Essay on "A Person Who Influenced Me The Most"

My Grandma
    Have you ever imagined how your life would be different if a key person were not in it, like a mother, father, spouse, or child? Some people are so integral to making us who we are that without them, our very identity would be changed. My grandmother is a key figure in my life who has left an indelible impression on me. She is a woman of great influence because of her stability, her work ethic, and her independent spirit. 

    Grandma is the matriarch of our family. Because she has a close relationship with us and a great deal of wisdom, her seven children and sixteen grandchildren often seek her out for advice. We look to her for advice on everything from how to potty train a toddler to how to break up with a boyfriend. Grandma relishes the fact that we ask her for advice, but she never offers it without being sought out. She is like a rock: never-changing. My own parents got divorced when I was twelve, but I always knew that Grandma's house was a source of stability when the rest of my world seemed tumultuous. This sense of security has helped me face other challenges as they come along in life, like when we moved during my freshman year of high school. 

    Grandma also inspired me to pursue my goals. Because of the trials she faced without shrinking back, I am able to have the strength to work hard and try to realize my dreams. Grandma didn't have it easy. Because she was a single parent from a fairly young age, offices to save for her children's college educations. She received no help from the outside and was totally independent from her own family's help. Grandma always stressed the importance of education to all of us in achieving our goals. Grandma's example of hard work and her emphasis on education have strengthened me to pursue a college degree, and eventually a PhD. Even though I will have to work to get through school, I know that if Grandma worked while raising seven children alone, I can handle taking care of myself. Her tireless example is truly inspirational. She has also encouraged me in my chose career, teaching, because she feels it will blend well with family life when I eventually have my own children. 

    Perhaps the most significant legacy Grandma has left me is her example of always voicing her opinion despite what people would say behind her back. In an age where segregation in social circles was common, Grandma's dinners after church on Sundays would look like a United Nations meeting. She would include all races and nationalities, and became close friends with a very diverse group of people. If someone tried to put down another race, she would quickly voice her disagreement. This refusal to be swayed by "popular" opinion had a huge impact on me, and is a guiding principle in my life today. 

    I certainly would not be the person I am today, inside or out, without the influence of my grandmother upon my life. I can only aspire to imitate her stability, her work ethic, and her refusal to be silenced by other people's disapproval.