Hope is integral to human nature and human success, so much so that it has become a popular name for women. We use the word in a variety of instances — we hope to get good grades, to get a good job, or to eat a nice meal. Despite its wide application to a number of things, its most important use is in finding a path through despair.
Growing up, I often found ways to distract myself from my environment. This environment often consisted of loud domestic arguments and unsavory so-called “family friends” whose only goals were to party and to neglect the six and ten year old children they were either raising themselves or looking at in their friends’ houses. My home life is much more normal and healthy now, but this only came after years of this insufferable environment. My survival method? YouTube and video games. Zombies were almost as easy to kill as the time that was rarely spent doing homework. People commentating on video games I couldn’t afford to play — or, perhaps, games that prevented my parents from remaining faithful to their third child named Cocaine — allowed me to chuckle and be in awe. This was much preferred over wondering why my parents were always yelling, why my ten year old sister was the only one that comforted me when I cried, and why I couldn’t seem to fit in with the kids whose dads drove them to school on their brand new motorcycles while I was stuck eating Go-Gurt and Ramen Noodles most nights. Distractions were more of a necessity than a commodity, letting my brain breathe the same way my lungs do.
Distractions were relatively easy to come by, but hope was something I happened to stumble upon. I was definitely never hopeful in my math or science skills, but I have always had a knack for language arts. Missing for days at a time at school, I always managed to make up every English test in one sitting with better scores than the kids that actually got to participate in a lesson. My elementary school teachers praised me for this constantly, and a few times I was lucky enough to get some ice cream or candy as a reward for partially revitalizing my exhausted teachers’ careers. This on its own gave me a smidgen of self-confidence and not much else. What did make this a hopeful skill was one of my fifth grade teacher’s constant reminders to go to college. She remarked how English was something that applied to many classes you’d take in college for things like essays, explaining that it’s something that could really help in almost any field. I finally had hope for something; no matter what I decided to do in college, I’d have a fighting chance at getting a good paying job. I wouldn’t have to eat the same way. I wouldn’t have to be stuck listening to arguments every night or smelling traces of alcohol in the kitchen. I had something to work toward that could let me escape problems that seemed never-ending.
While a “knack” for English is only so useful after middle school, it has still served as encouragement for me throughout high school. My domestic life has drastically improved, which has helped my perspective of college evolve from one of escape to one of improved happiness and prospect. Hope’s connotation and use drastically differs from person to person, but those with the least to appreciate have the most positive and life-changing experiences with it.