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To the Kids Back Home Who Feel Stuck

I grew up in a small, rural town. A town with no funds. A town where trailer parks are more common than actual parks. A town that seems impossible to get out of. It’s like a venus fly trap that no one seems to be able to completely escape. The people who leave only do so temporarily. They’ll be gone for a couple of years, but they always seem to find a way back.

My home town doesn’t have much to offer. It’s drug infested, and many people tend to fall into this trap within the trap. Opportunities aren’t exactly there. The education offered is, well, s***. The mindset of many is to “ruin other lives, since I’m not doing anything with my own”.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  It isn’t all bad. My hometown is my hometown, and that is something I can never change. This is where I grew up. My family is here. All of my childhood friends that I grew up with are here.

 Yet, despite these few good things, it’s hard to see past the sense of self doubt that the environment of my town seems to install. Very few get past it, and so many get trapped in it. School administrators and counselors tell you “you’re too stupid to take this class”. Clothing determines your worth. If it’s obvious your family doesn’t receive sufficient income, you are not helped- you are judged. If you have a tiny slip up like any other person, you never live past it. If you are not a perfect human, living up to this tiny town’s standards, you will be treated like an outcast. Treating people as such can be detrimental on their self-worth. Treating people like they’re awful, can make them believe they are awful.

If you are from my hometown, or from a similar town, you may be sitting there thinking  “this is all wrong. My self-worth was never harmed from this town. I wasn’t treated like a lesser being. Drug abuse never affected me. I didn’t feel like I have to stay in this town.” Great, you weren’t affected and I’m glad you weren’t. Yet there are people in these towns who have the same level of potential as you, but never realize it. When you’re treated as a lesser being, you begin to view yourself as such.

Now, for those who feel that they are trapped, you’re not. You’re only as trapped as you let yourself be. Don’t let negative people in your community stop you from chasing your dreams. Don’t let negative people make you feel like you are less than what you really are. You can do anything you put your mind to. If you’re happy in your hometown, stay there and thrive. If you’re not happy, leave and find your happiness. Go to college if you want to. There are scholarships and grants that will help you along the way. If you want to become a famous musician, work hard and practice every day. If you simply want to move out of town, go. Get out. Go discover some place you want to be.

Make your dreams a reality. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Don’t let people belittle you. Don’t let the price of things scare you. Know your worth. Know your capabilities. Never stop chasing what you want. 

Kathryn is currently an undergraduate student at Purdue University transitioning into studying aeronautical engineering technology. When not studying she enjoys going to the gym, modeling, and going out with her friends.
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