Voices From the Inside: Youth Prison Writings


prisonpicThis is the second to last post in our occasional series of essays, poems and artwork by young people incarcerated in Illinois where youth write about a future outside of prison walls. “Looking In, Looking Out: Reflections of Youth Changing Their Lives” was compiled by the John Howard Association of Illinois . This week D.R., 16, reflects on the future with an essay entitled “What To Be When You Grow Up”

What To Be When You Grow Up

When you were a kid you always wanted to be something you thought was cool,
maybe like an actor, rapper, astronaut, or some kind of professional athlete. When you
start going towards adulthood you realize that you need to think of a more realistic career
plan. When I was young I wanted to be a professional football player, but then I realized
the difficulty of the sport, the probability of making it into the sport, and realizing that I
needed to think of something to do with my life.
One of the things that changed my mind was realizing the difficulty it took to
play this sport at a professional level. The NFL requires commitment to the sport all year
round. The practices you have to go to and all the energy you have to put into it. Also
it requires a large amount of talent. You must be fast, big, strong, and you must be able
to take hits. It also requires extreme knowledge of the game and you must memorize
hundreds of plays and be able to make quick changes during the pre-snap.
I also realized the probability of making it into the NFL. The chances of someone
making it into the NFL are about 1/3000 which is very dim. Many college football players
work all their life so they can make it through training camp and usually most of the
rookies get cut. Which really brought my hopes down.
Finally I realized that I needed a more reasonable career. I knew that I wanted to
own my own home, and care and all those other nice things. Also I knew that I needed to
be able to support a family, and in order for me to accomplish all these things I needed to
have a steady income. So that's when I decided that I should start looking for a career to
study in college so that I can have a good life.
Always let a child believe that he/she will become what they want to. You should
always encourage them to follow their dreams, but when times comes for them to man up
and really figure out what they want to do in life that's when parents and friend should do
everything they can so they can have a successful life.
D.R., 16

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