I have never been one for wanting to succeed in life, but that is because I was always told I couldn’t. Growing up in the area where I am from, and being a male you only have two choices: go to jail or die. Since I didn’t want to do either I decided to enroll in college, but only to get away from all the drama in my city; not to become something great. I figured if I get a degree in computers I can easily snag a job as an IT guy and make some easy money. When I first arrived on the college campus it was nothing that I thought it would be.
I saw all types of people from all over the world, and from all types of ethnic groups. I mostly stayed to myself since I was always a big loner growing up. I was taught that was the only way to be if you wanted to stay alive. At night I wouldn't be caught outside unless I wanted a death wish so I made sure to be in way before the street lights hit. My first day in my classes was normal to me. They reminded me of high school so it was easy to adapt to. As I left my first class I passed a sign that said Garden of Your Dreams; Come and Make A Wish, but I kept walking paying it no mind. I went to my other classes and then to my dorm room. A few of my roommates asked me if I wanted to go to a party with them, but I wasn’t into any of that, so I politely declined. As I laid on my back looking up at the ceiling I began to wonder what this life had for me. Did I really want to get a degree in IT?
Was I going to go back to my hometown to get a job? Or was I going to leave and go as far away as possible to start a new life? Wherever I went I was going to make it count. I always enjoyed cooking, but I was told a chef makes no money so I decided to do something else; something that made money I guess. The next day I did the same thing: get up, get dressed, and go to all of my classes. They were so boring, yet informative for somebody that enjoyed computers. I walked past that sign again Garden of Your Dreams; Come and Make A Wish, but I kept walking. I did this for like a month, just waking up each day and walking to class like I was a zombie, feeling like the only purpose in my life was to live until I died. Until one day, when I decided to take a reroute to my second class leaving my first. I was beginning to get tired of taking the same route over and over again, doing the samething everyday, so I went a different way, and got lost. I began to look all around me to see if I could find a familiar landmark, but I couldn’t. Where in the world was I at?
I decided to go into this building and ask for directions, but I spotted a garden. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but then I began to realize I was in the garden I pass by everyday. “Can I help you,” an older lady asked, holding a pot. “I just need some directions that’s all.” She smiled at me and asked me where I was going so I told her. “Oh so you like computers?” “Not really,” I said. “Then why are you going to a computer class? Is it a freshman course?” “No, my major is in computers.” “But I thought you said you didn’t like computers.” “I don’t,” I said feeling bummed out. She sensed my emotion and decided not to pry, but it was too late. Before I knew it I was pouring my heart out to the old lady like I had known her my entire life. “I never wanted to go to school for computers. I always wanted to be a chef. Cook for people and work in a famous 5-star restaurant, but from where I’m from, you can’t do those types of things and be successful.” “Honey who told you this?” “My mother.” The lady sighed and walked out of the room. I thought she was annoyed with hearing me rant so I turned around to walk out of the door. “Here honey,” she said, handing me a flower pot. “What do I do with this?” “Set it in the sun, water it everyday, and make a wish. Each day that you wake up, believe that you can be whatever you want to be.” I walked away with a flower pot and directions on how to get to where I was trying to go originally.
The rest of that semester I did exactly what she told me to do. I woke up, watered my plant, and made a wish. As the plant grew, so did I (mentally). By the end of the semester I had a sunflower as big as me and I changed my major from IT to culinary arts. I worked hard every day and busted my butt up until I graduated. The day before graduation I entered into the flower shop and looked for the little old lady, but couldn’t find her, so I went into the back where she came from and found a garden.
I stood there looking at the garden as each plant had a tag on it, yet one seemed to stick out the most to me. I walked up to the tag and it had my name on it. “I grew that for you,” said the old lady as I turned around. “It was supposed to be your graduation gift.” “Why is mine different from the rest?” “Because you inspired me the most. When I first met you, you were broken, but I saw something in you that you didn’t, so I motivated you. The sunflower didn’t help you grow, you helped yourself. All you needed was a push. Now you take your degree and be the best chef you were born to be, and don’t ever underestimate what you can do again.” I smiled at her, grabbed my flower she made me, and walked towards the door. I stopped because I remembered why I came in the first place. I pulled out a bag filled with sunflower seeds and sat them on her desk. “I brought these for you. You can eat them or grow more, it’s up to you, but ma’am, thank you.” I walked out of the door and across the stage beginning my journey to a new and improved life, all thanks to the little old lady that saw what I didn’t see in myself.