Project 1 Revision – Waleed Qureshi

Waleed Qureshi 

ENG 1121 

Prof. Carrie Hall 



Project 1 Revised 

August 13, 2015, that was the day I was lost. Lost as I was so deep into the sea of disappointment that I just did not know what to do. Something I was confident at a time that would be so easy to achieve but the results just left me utterly confused. 

September 2014, I started my first year as a Cambridge O-Level (both years equal high school) student in Pakistan. I was always very bad at studies scoring a C or D, at max I got a B in my English or Urdu. I first I thought of this just as a normal year, but then as I started progressing through the semester, I started getting focused on what I had to accomplish. This meant that I had to get good grades in my Urdu, Islamiat and Pakistan Studies since my parents had to pay an expensive fee which was separate from the school fees itself. This basically meant that we had to pay double the amount of an expensive fee already. This was my motivation for the semester. 

Our first term ended by the end of December so that meant that this was the time to study for the CIEs (Cambridge International Examination). My friend at that time talked me into attending a professor’s academy who taught us Pakistan Studies and Islamiat. He was a great teacher and always cleared our confusions when we had any. Another thing that he did while teaching was that when he told us to copy the notes, used to tell us life lessons that he had learned in his life and the things that we may encounter at some point in our life. I don’t remember most of them but there was one that I haven’t forgotten and probably won’t forget. He told us that if we say something, stick by it. Overall, I had fun studying with him and I believed that I was ready to get an A or at least B in my finals CIEs. 

We had our exams in May to June at exams halls that were usually very far from all our houses so me and two other friends that we would go to the exam halls together with the friend who had a driver to drop him off and, so we did. I wasn’t worried about Islamiat and Pakistan studies, but I was worried about Urdu because during the whole year, I didn’t take any extra classes or academies for Urdu. 

Our results for these exams came to us in August since they were checked at Cambridge University. Then came the fateful day on which we got our exams back, August 13th. I woke up at ten. Got to school at 11. The school was 5 minutes’ walk from my house, so I went there after I got easy. There was a complete rush of students trying to get their results. Of course, my classmates and friends were there as well. Now most of my class was really happy because they had gotten their results and they had very good grades. This made me confident that I might have passed easily. I went to the room everyone was getting their results at. My turn came, I received a copy of my exam and an original sent from the Cambridge University.  

I opened the envelope in which the result was contained. My result had one fail (u’ grade which is called ungraded in Pakistan), one D and one B. I was totally devastated. Totally confused. Was this what I deserved? Did I not work hard enough? These were just some of the questions that came into my mind. Everyone kept asking me my grade, but I had lost the guts to say anything but obviously I did answer them and told them my grades. After a few minutes, I found my old friend and we told each other our grades and while he had all As, I hardly passed in mine. We later decided to go out to eat something while I gathered the guts to explain my grades to my parents because they had very high hopes from me. 

That day, either I was extremely sad or the food at that restaurant we went to tasted bad. I couldn’t tell. After sulking for half an hour, I dropped my friend at his house and then went back to my own. I told my mother about the result. My mother showed her usual face and basically made me feel guilty with her somewhat usual insults which never mattered to me, but today was different. Today, I felt like she was saying the truth. She was always saying the truth before too in her insults, but I knew that they were right and just told my mother that why should I change myself because I liked being what I was and at that time, I felt like I was perfect. Until then of course 

My father and brother lived in New York, so they still didn’t know. My father lived there for almost 20 years at that time because of work. He only called us there for the summer but otherwise we stayed in Pakistan. The reason being, he thought that us knowing our own culture is very important. When I was young, I never understood his decision. I even like 4 or 5 times when I was young because I wanted to live in New York but now I understand what he meant and I respect his decision. Now I am at the point at which my main reason to work hard is so someday I can return with peace. 

My brother on the other hand lived in Pakistan his whole life, just like me and left Pakistan after his O-levels and A-levels to continue his study. Just like I am here right now. I always looked up to my brother because to me, he lived his life to the fullest. He got good grades in school, played sports tournaments and even went out of city sometimes just to chill with his friends. 

Of course, I didn’t tell them the results myself because I was scared. My mother told them the results while I stayed behind the webcam hearing everything. Both were very angry. Now obviously I had to give those exams again. I again paid the school 15000 Rupees and this time the fee was lower because I only had to repeat the failed subject.  

The next exams were in October to November. This meant that I had at least 2 months to prepare but this time however things were different. It’s not that I studied harder than the last time. No. How could I? Because after one week my self-esteem had faded away and I wasn’t fazed by anything. My friend that went to the restaurant with me even started to beg me to study. He even invited me to his house to attempt a past paper, but I just quit after 5 minutes. 

Now came the days of them exams. I had to give 2 papers for one subject. This basically meant that exam was divided into 2 parts. My father and brother were also in Pakistan. This made the situation even more intense. I faced constant talks about my grades and how I might fail again but I survived and usually spent my time in my room. I did stop going out to chill though. So, for my first paper, I managed to study one week. Every one of my family members knew this and that was why they were worried. I gave the paper. I had almost twenty days to prepare I believe. And, I did nothing in those twenty days. Instead I just reviewed my old notes one day before the exam. I don’t know why but at the time, the only thing I worried about was that I was not worried at all. After that I just gave the last exam and waited for results to come in and I was going to receive them on January 15th, I think. 

The day finally came, even though I didn’t hope for it to come but it did. I just went to my school for regular classes, I had even forgotten about the results but then literally the whole class came to me and congratulated me. That was the point I realized that I talk a lot in class. Then my most of my friends came running towards me and congratulated me as well. I had realized by then that everyone was congratulating me for my result, but I still did not know what grade I had. All I knew was that I passed. Upon asking my friends, I was told that I got a C and even though this might not be something one person would be happy about, but this was greater than an A for me because at this point anything would be good if I passed. 

This was in a way the funniest thing that ever happened to me. I couldn’t even pass a subject after studying for 3 months and now after doing almost nothing related to studies, I passed. I even ended passing the next exams without being failed. 

I don’t know how I managed to pull of the things I did but I managed to take away from it was that sometimes even failing is very important because it teaches you to deal with much bigger failures that you might face later on in life. All you need to be is thankful for what you already have and take everything just as a bad experience. 

Unit 2

Laisha De  Jesus

       My artifact is a photo inspired a song by Kesha called Praying. Throughout the song, Kesha speaks about how she lifted herself up from her pain and wish the person that hurt her the best. This song relates mostly to the individuals including myself that have been through depression, has been hurt by others and recovered from it. This song inspired me to make this photo of my inner struggles.

        My thought process for this photo was how can I show my struggles in artists way. I knew I couldn’t draw and I’m not that creative to think of anything else so I thought of a picture. At first, I was going to make a recreation of a drawing but I wanted my artifact to be originally from me. I didn’t know what exactly I wanted the picture to look like so kept replaying the song and she said: “Ah sometimes, I pray for you at night, oh Someday, maybe you’ll see the light”. This got me thinking most of my negative thoughts comes to haunt me at night and I always tried to stay positive. So, why not take a picture that represents that. In the picture, there is two of me in black and one in white. The black represents how I’m always angry at myself for who I am and the pain I went through and the other one is how I used to be disgusted with my The white represents the faith and light in me that won’t let my thoughts get to me.



For Thursday

  1. If you haven’t posted your revision of the education essay, DO IT NOW!!
  2. Plan some idea for what you want to do for Unit 4. Email me with questions. We’re going to start working on this on Thursday, so you should have something in mind!
  3. We will have some time on Thursday, but not the whole class, to work on the letters to future students. If there’s something you need to do at home, please do it! We will start looking at these on Thursday.


Hend Elwahwah


Dr. Hall


   Expectations Vs. Reality


         Growing up in a private school my whole life, literally from Pre-k through 12th grade, had a large impact in my life. It has changed my learning experiences in various ways. Good and bad. Throughout that private school life I have experienced lots of joy, happiness, sadness, anxiety, mixed emotions overall. What I could definitely say is that I am very blessed for being in a private school all my life. This was a religious Muslim private school, which lead me to knowing my religion like the back of my hand, memorized more than half of our holy book, read and write my language so fluently and most importantly getting closer to God and having faith in everything. However, at the same time It was a very strict school and their norms were definitely not my norms, but sadly it was something I had to get used to.


        Coming into City Tech not having a clue of how it was going to be nor how the classes were going to be was very nerve wrecking for me. I still remember the first day I walked in school itself, thought to myself, is this what a public school looks like? As I got lost about 167 times trying to find my class I finally found it, walking in so nervous, felt so weird being in a class filled with diversity. Not to mention, the private school I had attended was all girl classrooms. It was a gender segregated school. Being around the opposite sex does not differ with me but it is something i need to get used to. When I say I have never attended public school a day in my life I really didn’t. First semester was very surprising for me, I didn’t know what to expect, felt a bit weird at first but I am a very open person and love to communicate with others so it wasn’t hard to get used to. Many people would think I’m shy but I’m total opposite. My learning experiences had changed a lot though. You can say in private you are more spoon fed. Rather than in public school you are all on your own. We were walked through everything instead of us learning on our own the steps for many things. Which was a good and bad thing and something me and all my classmates had took for granted. Private school is just different.

        Let me take you with me through one day of private school… As I’m walking in the building, removing my headphones, putting my phone away. The assistant principle stops everyone to make sure no one has makeup on and if you did they had makeup remover with them so they can give it to you to remove. After that I walk to the backyard if its a nice day out and if its cold I walk up the stairs to the auditorium and than we do sorta like a pledge you can say. Its 5 to 6 pages from our holy book to start our day. This was my favorite part! However, after that we go to our classes and stay in the same class from 8:30 – 3:10. Tragic, i know. Nope, we don’t do such thing named “travel” that most public schoolers do and are used to. Mind you, I’m with the same exact girls ive been with since pre-school. Fun and annoying at the same time, were all like practically sisters. Around 12:30, which is our prayer time, we would be called to go to the prayer room to make prayer with everyone, favorite part, part 2. After we’re done we would have the longest lecture with the principle and assistant principle talking about new rules and dress code. It was really annoying because it always just dragged with them speaking about the same things all the time, but that was one of the downsides of private school. The strictness.

         Coming into a public school had me shocked. There were so many differences compared to a private school especially a gender segregated one. Both private and public school have their pros and cons, educationally. Obviously, private school is education being paid for, therefore we had an upper hand in learning more and as much as I hated taking several AP classes in high school, they helped me alot throughout my college experience and most definitely saved me a lot of money in college. We were forced to take those classes to get our money’s worth in a way. Also, another pro from private school would be having a counselor whenever you need them, to help you with your steps in education and your future. In my opinion, city tech lacks that, ALOT. People like me that go to a private school all their life and end up going to a public college need the help they could get. Especially trying to get used to the public environment and where you would like to go with your education. However, a pro from city tech would be learning how to be independent. Something private school never taught you. Independency is key.


        My learning experience has actually changed drastically. Going from private to public real quick was just so different. I was so used to the same people, same routine everyday, looking the same everyday because we had to wear uniform, eating the same thing almost everyday. I got so sick of it and couldn’t wait to start college so I can have a different lifestyle. At the end of my senior year like the last couple of months, i started counting down the days till graduation. I was so sick of the same exact routine. I would literally go home and cry and complain that time was dragging. But, now that im coming into a public institution, I definitely miss private school. However, college is also a great experience but a learning experience I have to get used to. Put my mind to it. Having 2 different learning experiences has changed me in ways that I am thankful for.

         All in all, my learning experiences has shown me paths in life that i am thankful for. It has taught me 2 different ways when i am trying to learn something. Whether it’s in school, family, life in general. Therefore, i am very thankful for these learning experiences. It shows me different paths and ways i could think about things. Im looking forward to this journey i am on in a public institution to learn different things with a place filled with diversity. Something different to get used to but definitely looking forward to the change of learning experiences.


Education Essay (Revised)

Amani Nassar

English 1121

Dr. Hall

April 30, 2019

The Palestinian Boricua

Coming from such a diverse background of being Palestinian and Puerto Rican, I have gotten a lot of mixed reactions from people when I tell them about my background. Some would be shocked and ask “how did that happen?” Others would say something like “wow, that’s an amazing combination” and occasionally I get a “you foreign Amani” from my friends. One reaction in particular that I never liked getting was when people would ask if I was a Muslim or a Catholic.

Religion can be a sensitive topic to discuss for some people, and for me this question made me feel rather uncomfortable for the simple fact that I felt as though I had to choose one religion over the other because that’s what most people would expect to hear. If I were to say I was a Muslim people would question why I never wore a hijab. If I were to say I was a Catholic, people would ask why I did not attend church regularly or ask me something about the Bible, all of which I would not have a clear answer for. I had never put much thought into my religious nature or upbringing because in my household, religion was never really a huge topic of discussion, no one was judged for believing in what they believed in or how they chose to believe. My parents never forced religion on me, but rather left it up to me to choose any religion I wanted to practice or even no religion at all.

My mother was brought up as a Catholic from a young age, attending church every now and then. My father was a devoted Muslim, born and raised in Israel, later coming to the United States. Typically, most Palestinian men have children with women within their religion, but since my mother is a Catholic my father was actually able to marry my mother and later have children together. Even without knowing much about religion, one could assume that being a Muslim is quite different from being a Catholic. They have different places of worship, different names for their God, different scriptures, different ways of praying, and holistically many different practices for fulfilling their religious duty. I felt like I had a confliction of religions that seemed to be more different than alike.

I grew up in my Puerto Rican household with my mom, brother, abuela, and my father once upon a time. All my life I only knew about my Puerto Rican roots, the food, the music, the Spanish language, and of course the people. All of my family functions consisted of the boricuas (another name for Puerto Ricans) on my mother’s side. Any birthday I ever had, was attended by only my Puerto Rican family. I celebrated, and still do celebrate holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, which Muslims do not celebrate. I never fasted or celebrated Eid and I do not pray 5 times a day as a typical Muslim would, but one practice I do follow is to not eat pork. A lot of my Puerto Rican family members tend to forget that I do not eat pork and offer me foods like pernil (roasted pork) at our parties. Pernil is such a Puerto Rican delicacy and is at basically every celebration you can think of. You may assume it’s hard to resist such delicious, but I do my best to follow my sole duty as a not so typical Palestinian to not eat pork.

Although I’m Palestinian and may be expected to be a Muslim, I unfortunately do not follow many of the Islamic practices but my brother on the other hand, who is fully Puerto Rican, actually adopted to the practices of Islam and converted to become a Muslim a few years ago. I remember when my brother first became a Muslim he gave me my first copy of the Quran which I still have to this day. It was so amazing to me to see his interest and liking of the religion grow fonder each day and being able to make the decision to convert in order to better himself through religion was a great thing.

My name often times grabs many people’s attention. Amani is an Arabic inspired name meaning desire or wishes. Nassar is also an Arabic name meaning helper, protector or victory. I’ve had people who are from a middle eastern descent ask if I was to0 because they heard what my name was where  we would then sit and talk about my name and family background, it’s always a good conversation starter. There has even been instances where my teachers would ask me where I was from after reading my name off of the attendance sheet or seeing what I looked like.

Growing up in a multicultural household is an experience I will cherish forever, I had the best of both worlds. I remember when I was younger I would walk into the room sometimes and see my father on the floor praying and would walk right up next to him pretending to pray just like him. I had no idea what I was doing, but seeing my father pray made me want join in, even if I was doing it wrong. Some late nights my father would go to our favorite Hala restaurant and get some of our favorite foods, fried rice with half chicken and this amazing garlic sauce they had, it was our special sauce that no one else knew about. Now my abuela, she’s the chef of the house, she would rather cook a five course meal at home any given day than go out to eat anywhere. Up until this day I run into the kitchen and help her cook some of our favorite Puerto Rican foods like tostones (fried green plantains) and pollo guisao (chicken stew). One day without any sort of explanation, around the age of 14, I had this feeling that my two cultures could coexist and they have all my life, it was almost as if I was in two different countries right in my own home. Now that I was getting older and could appreciate my cultures more than ever before it all just felt right, my better halves made me who I am today and who I will become later on.

Everyday is a new learning experience for me when it comes to my cultures. From my first semester of English class, I have learned new things about the Muslim beliefs from classmates writings and discussions of practices. My brother even talks to me about Islam and the meaning behind certain things in the religion like the people and the names of parts of Israel. Being mixed is something that I have always embraced and will continue to embrace. I love everything my cultures have offered me from my curly hair to thick eyebrows and even my effortless Spanish tongue. Although I do not know much about my Palestinian culture or family, it is something I plan to indulge in as time progresses. One day soon I want to learn Arabic and find out more about my Palestinian family, I even want to read the Quran from cover to cover.


Education Essay (Revised)

David Wu

More Than A Game

Ever since I was a child, I loved the game of basketball. The speed of the game, intensity, and aggressiveness of the basketball stars always got me excited to watch them play. Little did I know that playing basketball would have a much greater impact on my life than I could have ever imagined. It all started with me spending time with my cousins watching the games on television every day. Watching the sport constantly made it intriguing for me to start playing the sport at the age of 10. I would practice dribbling around the backyard and go to local parks to practice shooting the ball into the basket.

I always thought I knew what I was doing in the sport until I actually learned how to professionally play the game at the age of 13. A group of my friends and I went to an indoor gym to practice and run a couple of games. One of my friend’s cousin showed up and decided to watch us play. After the game, he pulled me aside and told me I was playing the game wrong. It was then he taught me how to shoot the ball, dribble, play defense, make good passes, you name it. He was like a mentor to me and taught me everything I needed to know. Throughout my years of playing basketball, I learned that basketball is more than just a sport and can teach people a lot of life lessons.

One of the lessons I learned was that life isn’t fair. I soon learned that when the referees in the game were making horrible calls or calls that didn’t make sense at the time. It seemed that all the calls that were being made never went our way and the referee never made the correct call when the call needed to be made. One bad call that I will never forget  was a call in a playoff game that would have won us the game and move on to the next round. It was the last quarter with the score being tied and it was our possession of the ball with 5 seconds left on the clock. The ball was in my hands and I drove to the basket going for a layup. The ball went in the basket and the intensity of the crowd and my teammates went out of one’s mind. It was then the whistle went off and the referee made the call. The call was a charging foul which occurs when a dribbler charges into a defender who has already established his position and you already know what that means. The basket didn’t count and the possession of the ball was turned over to the opposing team. The call left me and everyone in disbelief. That call had everyone and myself arguing with the referee but we knew that we would never win an argument against any referee. We soon lost that game in overtime and got eliminated from the playoffs. Bad calls happened a lot in a lot of our games so I learned to accept it and just move on.

Another life lesson it taught me was how to have good sportsmanship. Playing any sport in general involves both a winning and losing team. After every game that my team and I play against, no matter the outcome, we would always shake hands with the opposing team and tell them it was a good game. It was a form of respect for both teams. If we win, we learn to be proud of our success without despising our opponents or if we lose, we learn to accept our failures and come back stronger next time. Over time you will realize it’s not really the win or loss that makes a difference. If you gave everything you’ve got, no matter what the outcome is, you can walk away with your head held high as my coach always said. This also applies in life too that everything you do does not always go your way. Everything is a slow process but quitting won’t speed it up. There are highs and lows but if you continue to give whatever you do your very best you will always feel victorious.

Basketball has also taught me that nothing comes easy in life. It all comes down to hard work and dedication. A lot of the stars in the league states that they didn’t make it here by luck but by all the hard work they put in everyday to deserve to be in the league. If you really want to excel at something, hard work is the only way. My teammates and I had to put in hours of practice every day after school. Our coach would always push us beyond our limits. After every practice we would be drenched with sweat. Coach told us if we wasn’t drenched, we didn’t put in any effort at all. It is the same with any other field in life. If you want to get better at school or get a raise at your workplace, the only way you can do it is by hard work. There are no shortcuts to this. We are always taught to dream big but what we don’t realize most often is that our dreams don’t work unless we do. There is no substitute to hard work, ever.

In basketball, you are taught to never give up. A few minutes can change the game in so many ways. You keep trying until the very last second. During a game that determined if we were going into playoffs, most of my shots wasn’t going in and we were down by 10 with 3 minutes left on the clock. I felt hopeless, tired, and even wanted to give up the game. My coach then sat me out and told me, “You can never give up, not on the game, not on your team, and especially not on yourself.” He even quoted which I later on found out it was a quote from Michael Jordan: “I would tell players to relax and never think about what’s at stake. Just think about the basketball game. If you start to think about who is going to win the championship, you’ve already lost your focus.” And I will never forget those words as they sparked a fire in me. I then came back into the game and helped my teammates in whatever way I can to win the game. In life too, there will be many occasions where you will want to give up, but you need to not give up because we all know things take time.

The most important lesson that basketball has probably taught me is leadership and communication. A lot of the games that my team and I played, I took charge if the captain of the team or the rest of the team isn’t communicating. I would be the one to call certain plays for us to score to get their adrenaline flowing on the court for us to win the games. During the preseason games, the team wasn’t communicating on the court since the games didn’t count towards our record but that doesn’t mean for our team to not play their heart out on the court. So I took on the captain role and made sure our team was communicating, scoring baskets and winning the game.

To a lot of people, basketball is just a game because majority of the people just watch the players play and don’t know what the players go through and learn. I believe it can teach people a lot of lessons by playing the sport. It has certainly taught me a lot of life lessons that I would have probably never learned anywhere else as effectively.

Education Essay (Revised)

I’m sitting alone at the dining table when all of a sudden I hear footsteps approaching my way. Both my parents walk in with familiar disappointed looks on their faces. Looks they would usually have when I would get in trouble with a teacher or come home with unacceptable grades. So I knew exactly why they looked that way and why they came. They wanted to know the specific reasons why I made the bad choices I made regarding school. More specifically, why I kept on making those choices over and over again. My parents have had several talks with me about education and how important it is to have one. They would go on and on about how education is required for a successful future. And how miserable life would be without one. Sometimes in the middle of those discussions I would think about all the people that are successful who didn’t go to college. I never brought this up to my parents though because I know exactly what they would say. They would tell me that I don’t have to be like them and I’m better off going to college. It’s not that I want to be like those people, it’s just that they shouldn’t be looked down upon just because college wasn’t for them. Just thoughts that always flew through my head when I thought about college and it’s so called guaranteed success if attended.

When the question of why I kept making bad decisions in school came up I completely froze. I had no idea of what to say. All I could see were my parents staring me straight in the face waiting for answers. The longer I took the more impatient they got. My dad then said, “I’m waiting for an answer.” I was very nervous and began to shake because of fear of being a disappointment to the family. But when I would make the choices to cut class, talk while the teacher was talking, not do any homework, not study for any exams I didn’t think that. I basically would just go to school and come back home without learning anything. It felt like a never ending cycle. I always thought that I just wasn’t interested in school at the time and also I didn’t have enough motivation especially from teachers. I didn’t have the guts to tell my parents any of that though because they’re so education strict that they would probably consider sending me away. “Can you open your mouth and talk,” said my mother. “Hurry up, you’re wasting time,” then followed my dad. At this point I just decided to tell them what I thought would be a good enough excuse. “My teachers don’t know how to do their jobs, they can barely even teach because of how disruptive the students are,” I said. “Aren’t you one of those disruptive students?” asked my dad. The room went silent meaning the answer was pretty obvious.

My father began talking about how I shouldn’t be giving him any excuses and that I should just own up to my bad behavior. My mother shook her head and walked away in disappointment. I felt really bad because I hated seeing that look on her face. It made me feel like I was letting her down and in all honesty I really was. Even when I had opportunities to excel I didn’t put in any effort to become a better student. This reminds me of all the times I would come home and know that I had homework that I was able to due but never actually did them. Also when I would go places with my friends after school instead of attending the after school hour session my teacher offered to make up work needed in order to pass. After hours of talking and me almost dozing off every once in awhile my father finally asked me if there was anything I had to say for myself. I said no but that wasn’t a good enough answer for him, it never was. I told him that I would do better in my academics and not hang with the wrong crowd. “You can and you will,” he said. He then got up and walked away. I continued sitting in the same spot just daydreaming and thinking about what to do with myself.

There must’ve been something different about that discussion with my parents or maybe it was the fact that I was officially sick and tired of being a disappointment. But a few days later, I sat down and thought long and hard about my next moves and the steps I needed to take to make them. I needed to make sure that I ended high school strong. I started off high school strong but then I started to slack and by the time I knew it, it was the end of my eleventh grade year and I was barely on track to graduate. I told myself that it’s not too late to get on track so I could graduate on time. I wanted to be a better student. Sometimes I think it was the fear of being embarrassed that made me want to turn everything around but as time went by I realized it was fear of not being able to pursue the career I desire. I realized that what I ended up doing from there on out were steps to determining how my future would turn out. I didn’t want to end up on the streets regretting my whole childhood because of the mistakes I made in high school. I was also sick and tired of being pushed from grade to grade. I use to think that I didn’t deserve to move on to the next grade but I did every time. I guess you could just say I was lucky. I wanted to know that I deserved moving on to a higher level of education. People would always tell me that it’s not good to work from behind meaning that I should’ve been on top of my game from the beginning and not wait until it’s almost too late to try and work my way up. But I honestly didn’t want to hear that, I just wanted to know that it wasn’t too late for me academic wise.

Twelfth grade ended up being my best year of high school. I was determined and dedicated to prove to myself that I have what it takes to excel in my studies. I worked harder than ever in all my classes and I managed to get good grades each marking period. I had a few teachers who supported me and made sure that I was always on task. There’s one specific teacher who stood out to me the most. My math teacher in tenth and eleventh grade who always offered me tutoring sessions even as I moved up a grade. He would always stop me in the hallway when he saw me to ask about my progress and just see how I was doing overall. I’m still til this day very thankful for his help towards my education. Before I knew it I was I was on track to graduate with the support I was receiving of course but most importantly my determination helped. I would stay after school any time teachers were available to get extra help and then I would go home and study for hours. Sometimes I fell asleep while catching up on work. So I was very relieved when my guidance counselor told me that I would be graduating with the rest of my peers who were on track. I was happy that I would be walking across the stage with my friends and declared a graduate. The rest of the marking periods went by and I was stress free. I had nothing to worry about academic wise. I eventually graduated and was thrilled to be leaving that school and never looking back.

Here I am eventually looking back on my previous years of schooling wondering what I could’ve done differently to be a better student. When I think back to all those times I would get into trouble I’m always clueless as to why. My excuse is always that I just wasn’t interested in school back then. But was that really the reason why I was so miserable? I don’t even know myself. I was such a moody and chaotic student ever since I even started attending school. I remember in elementary school when I use to get in trouble for behavior problems. Teachers use to send me out of their classes and into different classrooms. In middle school it was the same process but even worse. I surrounded myself with the wrong crowd and not having a care in the world. Then high school came by and I wanted to change but ended up getting lazy with the process and almost not graduating. I guess I was just young and had a lot of maturing to do and I also needed to figure out what I want to do in the future. Now that I’ve figured it out I see positive changes in my attitude towards education. I’m just glad that I was able to make it through those long twelve years of schooling and not give up on myself. I hope that in college I can be strong academic wise til the end so I can aspire a bright future.

tohuratun chowdhury

Name : Tohuratun Chowdhury

Class: English1121

Prof. Hall  

                                                Women Empowerment

Gender equality is, first and foremost, a human right. A woman is entitled to live in dignity and in freedom from want and from fear. Empowering women is also an indispensable tool for advancing development and reducing poverty. Empowered women contribute to the health and productivity of whole families and communities and to improved prospects for the next generation. They place themselves on pedestals and force women to believe in their own inferiority to men and their incapability to excel educationally, politically, economically, and domestically. But the truth is that women will eventually advance in all these areas and come to realize that they do not need men to survive. I use a book called “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” and I also used an artist statement to show the importance of women in our society.


Many countries don’t give women the right they deserved as a human. I read the book “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban”.  This theme is the central focus of all of Malala’s activism. Growing up in and around a school, Malala learned quickly the power that education has to shape a child’s life, determine their future prospects, and give them the courage to speak up for what they believe in. It was because of her education that Malala was empowered to stand strong against the Taliban occupation of her home, and she has used her fame to try to give as many other children as possible the opportunity to go to school. On 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. She changed her fear of her strength. On my artist statement, I showed a girl with a scarf holding a book. It’s mean every religion gives women the right to education.


On my artist statement about women empowerments. It’s not easy to be a woman every step they have to face a lot of conflicts. Women are the roots of the nations, they embody the structure needed to carry on life, hence a woman gave us our life. They are the one who helps their child to take their first steps, the most important woman in our life is our mother. The woman who raised us and helped us become who we are today. women are always ready to face any hardship in their life to raise their child. When a woman can plan her family, she can plan the rest of her life. When she is healthy, she can be more productive, and when her reproductive rights including the right to decide the number, timing and spacing of her children, and to make decisions regarding reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence are promoted and protected, she has the freedom to participate more fully and equally in society. Without women, the world would not exist. Women as a whole take on a huge responsibility in society and the life of humans. In this art statement, the girl is seen facing north, which implies how women are powerful enough to succeed and go up. Even though we have more rights for women in this age they are still facing difficulties in their day to day life. For example, domestic violence is a huge issue in a woman’s life, in my art statement, an eye is seen with a teardrop coming out. The harassment, pain, and violence a woman faces cause emotional and mental distress.

In hence, Women are faced with countless difficulties. But we do not let that hold us back, the pain and distress women face are nothing new but we will fight till we are equal.

Stanley Desir                                                                                                     02/08/19               Final Draft                                                                                               ENG 1121

                                            Ayo Ock Lemme Get uhbaconeggandcheese

          I’m at a family function sitting with my cousins and close friends. Were explaining our struggles with growing up in the boroughs. When it was my time to speak, I said “Dont trust nobody, be aware of your surroundings and shit could always be worse.” Those were the three main ideas I learned growing up in New York City. My oldest brother is 34 and he’s been in and out the feds since he was 18. He got two strikes. My other brother is 24 and it took him 7 years to get his diploma. I’m going to break down each main idea. We live in one of the most populated cities in the world. You meet a lot of people and you open up to them. Just don’t trust no one. Growing up in Flatbush, you see a lot of behavior which we would describe it as “snake” or “shyste”. I watched my brother’s so called “friends” snitch on him and claim he committed a number of crimes. It was painful to see at a young age.

          At the age of 7, I already had it instilled in me that trusting someone is dangerous. I’m now 18 and I really never had a lot of friends. Yeah I know people and they know me but I try to keep my close friends to small number. I got trust issues. Majority of my close friends are either Haitian or Jamaican. I’m Haitian and I grew up with a lot of Jamaicans and other Haitians so I feel like I can trust them and I connect more with them. You’re probably wondering if my brother’s experiences influenced me to be in the streets. It didn’t. Whatever happened to them, fueled me to be on a guided path throughout my life. I never got in trouble with the law, I respect everyone around me. Where I’m from most people would describe me as a “nerd” or a “citizen”, but in reality I’m just tryna get through life.


          Everyday when I leave my building I always have my head on a swivel. Believe it or not I was afraid that at any moment someone would walk behind me try to mug me and blow my brains out. I’ve kind of been feeling like this since middle school. I would always here about drive by shootings and stabbings in broad daylight so that easily triggered me. I learned to be aware of my surroundings very fast. I look at it as a positive because I’m always alert. Now to the last main idea. “Shit could always be worse.” That right there, any NYC baby could relate to me. 99 % of our parents are guardians work to make ends meet and provide for us. Whenever we see homeless people on the street or on the train, we sit back and say we’re grateful to be in the situation we are in because others would love to be in our situation in a heartbeat. Whenever my mom would fess me up about my school grades I would always be mad, but then I would think to myself some people wish there mother was alive to even be on their case about school.


            The way I learned in NYC impacted the way my academics went because I couldn’t end up like my friends. Growing up here there’s 3 scenarios if you don’t have a education. Your either going to end up in prison, a bum on the streets or 6 feet under. Since grade school I always maintained a 85+ average in all my core subjects. Especially with my parents being Haitian, my mom was always on my ass about school because she wanted me to have a good future and didn’t want me to end up like my brothers. Caribbean/West Indian parents believe school is the number 1 thing in life and you need to complete and handle everything by a certain age. I was always stressed out because everyone in my family would say they’re counting on me and it takes a toll on a 13 year old. I never was the one to be suicidal because who in the world would want to take their life, but I would always once in a while imagine what would it be like if I was to die or not even be born. I never want to think like that, but when I do it just makes me wonder.While I’m explaining myself to my cousins and friends, their faces are just in awe. I don’t think they ever knew what I was going through inside. I’m not the one to open up to people because like I said before, I don’t trust people. Some people would look at my story like I’m damaged or been through stuff. I don’t look at it like that. I’m truly thankful for it all because I believe New York City made me an adult way before I turned 18. A lot of kids in other cities don’t have my vision or attitude until after college or later on in life. I learned a lot of life lessons living in New York City.