Comments (65)

Sep 13, 2018

I come from a family of bakers. My mom was a self-taught entrepreneur growing up, currently running and operating one of the most successful bakeries in Boston. My dad never went to college. Prior to my pursuit of an investment banking career, my parents would have never been able to tell you what an investment banker does.

Did your parents work in the financial services industries? Were they bankers?

Yung Bull

Most Helpful
Sep 13, 2018

Poverty.

My mother died of a drug overdose when I was in school and my father couldn't even afford an apartment because he always got drunk and couldn't hold steady work. Now that I'm older I realize that I was skinny growing up not due to my metabolism, rather the less than 3 meals a day deal... My grandparents pretty much raised me and they were a librarian and a janitor.

Nobody in my family has ever attended a college, let alone a University, let alone graduated. The max anyone in my immediate family has seen for money was 45k a year. My grandparents put me through school with minimum debt (wasn't much to begin with as poverty level students are given lots of money) and I can never thank them enough. I'm from a tiny town surrounded by other tiny towns and its just dying.

That started to get long really quick. There's a lot more including abuse from step parents and such but you get the gist. Funnily enough, nobody who has ever hired me or networked with me has any idea of any of this. I want to be held up to the light by my abilities. Got my first FO job last month and it's IB.

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Sep 13, 2018

keep grinding man (girl?)!

Sep 13, 2018

I'm a guy.

That's the plan. I've gone through my professional life so far playing with house money in my mind. I didn't honestly expect to be alive through everything and now that I have and I'm an adult, I don't want to have survived to live an ordinary life. Keep working on you as well :)

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Sep 13, 2018

+1 Loved it.

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Sep 14, 2018

Huge props to you and your hustle, and to your grandparents for being so supportive

Sep 14, 2018

They are legitimately guardian angels. I talk to them twice a week at minimum and even though I'm in IB now and they do realize the money that comes with it, there is always the conversation of "Are your finances okay? Do you need any money? Don't hide it if you're struggling, we want to know if you're okay!"

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Sep 14, 2018

Huge props. Keep grinding!

Sep 14, 2018

Props man. I grew up very close to the WV border in a poor VA community so I knew many kids with backgrounds like yours, but most, unfortunately, fall into the same traps and cycle. When I got to undergrad and, really more so, when I started in industry in NYC I was just blown away by how disconnected some folks are.

I don't know where you're from, but a great book that tells the story of communities like I've described is Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance. I recommended it to some friends and colleagues who really appreciated it as it helps shine a light on the blights of a lot of the rural US that tend to be overlooked in our circles.

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Sep 14, 2018

Thanks man. I'm from a VERY tiny town in rural Vermont so its similar, especially with the drugs, poverty, and decreasing opportunities all around. The biggest struggle for me has absolutely been dealing with the people around me and trying to toe the lines. The social interactions and the office politics are the biggest grind for me because most come from nice backgrounds. I'll definitely check that out though!

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Sep 14, 2018

Damn. Hell of a start to life... good on you and thank you for sharing.

Sep 15, 2018
justphresh:

Poverty.

My mother died of a drug overdose when I was in school and my father couldn't even afford an apartment because he always got drunk and couldn't hold steady work. Now that I'm older I realize that I was skinny growing up not due to my metabolism, rather the less than 3 meals a day deal... My grandparents pretty much raised me and they were a librarian and a janitor.

Nobody in my family has ever attended a college, let alone a University, let alone graduated. The max anyone in my immediate family has seen for money was 45k a year. My grandparents put me through school with minimum debt (wasn't much to begin with as poverty level students are given lots of money) and I can never thank them enough. I'm from a tiny town surrounded by other tiny towns and its just dying.

That started to get long really quick. There's a lot more including abuse from step parents and such but you get the gist. Funnily enough, nobody who has ever hired me or networked with me has any idea of any of this. I want to be held up to the light by my abilities. Got my first FO job last month and it's IB.

I applaud your perseverance, as that's a word that I think you have encountered.

But, with perseverance must come direction. I'm just wondering how you had a compass to get out of where you were (as a young child) and know the path you needed to take. You must not have figured it all out at once, but incrementally; however, I feel you must have had someone of influence (maybe a mentor) late high school/early college to really help along the way. How did it unfold for you?

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Sep 15, 2018

Thank you, its always been the "this too shall pass mentality" for me.

Truthfully, my mentors have always just been everyone. At this point in my life, the average person I talk to I will likely know more on a wider range of subjects because I learned so much to get here. Therefore, I always go into a discussion with someone about what THEY are good at and care about. Its always just let me push them on how much they know about said thing and then I'm learning at the same time and they're happy someone talked about their niche thing. I went to a complete non-target with awful grades, but the people I got to talk to were things like:

  • Biology masters at Johns Hopkins
  • Harvard CS graduate who did Harvard UG/Masters in 5 years and worked for Google and Jane Street
  • Princeton CS graduate who does Financial Engineering for Bloomberg
  • Professor who did M&A work on Wall Street for 25 years and then retired to teach

Those types of people once I got to Uni were the ones that I always thought about the ways they did things and asked questions about what got them to where they are and such. I don't know who I could target as that one specific person, it's never really been that way for me. Seeking out the smartest person in the room and learning from them is what has got me along the way. Now that I'm in a massive bank surrounded by intelligent people who know people who know people, it feels like the potential is limitless.

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Sep 16, 2018

+1. It's incredibly admirable that you were able to overcome all that to get where you are today. Keep killin it

Sep 13, 2018

wolves

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/

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Sep 13, 2018

..................................................

Sep 13, 2018

Mothers side was pretty well off. Granddad was a prominent civil engineer and business man - amassed a niche collection of exotic cars (amongst them was an esoteric collection of rolls royces), he had busts of his image made for him because of his work, had mansions, went to Oxbridge, he gave my aunts and uncles essentially enough money to move to the US themselves to pursue high school and college. My grandma on my mom's side was a fairly well respected accountant. She unfortunately had to raise my mom's younger siblings as my grandpa died young-ish (~late 50s). Most of my mom's siblings are doctors, professors, directors of nursing. She herself went to uni for English then was an operations manager then switched into HR management.

Fathers side.. Was poor. Grandparents on my dad's side were farmers in a rural village in a third world country. My dad was one of the brightest in his family so a lot was riding on him to make a name for himself - which he did He had to carry his own chair and education materials 5+ miles to a run down school every day. Got a lucky break from a local business man who gave him a scholarship for secondary school so he didn't have to do that anymore - he just gave all the rest of the money to his siblings and parents. He eventually went on to university to do Chemical Engineering, topping his class every year and even doing other people's exams for them for money because he was bored. Got snatched up by an oil company afterwards. Some of his siblings have done alright (school teacher and founder of a school) but most are still poor.

Spent most of my elementary school years moving from country to country every ~2 years, living the upper middle class expat lifestyle (business class flights, mega vacations every year, private international school, drivers, househelp, nanny etc etc) then ended up in the UK where my dad decided to switch to a more local package. Fast forward a few years, he's about to make director of engineering at a new company then passes away. My mom loses her job in the recession and we (me and my siblings) get moved to a shitty public school - we go from being very comfortable to poor real quick.

Ended up just hating life, and being slightly depressed from all the bullying/racism etc. Lost a lot of motivation for school but still did ok. Applied and got into a few top tier US/international boarding schools to escape but ultimately couldn't afford it. Ended up doing an MIT backed startup alongside high school for a year to distract myself from all the shit going on which was fun but ultimately had to come to an end.

Took a couple more hits of the depression wave whilst in the final year of school and didn't get into university initially because of grades. Took a year out to travel/work and sort my life out. Went to a less well ranked university for a year, then transferred to what is a semi-target here in the UK to do mathematics and computer science. Did alright this past year, got a spring internship at an elite boutique bank (pretty much have a guaranteed final round for 2019 summer there) and did a quant internship at a top boutique "outsourced-CIO" firm. Got into finance way back when I started learning about career paths back when I was ~14-15.

That's my life story in a post.. it somehow worked out.

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Sep 13, 2018

Dad grew up poor and worked his way up to the middle class. Mom grew up wealthy and spent her way down to the middle class.

To be honest, I'm usually uncomfortable with these types of questions. I'm typically a private person and I find it grating when people ask something so personal such as this (not blaming OP because this is an anonymous message board).

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn
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Sep 14, 2018
Yankee Doodle:

Dad grew up poor and worked his way up to the middle class. Mom grew up wealthy and spent her way down to the middle class.

To be honest, I'm usually uncomfortable with these types of questions. I'm typically a private person and I find it grating when people ask something so personal such as this (not blaming OP because this is an anonymous message board).

Tell me more about yourself

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Sep 13, 2018

Don't work in IB but Eastern European. Family fled communism.

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Sep 18, 2018

Same. My parents fled russia in '90 to Israel

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Sep 29, 2018

I'm in real estate too and my family fled Russia in the 30's. Fled when they began persecuting Jewish families.

Sep 24, 2018

I am of Polish decent, and my parents fled from communism as well.

Parents have background in design and medicine.

Attend a non-target, trying for IB.

I have a few relatives who did business-like things, but no one who went into anything like high finance, and I am hoping to be the first in the family.

Sep 24, 2018

In the same boat. Come from a family of roofers, painters and construction workers. My dad still doesn't understand why I don't get overtime and frequently asks when I'll be joining a union.

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Sep 14, 2018

Come from solid middle class. Dad works in project management, mom works as a social worker. From an area that sends nobody to top colleges, out in middle of nowhere. Also spent the first 12 years of my life on a small farm. Now I go to a semi-target, and am headed to an investment bank in NY next summer.

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Sep 14, 2018

+1 for social worker moms!

  • ij29824DE
  •  Sep 14, 2018

..........

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Sep 15, 2018

I'd bang your mom

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  • ij29824DE
  •  Sep 16, 2018

...............

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Sep 16, 2018
michigan10483:

I come a decent family (upper middle class?); my father was a VC partner, CEO, and entreprenuer - he grew up in a third world country and worked to his current position. My mom also came from the same third world country, but upon arriving in the US, she was attending a shitty non-target and wasting her life away, quite on the contrary from my dad. In addition, one could classify her as a gold digger, cheater, and sub-110 IQ moron.

People are giving this comment MS, but there are horrible mothers out there, many of whom didn't want or weren't ever fit to have kids. It is likely worse than not having a mother at all.

The one person who is supposed to love you the most and unconditionally shows no affection and at most times outright anger/disdain.

Sep 16, 2018
TechBanking:
michigan10483:

I come a decent family (upper middle class?); my father was a VC partner, CEO, and entreprenuer - he grew up in a third world country and worked to his current position. My mom also came from the same third world country, but upon arriving in the US, she was attending a shitty non-target and wasting her life away, quite on the contrary from my dad. In addition, one could classify her as a gold digger, cheater, and sub-110 IQ moron.

People are giving this comment MS, but there are horrible mothers out there, many of whom didn't want or weren't ever fit to have kids. It is likely worse than not having a mother at all.

The one person who is supposed to love you the most and unconditionally shows no affection and at most times outright anger/disdain.

I agree with this. It's a real problem when parents give no emotional or mental support. I almost believe that's greatly of more importance than money. I'd think money means parents would have the space and freedom to offer up more emotional/mental support, which would be a contributing factor for success. But that's not dependent upon having money. Money means nothing to kids. But engaged and supportive adults mean everything.

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Sep 14, 2018

Poor, single-parent family kid to a nail salon worker who happened to use the Internet a lot and found College Confidential literally in middle school, applied to a top boarding school, got in on full financial aid, then got into an Ivy League. Kind of an unlikely story I suppose.

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Oct 1, 2018

Another prep school kid, nepsac? Didn't know I wanted Banking at the time but my roommates dad was a Bb md, kid down the hall had a dad who was a hedge fund manager, and another kid on the floors dad was a global head at another bb. Surprisingly, my school doesn't pump kids to finance the way some of the others in the conference did.

Came from two parents who grew up poor and worked in the humanities. Brother in consulting. Used sports to get me into college and once I figured out I wanted IB I used my prep school connections heavily.

The fact my parents grew up very poor helps me stay humble, something I'm very proud of

Sep 14, 2018

Very Italian-American family. Both my parents came from Pennsylvania (Lehigh Valley area). Family has been in the US for 4 generations and made their living here by working for the Bethlehem Steel Company. The first three generations worked for BSCo, but my father saw the sky darken over the American steel industry after the collapse of Youngstown Sheet & Tube in the 70's, and decided to do something else. He has since become a professor. My mother wanted to get out of the Valley as well, and pursued a career in social work. A criminally underpaid profession, but she is fantastic at it and helps so many people. They met at some point in between. The amount of lives the two of them touch is incredible.

I myself grew up working class in a former industry town in the northeast that I grew to hate over the years, but now I just feel bad for it as more people leave and the place continues to change in many ways for the worst. We had hard times here and there but managed to get by without sacrificing too much. I honestly wanted to go into finance (originally medicine) for the money, and I cannot wait to give back to the fam. I'm buying my dad a gorgeous porsche the minute I can safely afford it.

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Sep 14, 2018

Dad was born in China. His mom, a manicurist, was second generation non-Chinese born in China. She raised him alone, as my grandfather abandoned them when Dad was about 3. Dad left school at 12 years old to help support the 2 of them.

Mom was born in the D.R., deep in the reign of Trujillo's dictatorship. Her mom was a stay at home mom but always hustled with selling numbers [today's lottery tickets], renting the spare room, sometimes literally taking a live turkey or chicken for someone's rent money. Mom's dad was a professor, so while it meant he was smart and educated, he made very little money because he wouldn't align himself with Trujillo. Grandmother divorced him after having 3 kids in less than 6 years. My mom, grandmother and uncle were so poor, they sold bananas out of their home and were occasionally homeless. Mom finished high school, managed to attend a year of art school [she's very talented, I've kept all her sketches and have framed several].

Mom to this day can't stomach the smell of ripe bananas.

Dad had issues with his visa when he left China for Brazil, wound up stuck on a ship for over a year, making multiple trans-Atlantic crossings because he had a "stateless" passport which is what you got in China when you didn't have 3 generations of your family born there before you. But turns out, it's also the sort of passport that was issued to spies and other types where your country doesn't want to recognize you if you get caught on the wrong side of the law.

Trujillo was up for "re-election" and heard about my dad since he was actually written about in the newspapers as "the man without a country", no I'm not kidding, I have the clippings. Trujillo was a massive egomaniac who wanted to prove how evolved and sensitive he was to the plight of others and so gave my dad asylum when various countries didn't want to give my dad a visa, thinking he was a spy.

Dad was a jack of all trades, good with languages and his hands, he was a repairman. He got a room at my grandmother's boardinghouse which is how he and Mom met. :)

They married, came to the US hardly speaking English, going to night school to learn ingles.

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Sep 14, 2018

Dad grew up middle class, mom grew up relatively poor on a farm. Both were the first to go to college and the first to go to graduate school. Dad was an insurance benefits executive and mom was and is a social worker. I grew up upper middle class.

I am not in banking

Sep 14, 2018

Both of my parents are from Southeastern Europe but moved to Germany first and then here about two decades ago. My mom comes from a somewhat well off family who were part of the gentry, and held offices in the government and were high ranking military officials pre and during WW2, but their wealth decreased as communism took over after WW2. My dad's family was solidly middle-class with his dad being an artisan.

Sep 15, 2018

I've been lucky to grow up in a fantastic environment compared to my parents. It's part of my drive.. knowing that I have an opportunity that a lot don't have. My dad was switched around various foster homes because his biological dad died when he was five, and his mom was a raging alcoholic. My dad went into the military and now works for the government. My mom immigrated to CA from Mexico and had a really harsh childhood. She is now a teacher and used to specialize in teaching English learners.
Both my parents ended up going to college while working full time and raising myself and my siblings. I attended both of their graduations. They also saved up money so my siblings and I could go to college without taking on debt. I really can't express how grateful I am for them and how they raised me. Goal of mine is to turn around and take care of them as soon as possible. My dad probably won't ever accept retirement (he likes to be busy and hates golf), so I would like to go in on real estate investment deals with him. Hopefully we can co-manage some core plus type acquisitions. My mom has always wanted to have a condo in La Jolla, so thats another goal of mine to get her one.

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Sep 16, 2018

Parents were both public servants who never went to college. Growing up in a third world country, they never made more than $20-30k a year (on a US dollar basis).

Were it not for a 100% financial aid package I would've never been able to have gone to a college in the US. Honestly, very grateful to the generosity of the Americans.

Went into IB for the money coz I knew how frustrating it is to grow up deprived of opportunities (due to the monetary factor). Simple as that. Frankly speaking, nothing in IB particularly interests me that much - I just don't see how other industries are better. I'm still thinking of quitting to do something else as soon as I hit a target # to get my personal life back (and in order) though.

Sep 16, 2018

"Typical" IB background. Born in the upper middle class in a suburban area. Mum was the editor of a magazine and dad was an engineer in the oil industry. We moved around a bit (US, UK and Scandinavia) when I was young because of my dad's work. Went to a target undergrad and semi-target postgrad before landing a S&T gig.

Both my uncles worked at PE firms in the energy and real estate sector and would talk about business at family dinners, which lightened my "spark" at a fairly young age. I had internships at RE PE shops during my undergrad and I'm pretty sure I got my foot in the door because of my uncle's connections.

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Funniest
Sep 16, 2018

I'm half and half. Me dad's a muggle, mam's a witch. Bit of a nasty shock for him when he found out

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Sep 16, 2018

First generation immigrant -- came here with my mom over 15 years ago. She was a single mom with the equivalent of an Associate's Degree. Prior to coming here, she had been a stay-at-home mom, so she had no marketable skills. She worked her ass off as a waitress to put me through college. With her help, I graduated without any debt.

My dad worked at an electronics company in Asia (like Samsung, but smaller). It was a decent office job that sent him to China/Singapore/Hong Kong a lot. I lost contact with him in eighth grade and never felt the urge to find him and reconnect. Don't really know what he does now. He's probably the reason why I was drawn to a corporate career.

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Sep 21, 2018

i think it might be a good idea to try and reach out. you never know.

Oct 4, 2018

Mmmm, nah. Not unless he's secretly a billionaire.

Sep 17, 2018

Grandpa (dads side) had his own business which put his family into middle-class. His brothers were successful executives overseas. So the business acumen def lies on that side of the family.

But with that said, my father struggled with severe anxiety and ADD, and never really did anything in life. He was whip smart, but fell into alcoholism in his late 20's, which he would die from 20 years later.(It's a terrible way to go out) His parents (grandma / grandpa) would back him up through life, financially, which in turn probably enabled his alcoholism. My parents separated when I was 3, so I only visited him once or twice a year, due to the distance. He never finished his college education. Ironically, my aunt and uncle (younger than dad) both turned out out well, and are doing great in life (upper-middle class families). Both have only have one child each...while my dad, the party animal he was, ended up with 5 kids before his death.

My mother (foreigner) has always been insecure, and unfortunately fell into a terrible relationship, which lasted up until I was in my late teens. And by terrible, I mean terrible as in with a legit psychopath. She took the work she could find, and didn't muster up courage to try college before she was in her 40's.

Truth be told, my grandparents put me through college, and have always been my second set of parents. I was originally aiming to be a musician, but they convinced me to get a degree in Engineering instead.

With that said, I come from a family of underachievers - so there were never any strict rules regarding homework or sports. Passing grades were good enough, with the mantra of "well, as long as you try your best".

I owe everything to my grandparents, but I wish my family would have been stricter. The complete and utter lack of expectations did not do any good for my work ethics, and of such I've never been a good academic student. It took me years to form good study habits.

Sep 21, 2018

I started from the bottom now I'm here. Living at my mama's house we'd argue every month. I was busy trying to get it on my own working all night fighting traffic on the way home.

Sep 21, 2018

The details of my life are quite inconsequential... where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Some times he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy, the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.

My childhood was typical, summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds, pretty standard really. At the age of 12 I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen, a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum, it's breathtaking, I suggest you try it.

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Sep 21, 2018

My mom and dad both grew up in the shadow of the Korean War. They both were from absolutely filthy rich families that lost everything in the war. I can only imagine how it was like for them back then :(

My mom and dad moved to Silicon Valley knowing minimal english, with two kids, and without much money. It was a nonstop grind for them back then, and it's impossible for me to imagine all the shit they went through. I know I couldn't have done it. Whenever I think I have it hard I always remember what my grandparents and my parents went through to get me here; then I realize I should stop complaining and work even harder.

Fun fact: I'm half north korean!

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Sep 21, 2018

Immigrated to the US with a single parent from a developing country in early teenage years. Now the first in my family to attend college and enter into finance. Needless to say there are many challenges that came with those two statements alone. I have too much respect for those who come from difficult backgrounds and work their way into competitive fields or do something impactful to help others

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Sep 22, 2018

Not a banker, but my family worked in Commercial real estate, a different piece of the puzzle than I do now, but that probably influenced my decision.

Sep 25, 2018

Still a student, but here is my background. I was born in a third world country and lived in extreme poverty most of my life. My father left my family for another family, once he found out my mom was pregnant with me, so I always grew up hating him. My mother could never walk and relied on a wheelchair to get around, she had never even attended grade school as the opportunities for disable people in the country were non existent.

She worked at home and would end up working an average of 80-90 hours a week sewing to try to make ends meet. Even through all her hardwork we still couldnt afford food most of the time and would rely on rice for most of our meals. Ever since I remember me and my brother tried helping her by pushing her wheelchair whenever we could, imagine a 5 year old pushing his moms wheelchair while his 3 year old brother walks next to him.

Our housing situation consisted of a shed in a parking lot that we also would rent out as parking every night, no heat, no proper plumbing and dirt floors. Our father would come once a week to visit to discipline us, we would get savagely beat if we had misbehaved or did bad in school. Even though it all sounds pretty shitty, we were happy at the time, unaware of how little we had, we were just happy to have each other.

We migrated to the US a few years later, while things werent as bad as before we still went through a lot of shit. We had no money and with not even the ability to write my mom had trouble finding a job for years. We lived with a family member who had multiple children, and it was hell. We would be ridiculed, physically abuse, and discriminated against daily, our only privacy was in our tiny little room that the 3 of us shared. It got to the point where my mom was physically pushed off her wheelchair by my little cousins.

Things finally got better once a social worker helped our family and we were able to get government help (housing,food stamps, and all that). We finally moved to our own place and after that I pretty much had a normal life, we were never able to afford luxuries, but we had always food available and a place to call home.

To some extend our rough beginnings fucked me and my brother up, we both had a lot of anger issues and many demons that we struggled to cope with during our late late 10's/early 20's. I had a few more shitty things happen to me during late high school and college that affected my path, but made me who Iam today and Im grateful for those experiences.

I tend to always try to remember where I came from and what I had to endure and use it as motivation to keep going. My goal is just to be able to give my mom a chance to finally enjoy life, I dont care if I have to work 110 hours a week, as long as Im able to make her happy and finally spoil her like she deserves.

My only regret is not seeking out this type of knowledge early on. I knew I was bright, I was acknowledge as bright by my peers, but I never took advantage of my brightness. I never knew what interested me, I didnt know shit about college, and that all resulted in me wasting years where I could had excelled. It took a shit ton of failures, to finally mold myself into the type of student and person that I wanted to be.

Sep 25, 2018

My mother was a hamster and my father smelt of elderberries

Sep 29, 2018

--

Oct 5, 2018

I grew up in South Boston, in an out of the system at times. I took on a job as a Janitor at MIT and some nights to get a kick I would answer math problems that some professors left on the board. After a while, they caught on. I would go on to leave the custodial arts and kick it with these guys doing math problems until I was picked up by a top tier firm in California. Coincidentally, my girlfriend at the time was at Stanford, so it all worked out.
- William

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Oct 10, 2018
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Oct 11, 2018
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Oct 11, 2018