Growing up in areas affected by crime, gangs and substance abuse, it is easy for some people to use this as an excuse and never dream.Although some do try to rise above their circumstances, most people end up settling for less as all they see is negativity.However, there is one Hillview resident who says he has seen it all but has never used it as an excuse.Alexandro Daniels (24) says he wants to tell others from his area that it is possible to dream big.Daniels, who recently graduated from the University of the Free State with a degree in English, took to Facebook to share his story. His post reads: “Today I receive my degree, with a distinction, and as I reflect on the day that has passed, I realise that I owe it to all the little boys from the Flats, who believe they are destined to fall prey to gangsterism, drugs and poverty, to inspire them to aspire to be more than just a statistic. I too walked the streets of Lavender Hill, Seawinds and Steenberg every morning, for 45 minutes, to get to school. I too lived in those areas in which gang violence, assault, robbery and drug abuse were a normal part of my daily life. For many coloured boys from the Flats, like me, a university career was never an option, and therefore we choose to live in the now, #Yolo. But all that Yolo brings is a few, short moments of laughs among friends. Friends, who, I can guarantee you, will not be there tomorrow. To my coloured boys, don’t seek a false sense of security in the circles that you run. You are more than what you believe you are capable of. Your worth is not determined by your net worth.”Daniels says his idea was to inspire people from his area. He didn’t apply to go to university because where he comes from, that was not a priority. “I didn’t apply to go to university because I thought I would get a job in the retail industry and that was that for me. But when I got my matric results I thought they were too good to waste. I made calls around and I was accepted at the University of the Free State and got a bursary. Being in Bloemfontein for studies and going home just for holidays, I realised that people in my area and in Cape Town generally don’t dream a lot. They never aspire to be out of the areas they live in and I hope I can inspire someone,” he says.Currently doing his Honours in English, Daniels says he wants to earn his PhD before he turns 30. “I want to be an example. I want people in my area to have a testimony. It is possible to dream. You can be whatever you want and don’t settle for less. We don’t have enough role models and all you see is the bad. I want to go back to my community and help. I want to show everyone that there is more to life. My message is more for the coloured boys to dream big. Never use where you come from as an excuse. Where you are going is all that matters,” he says.