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"Always do your best because, regardless of whether you win or lose, you gave it your all" is a saying my mother lived by. I am grateful for these words because they have guided me throughout my life. They emphasized how much I could do in my life mentally, physically and emotionally if I just focused. I learned that the only thing that can stop me from achieving a goal is me. So I'd better work hard if I wanted things out of life because they were not going to come to me. I had to go out and get them. I began to live realistically instead of foolishly making up excuses for my faults. They were just that—excuses. It became clear to me that I didn't do well in school because I didn't study hard enough, and I was far from giving it my all. As I grew older, I focused more on important things and remembered my mother's words. I graduated with a 3.0 grade point average and received my business degree while married with two children. I made her proud when I didn't let anything stand in my way because, like she said, "The only thing that can stop me from succeeding is me." Thank you, Mom. I will have more for my family because of you, and I can pass to them the knowledge so they can have more than me.

Crystal; Fresh Meadows, New York


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