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Word Count: 989
When I was nine years old my family fled Sri Lanka to escape thecivil war that ravaged our country February 18 2000 we packed our livesinto four suitcases and boarded a plane westward with only 210 in cashAlthough numerous obstacles have consumed our time in the United Statesthe personal challenges my family has endured together and the educationalchallenges I have faced alone have profoundly influenced my pursuit of acareer in law My father never completed the sixth grade and could not speak Englishfluently This made it difficult for him to find a permanent employment andas a result my family experienced ongoing economic and geographicinstability We moved constantly throughout California and eventually wecame to Riverside but even now the instability remains despite owning ahome we have nearly lost it several times because of economic hardshipsWhile these difficulties may appear daunting they have taught my familyand I essential life lessons My parents taught me that anything was possible if I worked hardenough to accomplish it I learned at a very young age to apply myself inany task I set out to do When my mother was cleaning houses for a livingI would accompany her to work if she became sick I cleaned the entirehomes myself During the weekend my father and brother passed phone booksaround the city to earn 40 a month to help pay the electricity and waterbills My brother and I walked around the apartment complex collectingempty plastic bottles and aluminum cans to earn some cash from recyclingOur hearts filled with excitement when we saw free furniture and clothesleft outside houses In 2006 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancerwhich affected our lives tremendously To help with my familys bleakfinancial situation I worked full-time as a senior in high school toprovide for my family applying for college was tiresome with all theexternal pressures but I knew gaining an education
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