From “A bit” to “Completely”

I’ve always known I was a bit lucky. In elementary school, we all start to learn the history of our country. We learn about the tenants that America was founded upon; Freedom of Religion being a major one. You also begin to learn the principles that allow us to live our lives how we do. You learn the freedoms granted to us by the Bill of Rights. You learn about freedom of speech, which, in a way, gives us our freedom to think what we want.

I’ve always known I was kind of lucky. I don’t live in Afghanistan. I don’t live in a country that is surrounded in violence. I don’t live in a country where others control what I say or even think. When retired USAF SMSgt. Rex Temple visited our class a few weeks ago, he told us a story of these Afghan boys that said they “hate Americans.” When asked why, they responded that their village’s religious leader had told them to. They didn’t have the right or the voice to disagree with their leader. They weren’t allowed to say anything to the contrary. Their leader hated Americans, so they did too.

I’ve always known I was relatively lucky. I live in a country where I get to go to a great university (Go Bulls!) and excel in my classes to the best of my ability. I live in a country that even though I am in a science degree program (which is very math heavy), it is not an anomaly when I break gender roles and get some of the best grades in my classes. I live in a country where men and women are equals in education.

I’ve always known I was pretty lucky. I don’t live in an absolutely sexist society. This weekend, I read an article of a woman who was going to get a college degree in Asia. Her husband disagreed with her education. When she refused to give her studies up, he came home from business and cut off the fingers on her right hand so she couldn’t write anymore. I know that this is not the “norm” for these Asian countries, but this kind of reaction is unimaginable in America.

I’ve always known I was really lucky. Unlike the woman in the story above, I have an incredible support system. My family and friends have already donated a large amount of supplies or have promised to be on the lookout for supplies. My parents are also very into charity work, and have said that if I can’t meet my school supplies goal, they would be happy to purchase more. I’ve also arranged a supply drive to kick off next month, which is only possible because of the support I receive. From writing this week’s entry, I remember how lucky I am. In the coming weeks, if I ever get discouraged about my results I hope to remember the bravery of the woman above. She is currently learning to write with her left hand so she can continue her education. If I ever get discouraged, I hope to remember the voice that I have that those little boys in Afghanistan don’t. I hope to remember that although I can’t change the sexism present in Asian (including the Middle East) countries, or the freedom to think for yourself in Afghanistan, I can help to make a difference in the lives of Afghan children. I can collect school supplies and help these children get an education.

I’ve always known I was completely lucky.

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About Shelby R.

Shelby Register is in her third year at the University of South Florida. She is pursuing a Bachelor's of Science degree in Chemistry and is participating in the Honors College program. After her graduation, she hopes to go to medical school. In her free time, Shelby likes to volunteer, travel, watch the Food Network, and try out new recipes in the kitchen.
This entry was posted in Awareness campaigns, Charity, Children, School Supplies for Afghan Children, University of South Florida, War in Afghanistan and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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