If I were asked what my passion was two years ago, I wouldn't be able to answer. I went from wanting to be a painter to wanting to be a lawyer. So scrambled was my mind, and I had no direction.
After searching endlessly, I stumbled upon careers in marketing. Marketing is a sweet blend of innovation and logic. Marketing uses research to influence decisions and invoke a reaction. I think we've all bought something because it looked cool or the advertising was just so good. I want to create something that moves people, something the world remembers even years later.
After discovering careers in marketing, I decided to pursue higher education. After graduating high school, I will be attending Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, in the fall. At Stetson, I will major in Marketing and minor in Graphic Design. During my studies, I plan to acquire internships in my desired field to build connections and secure employment upon completing my Business Administration degree. After establishing myself in the advertising world and gaining power and influence, I plan to venture off and start my marketing firm. My company will focus on promoting minority-owned businesses. In addition, I intend on using my wealth to rebuild Haiti, my birth country that was devastated by an earthquake in 2010 and hasn't recovered since. My philanthropy won't just be limited to Haiti but any community needing refuge.
My desire to help the world comes from the challenges I had to face growing up. I was born in Haiti, where I lived in a small one-bedroom house with my mother and brother. I made mud pies with my cousins and traveled about 10 miles every day to go to school. After my father gained his permanent resident status in the United States, he brought us to America. I went from living in a hut-like structure to living on the third floor of an apartment complex. But that apartment complex was in a dicey neighborhood and had a cockroach and bed bug infestation. After nearly a decade in that two-bedroom apartment before moving to a three-bedroom house in a less seedy area.
It was a significant accomplishment for our family. Everything was going great until my father fell ill and lost his job. After years of running himself ragged to support our family, his health finally waivered. He was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease in 2016. The news devastated our family, but it brought us closer. My brother and I helped improve my father's diet and exercise while my mother picked up more shifts at her housekeeping job. When my father regained his strength, he returned to work. When things seemed to have been picking up for our little family, a pandemic struck the world. My entire family lost their jobs. Once again, we had to seek help from the government. We had to depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Unemployment. The pandemic also left my parents with no choice but to dip into their retirement funds to pay the mortgage.
These experiences caused my mental health to decline, but my faith and drive kept me from drowning. I knew that these tough times won't be for long and that one day I will be in a position to help my family and my community as a whole. I will be the first person in my family to go to college, and I will establish generational wealth in my family- despite our struggles. I will make the last name Simonis synonymous with success.
I didn't always know I was going to change the world. I have, however, always wanted to do something great. I've always been a passionate reader, and I think that somehow gave me the idea that I could do anything and come out triumphant in the end, like all main characters. That idea, combined with the phase of childhood when your career prospects are often changing, led to grand ideas about what I would be. I was a passionate leader, great at writing, and enthusiastic about learning as much as I could. I didn't know what I wanted to be, but I knew no matter what I chose to pursue, I was going to accomplish multitudes.
Soon, I began to pay more attention to the world, where I fit into it, and those around me. I was also fortunate to have teachers and a family that took the time to show me the state of our world. I eventually concluded that I didn't like it. People who looked like me were getting their lives taken daily in the form of murder, incarceration, and a lack of affordable access to just about everything. I was taught that the future of everyone I knew was at stake because of generations of environmental abuse. I found that people I knew were getting separated from their families because of travel bans and immigration laws. Women were still being targeted while men sat back and enjoyed target practice. People grew so attached to their guns, they were defending murderers and terrorists. I began to realize that silent wars were waged every day against women, homeless people, immigrants, lower classes, "underdeveloped" countries, minorities, our friends, our families, the world itself.
The world was up in flames. There I was in the middle of it with more problems to overcome than I could ever imagine. But what is a protagonist without a world to save? Eventually, I joined student council and used my position as president to organize school-wide walkouts against gun violence, donations to homeless shelters, climate change protests, and a recycling system all at my middle school. There, a seed was planted that eventually grew into my passion to make a difference, and soon, I finished middle school, left the country for the summer, and discovered another passion for traveling.
Combining my passions and traits, I decided that I was going to start a nonprofit organization with different departments geared towards major world issues. Each department would have a team of people to work on creating solutions, a group to advertise solutions to the public, and a group actively working in the field to solve the problems. I would be the CEO of the organization and keep in contact with the board of directives to make sure we were sticking to our mission. This is now my dream.
I know that to get there, I need education and experience. I attend Colorado Early Colleges Aurora so I can get my associate's degree early and learn as much as I can. I'm then going on to study and take classes on international development, business administration, sociology, and global sustainability. This will give me a better understanding of world issues and allow me access to the information that will help me find the solutions to our problems. It's not enough for me to simply try and make a difference. With a lot of help and hard work, I truly am going to change the world. After all, who better to make a difference than an over-ambitious black girl with the ability to dream big?