My family and country have played an important role in creating opportunity for me as well as teaching me to work for what I want and the importance of perseverance.

For as long as I can remember, my parents have told me that “good luck is the residue of hard work. The harder you work, the luckier you get.” This year as I ran my cross country season, I saw this firsthand. A very important cross country meet was coming up, and one of our top runners had gotten injured. Although unfortunate, I was given the opportunity to run up with varsity. I would not have been given this opportunity if it wasn’t for my own hard work that I put in daily. As a student taking fairly difficult and advanced classes that are very time consuming, there is no way that I would be able to earn good grades without dedication and perseverance. School isn’t something that necessarily comes naturally for me, and for me to do well, I have to put in the work. I have seen my parents mantra become a reality countless numbers of times in regards to my academic life. For instance, curves on tests. There have been many tests where a curve helped my grade, but only because I studied hard and had a decent grade before the curve had been applied.

I am lucky to live in a country where hard work can create many opportunities for people and help them to reach their goals, despite their social or economic status they were born into. Although certain circumstances make can make it easier or harder for people, in the vast majority of cases, with enough hard work, individuals have the freedom to work their way up to achieve their goals. One example of this is Howard Schultz, someone who grew up in government housing, yet with hard work, built an entire company (Woods). That company was Starbucks. Schultz said, “When I was seven years old, I experienced something that deeply affected me that I carry with me every single day. And that is the scar and the shame of being a poor kid living in government-subsidized housing. I never dreamed I would be in a position one day to be part of a company where I would have authority — let alone build a company.” This is just one of many cases of people who grew up in unfortunate circumstances, but worked hard to achieve great things.

I am very thankful for the things that my parents and country have provided for me. I am very appreciative of the fact that I have grown up with loving and supportive parents who continue to push me to the best version of myself. Although not everyone is fortunate enough to grow up like I have, America provides a sense of hope, growth, and opportunity. Opportunity comes with work ethic. If you want to achieve great things in life, you have to prove that you are willing to work.

Laura Woods, GOBankingRates. “10 Billionaires like Oprah Winfrey Who Grew up Poor.” CNBC, CNBC, 8 Oct. 2019,




This is a 10th grade PreAP Honors English 10 class co-taught with AP U.S. history.

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