I’ve always loved school. I loved learning. I loved being able to come home every evening knowing that I learned something new. I’ve always wanted to become a Nurse Practitioner. It was in my nature to always help someone in need. And it was a bigger picture than the money. Wouldn’t you want someone to help you in your time of need? I knew I wanted to become an NP ever since I was young. People always told me I was destined to be in the medical field, and I believed them, and I still do.

I remember being in grade school, always coming to school with a long face. No one had suspected that I was unhappy. I was unhappy with my mom, unhappy at my dad, and generally everything else in my life. Was that a weird thing to say being that I was only around 6 years old at that time? My parents fought all the time; and I don’t think they realized how much it would impact me and my sister’s lives by watching them argue and bicker 24/7.  

One evening, my aunt dropped my sister and I home from school. I was in such a great mood because I’d just won a spelling bee. I was ecstatic and ready to show my mom. I came running down the kitchen hallway.

“Mommy! Mommy! Look!” I yelled loud enough for her to hear me. She looked slightly bothered, as if she really didn’t care to look at my award. I practically shoved it in her face and she barged out a fake smile. My father was there too, and he also looked uneasy.

“Thats great!” He was referring to my award. How dry of a compliment was that? “Go in your room Bobo, your mother and I need to speak.” My dad called me Bobo, and still does, because I would always wear bubbles in my hair. I walked into the room that my sister and I shared.

“Is Mommy and Daddy mad at us?” my sister asked.

“No, they’re just talking..” I said quietly.

I peeked my head out of our bedroom door and overhear my parents, now arguing. I couldn’t hear exactly what the quarrel was about, but I knew it would lead into something very huge. My sister was trying to get a view over my head, but I wouldn’t let her. I didn’t want myself seeing what what going on between my parents, but I figured it was better than my sister seeing it.

The arguing was getting louder and louder. Before you ask the question, yes. It was. It was going on every day, if not that, then every other day. Then I saw my dad storm out of the house. All that was left there was a stuck mother, two scared kids, and an awful amount of silence. After a few minutes, I went to comfort my mom. She seemed like the victim, but years later I would soon come to find out that was quite the opposite.

My parents eventually went to court and fought for custody of me and Alena, who was 4 at the time. Who ever said that household wellbeing didn’t affect a child’s academic wellbeing lied. My dad gained custody, with my mom having visitation rights every weekend. My mom moved to Washington, D.C. shortly after, which meant visitation rights were only once a month, if my sister and I were lucky.

About 5 years later, my dad moved out and married his high school sweet heart. Ironic, right? That left my Aunt Natalie, my dad’s older sister, to raise me and Alena. I loved my parents, but this settlement had caused me to grow a loathing feeling for them. This wasn’t supposed to happen…but it did. I was a wonderful student, but, I was unhappy because of what my parents had put me through. I began to act out in school, and soon would be later on in life, outside of school. I became more distracted and grew an even shorter attention span than what I already had.

Growing up with my aunt was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. When I turned 17, she gave me the best gift ever, which was no more curfew. I know it may seem like something minor, but for a teenager who “ran the streets,” as my aunt would say, it was a more than sufficient gift. The only agreement that we made was to call her to make her aware of my last known location. This was in case I was in danger. My aunt was one of those paranoid guardians who always watched those I.D. channels where people go on killing and kidnapping sprees.

I excelled in high school and I knew that nothing would be stopping me from going to college and obtaining my Nursing degree. However, misery loves company. Somewhere along my high school years, I’ve befriended many people who were not really my friends. They were merely people who were lost, unhappy souls that needed to fester off people who were already happy, or at least on the road to being happy. That’s where I was at. Looking back at the past, I wondered many times why I would hang on to a group of people that I didn’t see in my life in 10 years. Then I figured out. Although I had a family that loved me to the best of their ability, I was still missing that love that I needed from my parents. My mom wasn’t there, and my dad was there, but, he wasn’t THERE.

I began breaking curfew times, which were probably midnight or 1am. Again, I went through this phase of “acting out”. I stopped being family oriented for a while, ran around with my “friends” doing things that wouldn’t benefit them nor myself. I became this angry person that I didn’t like at all. For one semester, my grades even dropped from A’s and high B’s to mid or low C’s. That doesn’t seem like such terrible grades; though, for a person who was always an A student, it seemed like I was failing. It’s as if I wanted to hang around my friends all the time, but keep a great track record in school. When I was 17, my friends and I had gotten into a fight in public. I was arrested, but later let free because I’d never been in cuffs before. I. constantly fought in high school, and as much as I tried to stay away from the drama, it couldn’t stay away from me.

In 2015, I graduated with an average of 84. I knew that if I wanted to become a Nurse, I couldn’t act the way I previously did in high school. I isolated my self from those high school “friends” and set my own path. It took me a while, about two years to mentally prepare myself for college, and I asked my self if I was really ready to intake what is destined for me. I was.

I never understood what it was like as a parent to split from your family. I was so mad at my parents for so long, until I was aware of what it was like for them. They didn’t split because they didn’t love me and my sister. They were still young and they needed the time apart to focus on themselves and establish a fulfilling life. They had infidelity issues, which occurred on my mom’s end; and I finally realized she was barely the victim in the case of my parents arguments. I learned many things in school, however, I think life was and still is my greatest lesson. I thank my parents because their situation forced me to grow up faster, and learn so much more at such a young age. Never let obstacles completely halt your aspirations. Facing my obstacles made me realize that there is so much to live for and so much to work hard for. Always push forward to achieve your dreams, because you will not only make yourself happy; the ones that really love you and are rooting for you will also be ecstatic when you cross that finish line.

I currently go to New York City College of Technology to continue my education to become a Nurse and, soon after, a Nurse Practitioner. I realized that no one will live your life for you, so you must accomplish what you want. You cannot let past boundaries define your future. You must remember that your dream will only reflect your reality if you put in the work to earn it. My life is a book; my experiences that lead to better days are written with pen, my experiences that lead to mistakes are written with a pencil, and the pages will be blank, ready for the experiences that I’ve yet to undergo.

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. 


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.

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.

Education Essay(Revised)

Pavel Nunez

Dr Carrie Hall


English 1121

                                   Don’t give up and in the end it will show


Sometimes in life I always get I never give up and that’s just how it is . But it wasn’t motivation that helped me , it was the effort that lead me to that  .A quick example of this would be the time Where I was walking upstairs to my next class which was in the 8th floor, I refuse to take the elevator that day because there was a lot of people in. But as I was going upstairs and I was tired but as I went up the stairs I saw a 10 dollar bill below the staircase where almost nobody could see it unless u looked a certain angle. I picked it up… I felt like the luckiest person in that staircase, It must have been a coincidence that day because I forgot my money at home.Going to the main story of my luck, the time this happened to was actually recent, When I passed my  Computer System Technology class. So it was the beginning of the semester of 2018 and this class was required for my major so I said to myself “ This class should be easy”. I was wrong(like really wrong) ,but that didn’t stop me from having doubts. It was an 8 AM class so that wasn’t really a good choice but I wanted to get out early so that was the trade off. At first the class wasn’t too difficult the following 2 months because we were doing basic stuff. But after that it was complex and there was a lot of rules to cover when coding, and I noticed people around me were far worse where I was. Some people would look over my screen after showing the professor my program that runs correctly. Sometimes they would ask me for help and I helped them but it was still difficult for them( I don’t blame them). But overall i knew what I was doing even though it was difficult to comprehend the material being given to me.I knew I couldn’t give up on this class because it was a class for my major in this school. Sometimes I would leave early because I already did all the classwork which was a good thing. Fast forward to November 6(which was the last day to drop a Class), I was debating whether or not to drop the class because I didn’t really like my major anymore(Computer Science) because I don’t think I would like sitting behind a chair just typing 100’s of lines of code for a complicated program while also being behind a computer screen all day long, I should’ve thought of that sooner but it didn’t come to mind until it was too late. I decided not to because that would’ve been a waste of time and money. The next day out of the original 30 students that signed up for the class only 8 people remained. But my friend that was in that class actually dropped it since it was too difficult for him , so basically he gave up since he  probably wasn’t motivated enough to finish and pass the class. It was sorda disappointing that my only friend in that class decided to withdraw but it was his poor decision. Furthermore I had a test coming which I didn’t know about because I was too lazy to check the syllabus, I didn’t know what was going to be on the test so I just accepted my fate that I was going to fail the test. The day I took the test, I didn’t expect it to be almost the same exact things we had to as classwork, So I dodged a bullet on that one and I passed the test for it.So finally it was near the semester and I had to take my final. Suddenly this person who I thought supposedly dropped the class showed for the final after nearly being absent for 2 months, I honestly thought he gave up on the class My professor was actually quite mad at him but he couldn’t do anything so he just let him take the test, When the test started he only took a couple of minutes it finish it and left the class, even though there was around 15-30 lines of code that you have to write down for a few problems. One was about making a program that is able to calculate the GPA of your classes by entering the amount of classes, the grade for each class, and the amount of credits each class was worth. Another was typing the Radius and the Height for a given shape and putting the formula for each shape to find the volume of all the shapes, all of this was basically impossible to write under 20 minutes). Some people had to resort to cheating( No names) by looking up the program for the specific problem, the professor was just using his laptop and actually caught someone using their phone, He gave him a warning instead of giving him a 0 ( which was generous.), I said to myself “Wow, he was lucky”. I give him some credit though for building the motivation to cheat on a test which your not suppose to do .So after finishing I just went home to sleep and hoped I passed the class. Then I checked my grade and I got a B+ thinking I would get a C or maybe lower. But in the end I passed.

Overall life isn’t about the motivation on things you want but how much you effort you put in to get there .

Video Games Taught Me More Than School Ever Did (Revised)

Erik Yan

Dr. Carrie Hall



Video Games Taught Me More Than School Ever Did


School taught your basic subjects of math, reading, and writing but it was always through textbooks and listening to the teacher. I think the best way to learn is to make the process fun and relatable. Something that made learning fun for me were video games. Video games do not look like they would teach you anything that is taught in school but they instead, teaches you social skills that school just doesn’t seem to teach.

Playing video games has taught me a handful of things. I think a game that taught me a lot is Rainbow Six Siege. My friends and I would play this every day. There are times where not all my friends are able to get on to play for whatever reason, which forces me to play alone. Playing Siege alone was difficult due to Siege being a team oriented game where having intel and communicating it to the rest of the team is key to winning. Since I was just playing with random people when my friends weren’t on, I didn’t really talk to any of the people on my team. I kept seeing my teammates getting killed but I was busy dealing with my own enemy, but once I was done with my opponent, my teammate’s enemy stopped fighting with them and decide to go finish me off. With the lack of communication, I didn’t really know and I get killed because I was the last one alive in the round. It went on like this for the whole game and in the end, we lost the game. The next game, I tried giving callouts to my teammates and we actually won the game without the other team even getting a chance to win a round. The fact that we are all strangers and were able to come together to win forced random people and I to have to talk and interact with each other. As strange as that may be, this can be carried over into the real world. Such as if I am working on something with a group of classmates or coworkers, I can communicate with them effectively to complete our task.

Since playing video games have gotten more complex than in the past, majority of games filled with so many things to do. This also helps improve multitasking skills. In Siege you have to worry about all kinds of things, such as the enemy team, traps, and if the game mode is hostage then also that. Hostage is a game mode where the attacking team is tasked with either grabbing the hostage and bringing them back to any flare outside of the map or they eliminate the whole defending team.  You also have to worry about the time and your teammates. I say teammates because in this game your team can technically kill you, it is strongly recommended not to by the game but, that doesn’t really stop people from doing it, so it is good to watch out. Having a team member kill you, whether it is an accident or not, it puts your team in a disadvantage because the other team has to deal with one less person. All these facts forces you to have to multitask. This has kind of improved my multitasking skills because it forces me to finish a certain task within a given amount of time. The timer in the game is probably the thing that helped me the most in multitasking because you only get three minutes a round. Sometimes you lose track of time when you are worrying about your own life in the game. The traps in the game can take down a significant amount of health away from you and can give away where you are to the enemy team who can just come out of nowhere and kill you. This is relatable to real life because you can have a ton of assignments due and if you just ignore one, your grade for that class will take the hit and lower. This helps me to work on all the assignments making sure that I don’t forget one.

Decision making isn’t really taught in school from my experience, I think I’ve felt more of a decision making in video games than in school. As I have said before about how you have to multitask, you also have to decide how you want to approach things and how you want to do it. There have been moments where I had to decide whether I had to get into the objective or kill the last guy on the other team because time was ticking. The objective was basically this little container in a room that you are supposed to stay in without anyone from the other team being in the room to stop you securing. This taught me about making the important decision and how it will impact the final moments of the round. In school, I’d get choices but I felt like it didn’t really matter which one I chose, the results would generally be the same. While on Siege, If I did not go into the objective while the time almost hit zero, I would have lost the round and our team would’ve been put at a disadvantage.

The most important thing I think I’ve learned is probably patience. There are times in Siege where you have to wait for the other team to come at you so that all you need to do is kill them. If you go rushing in, the other team will be ready for you and catch you off guard. School never really taught me patience because I’d get homework or other assignments due the next day so I never really put much time into the work. The work wasn’t straight trash but if I had more time, I’m sure the assignment would’ve been better.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Having an objective to accomplish in a video game brings together everyone that is playing. You won’t really find the kind of teamwork in videos in like school or somewhere else with people that do not know each other. It also taught me how to multitask better which school kind of helped but it didn’t really feel as impactful as learning it from playing games. Decision making and patience were things I felt like were something I’m glad I learned because there are a lot of decisions to make in life and some things in life can’t really be rushed so having patience helps. I find that learning these values from something other than school is more interesting to me because it is more of learning from your own interests and not having information just shoved in your face. When you learn from your own curiosity and interest, you feel more invested in it than someone giving you information. I always felt like school forced information into my brain that I was not really invested in. This led me to remember the information for that school year and then forget about it when the next year came. Learning skills at my own paced helped me to retain those skills and use it in school and work.

The Education Process- (REVISED VERSION)

The Education Process by Shauntai Smith                                                                                                                                                                                          So, it’s going on three years and I’ve been dedicating my precious time, hard work and patience to the most crappy school known to mankind, New Dawn High.  If the beige prison walls weren’t enough to drive me insane my teachers definitely passed that test with flying colors. As you can probably guess this was not my favorite place to be. For starters, everyone began at 7AM and left at 4PM which is awfully long compared to the average school day and for some strange reason the fact that this didn’t bother anyone else bothered me even more. As I began to rest my legs on a chair that was laid out before me, I couldn’t help but think about my future, my life and what I wanted it to be like. My fellow classmates were “grown”, either they were in their early 20’s, the loudest babymothers you’ve ever heard, babyfathers trying to get their life together, pregnant girls, dropouts, drop back ins, thugs and so on the list goes. All the kids were either sleeping or sleeping, exactly.                                                                                   I hated it there. For three years I felt misunderstood like no one including the teachers got what my “problem” was. I had no intentions on coming to this school you know, my teachers could feel my uninterested aura every time class begun. How could learning things like how to perfectly dissect a pig or finding the circumference of a sphere be valuable to my life? I couldn’t focus because as they read from their over-sized textbooks that could barely fit into their hands my mind would fade out,blocking their words like it was nothing. I was the smartest, always thinking ahead of my classmates so I knew I wasn’t the problem. I then grew tired of what was expected of my education process. A little talk with my kind, loving and extremely supportive parents led me to really think about my next move.                                                                                                So, I dropped out going against everything society thought to be true about the learning system being “needed” for one to succeed I thought to myself “you gotta make ditching school count for something”. Every morning I got my ass up with only one thought in my mind, money. I had no idea that I was in for a rude awakening but let me get to that part. It’s Friday! I could feel my check already in my hands before it actually got to me. Shopping, Chipotle and even a bit of weed all circled continuously in my head as I stood in line to grab my envelope with the words “shauntai smith” on it. I’ve never seen my name on anything regarding to money, just turning 17 I had no idea what to expect but I knew whatever came out of that envelope was mine, all mine. I reach for my envelope and there it was staring at me and sadly to my surprise I stared back in disbelief. It wasn’t a very good number at all. A total of $296.75, more like a total of disappointment.                                           My nose began to burn. I was fully aware that I was a few seconds from  crying and thinking of how much the money did not match the pay nor the amount of energy that was expected at all times. How much could I expect from a job that let a high school dropout like myself come work for them at 17. I was a baby compared to my fellow coworkers. They had children, rent, mortgages and yet they were still were comfortable. They collected their money every week happily without a complaint in the world. At this point I began to question everything. Do I really want to be here, working my ass off for hours and hours to receive a shitty paycheck or do I want to feel good about the work I do along with a higher pay-grade? The one thing I knew is that I did not want to be like these women who were stuck under these circumstances because they couldn’t or didn’t want to commit to school as well as furthering their education. Being 17 definitely gave me an advantage in life, countless room for growth and promising opportunities. I still had a pretty good chance to get my life back on track, this pushed me to make another decision and this one might just be my best one yet! Trying to grow up too fast wasn’t in my best interest and this dreadful draining place was not where I was meant to be. The next morning I enrolled myself in a GED program.                                                                                                                         I’m aware that pursuing my GED wasn’t going to be an easy task, shit if anything it would be tougher to gather all the information i’d have to learn within 9 months in only 2 . This new school had everyone be registered to take the test in 2 months to eliminate the feel of high school (music to my ears). The school understood my concept, all I wanted was to get a diploma so I can study a subject of my choice for once in 12 years. Two teachers taught all four subjects and they got the job done! They made everything easier to memorize and took the complicity away from subjects. I sat in the front of every class, breathed in every technique and material my instructors had given us. I knew I could not play around with my future anymore. I couldn’t be the old lady at some job getting paid less for more. Day in and day out I studied my life away, attended each tutoring session I could get my foot in. At this point in my education process putting my inner feelings to the side to receive that diploma I was so ready to get was the top priority. The day for testing came quicker than the flash! My baggy sweats and furry sweater comforted me in my long hours of sitting down and answering questions. I received the news exactly 2 weeks from the day I took it and to my surprise I passed. I passed everything, all five subjects in one shot. I realized that it was not about me in particular, I didn’t have to be the best I just had to want it more than anything else and let fate take it’s toll.