I'm an "ACR" or "Alachua County Resident."

My life story has to start with my parents. My mom, Sawsan, and my dad, Mustafa, made the journey from Egypt and over the Atlantic Ocean in the 1950s. My dad came over with only $30 in his wallet and ate canned foods in the smallest of apartments as he tried his hardest to find a job. He eventually started working at the University of Florida's Grounds Department in the Physical Plant Division and retired from there in October of 2006 after 35 years.

My mom decided to come to the United States with my dad after the two got married in Egypt. Sawsan learned English by watching "Sesame Street" and attending night classes at a church that used to be located around where Target Copy on University Avenue is located today. Now she's had about 20 years of teaching experience and currently teaches headstart at Prairie View Academy. Sawsan is also taking care of unfinished buisness as she tries to finish her college education at Santa Fe Community College. She was never able to go to college in Egypt, because she made the decision to come to the U.S. with my dad. Now she's close to getting her bachelor's degree in Childhood Development.

As far as I go, I'm a 24-year-old journalism student at the University of Florida. I'm trying to continue what my parents did: Live the American Dream. My competitiveness is a fast car. It can drive me somewhere quick or it can get me in a bad wreck. In the end, it always picks me up on its way to the gas station so I can fill her up. Ever since high school, I've spent so much time studying this machine. It's a beastly machine and any destination can be reached in it. The only thing is I'm at the wheel, but I always feel like I'm in the passenger seat...