Education essay (revised)

Brandon Ma


Dr. Hall

English Composition 2

Ethnicity overwhelming grip

There are many factors that we as an individual can not change if we wanted to. Such as our religion, gender, ethnicity, or the choice to live out the life that we wanted to. Coming from an Asian background, it has been difficult for me to be happy with myself because of family pressure and expectations. I was not a higher achiever compared to relatives in my family or was I a hard worker. However, everyone should not be treated indifferently because of their lack of academic performance.


Every individual in their society will face different hardships. For a stereotypical Asian, we are expected to go to school and work hard to earn a good respective job that is acceptable in the family. However, individuals that put pressure on themselves to achieve their parent’s expectations often lead them to be constantly stressed and depression. It can be shameful to the family if the child did not study hard in school and turns out to be a dropout. Such as the quote from Mother’s Tongue, “Well, these are broad sociological questions I can’t begin to answer. But I have noticed in surveys — in fact, just last week — that Asian students, as a whole, always do significantly better on math achievement tests than in English”(Tan). Going to school everyday and my depression made me give up trying to achieve high grades in school to show my family for recognition. I was not particularly good in any subjects before college and failed a vast majority of the subjects such as english, science, and even math. I wasn’t able to reach that academic success that is perceived by the social norms. Throughout my elementary and middle school, I struggled in academics to the extent I was in probation in my 8th grade year. I was never a bookworm and my lack of  passion in learning made it more depressing. Being yelled at by my family, especially my father, for doing terrible in school had changed my perspective in many ways. I was sent to these after/summer programs that are suppose to provide extra learning called “Kumon” that was located next to my elementary school in Chinatown. I would always remember being put under a lot of stress to the point I had many mental breakdowns at the center. It felt like hell to stay when i was pushed to my limit, that I was told this “you are unable to leave until you get a 100% on this quiz”. I was there from 4pm to 6pm, constantly repeating the same quiz, It was just me and a few others after their closing hours still answering questions on their booklet. I felt trapped and what had became of me was in agony, I felt so frustrated that my tears wouldn’t stop leading to my booklet covered in tears. If you were to lift up the booklet, there would be a stream of water flowing to the bottom and off the booklet. In the end, I revolted against my parents for taking me to this program, I never felt that I learned anything at the program and it became unbearable to commit. In our world, having an higher education is the key to success, getting better paying jobs and respect.


When High school came along, it has opened a new doorway to me to appreciate the things around me. Changing my environment from middle school, I had experienced a vast diversity that I wouldn’t have in elementary or middle school. As time went along, I adapted and appreciated the friends that I made. I haven’t been very distressed about my grades too much because the teachers weren’t grade heavy. They do not give a bunch of assignments and the school wanted the students to appreciate more than just work hard and study in school. Many things that happened in my education, was around the time that I arrived in high school, that everything has shifted. Students were encouraged to learn at their own pace because everyone learns differently. Because of that classes had to slow down, thus some units in the year has been removed by the teacher. I appreciated with what I had in high school because students are not too competitive and students are supported more to achieve their high school diploma even if they didn’t want to. The teachers wanted students to appreciate life and not constantly going home and doing homework all night long before tomorrow’s deadline. While my school is a trade specifically, we also worked towards something that is more hands-on work if we are not academically successful. So I had a lot of free time to hang out with my friends and wasn’t bound to my school.


In conclusion the school education system, where students would cram everything for a semester and afterward neglect it. There should be a system for students to learn something that they are passionate in before they reach college instead of learning the common core. Also, the grades shouldn’t be the only reason why people sacrifice their mental and physical health to achieve high standards to be acknowledged by their peers and teachers.

“Moving Beyond Pain” Response

The writer for this piece says a lot at the beginning that I agree with. For instance, she mentions that she uses the visuals throughout Lemonade to show viewers how Beyonce’s choices of visual presentation can send a powerful message. She also mentions that it is no small feat, realizing how difficult it is to pull off. However, she then shifts it to focus on sexism and how that wasn’t showcased enough in relationships. I disagree with this. I feel that she didn’t showcase any relationship subjects in the visuals to show that it isn’t needed. For a woman to be strong, they shouldn’t have to rely on being with anybody, instead focus on growing on their own. I also feel that she is directing attention to more important matters, which is why she uses the Katrina visuals in Formation. This is to let people know that they should wake up to what’s going on, otherwise it will be normalized. She’s using her platform to raise awareness to cultural and world issues, rather than domestic and relationship ones. I don’t think she was trying to solve any issues, she just wanted to express herself and let people know her frustration at the government and police force.

For Thursday! (And a few meetings)

Hey everyone– just a reminder that the only homework for Thursday is to fill out the “Collaborative Project Evaluation Form” ONLY IF YOUR GROUP PRESENTED TODAY.

Also– I have meetings scheduled with the following people. My office is in Namm 525. It can be a little tough to find, so please allow yourself some extra time.

  • Weds:
  • 1:15 David
  • 1:30 Waleed


  • Thursday:
  • 5:15 Joshua
  • 5:30 Giuseppe
  • 5:45 Santi  

A Response to The Group Essays by Michael Vignoles

Michael Vignoles

Dr. Hall


From my experience with school the main issue is that we are teaching kids to memorize facts and formulas. We excuse memorization as learning. The problem with schools and tests is that we were memorizing facts for that particular subject or text at the time. I forgot what I memorized and unable to make confident decisions as a young adult. We’re teaching students that failing a test is the end of the world, yet as a young adult we make endless mistakes and learn from them. I truly believe that every individuals learns effectively in different ways and the education system and teachers should invest more time with student individually. Some students learn effectively by memorizing and putting that information into the real world which is great. However, after reading my group essays is showing that school in general does not give you life lessons and information that would truly help us in the real world.

In “Under Pressure” by Latrell Greene; his teacher gave him the chance to perform in front of a large audience ultimately allowing Latrell get over the fear of anxiety while performing in public. In “More Than A Game” by David Wu; he talks about how playing basketball taught him life lessons like to never give up, and that life is not going to be fair all the time. My favorite quote from him was “There are high and lows but you continue to give whatever you do your very best you will always emerge victorious”. In both these stories Latrell and David both learned life lessons that sitting in a classroom will never teach you.

“Pixelated Thoughts” by Nicholas Wojino and “Video Games Taught Me More than School Ever Did” Erik Yan but mention how video games taught them how to communicate, work with a team,  write with proper english and multitask. Both stories are evidence that not everyone learns and are engaged in topics the same ways. Nicholas talks about how society  make playing videos games as a brain washing violences enhancer. Furthermore, Nicholas and Erik outcomes suggest a that video games can teach them things that school cannot.

Every student learns differently. The education system and teachers need to adapt to each students as individuals. The School System uses the same format back when schools were still segregated. Student learns most effectively when they are interested and engaged on the topic. Everyone learns differently; if it’s being taught hands on, in real life mistakes, or memorizing facts. A good teacher should find ways to engage their students to help them feel stimulated and want to actually learn.   

If I Passed – Waleed Qureshi

Waleed Qureshi 

ENG 1121 

Prof. Carrie Hall 



Rough Draft 

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 (gives GED) 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 Cambridge exams (we called them CIEs). 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. OfCourse 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 = 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 sarcasm. My father and brother lived in New York, so they still didn’t know. OfCourse I didn’t tell them the results myself. 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 and even ended passing the next exams without being failed. 

Your marginal comments are HERE. Your grade and endnote are in the comment section. 

Acting Out (REVISED)

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.

Literature Rewritten

Growing up in an immigrant family was never easy. From education to real world problems, here I will talk about the one hardship and obstacle I still face to this day.
Both my parents came from Ecuador for a better life. Not only for themselves but for their kids: my siblings and I. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that determination and grit can pave the way for anything you want. As long as you have the hunger within you, you will accomplish your goal. So I was taught.
English was a nightmare at school from the very beginning. Every assignment given to student are all very open ended with either various responses being correct or responses that the teacher wanted to hear. It seems that I struggle with articulating my thoughts and ideas onto paper. When we had assignments given to us in school, I struggled with completing them at home. I was surrounded with the Spanish language getting thrown at me left and right. Nobody at home was help, something I needed. I remember always getting 3’s on my ELA state test and asking myself “how?” I was NEVER able to get above a 3, whereas math, I would never get below a 4. Boring assignments, boring teachers, boring books, vague questions had all killed the slight passion I had left for the English language, I just gave up.
English at home was never spoken. Coming from immigrants parents, this was the norm. Spanish here, Spanish there, Spanish everywhere. This made the English language even harder to perfect. I’ve always despised English class with their vague questions. “Think of a time when this happened causing this to happen.” I mean like seriously? This requires too much thinking and analyzing for me. It could also be the subjects of books assigned to the class. I still remember the various books given to read throughout high school like “Hamlet,” “Things Fall Apart,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Crucible,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Scarlet Letter,” etc. (I mean I could go on and on but I don’t want to bore you). That’s all I could tell you about these books, the title and nothing else. To read most books you have to come to class already with some brief knowledge of history. Let me explain. For “To Kill a Mockingbird,” you had to know the history of racism and America at that time in order to understand some racist undertones in literature. Otherwise, it was hard to care. The same goes with “Things Fall Apart.” I mean you HAD to know some historical context regarding British colonialism and the likes of African empires around that time. No disrespect but sometimes I don’t want to learn these historical events/background because I just do not care and do not wish to care.
Throughout high school, I can say that I’ve read a total of 2 books out of the 30 or 40 books we were assigned to read. Personally, I did most of my readings through the likes of sparknotes and shmoop. I did not want to waste my time reading about things I simply do not care about. I remember entering my English class one day. It was a Friday afternoon and it was my second to last period before I could go home. Keep in mind that I had gym class before this and I was about dead. So I go to sit down and I’m given this book titled “The Giver.” I had noticed the black and white background but what had caught my attention was the single colored apple in the middle. “Great” I thought, “Another boring book with a plain ass black and white cover.” Boy was I wrong. I Usain Bolted that book while on my way home from school. I had a glimpse of hope that maybe there are some books out there that are as exciting as “The Giver.”I was able to read through it all because of the subject matter: Utopian vs Dystopian societies, totalitarianism, etc. Other books I have actually enjoyed are those of similar subject matter such as Ender’s Game and “1984.” Most of these books given to students are plain boring and most people can agree with me, I’m sure.
There were plenty of times in high school where we were given essay assignments to complete based on books we have read. Whenever I thought I had written a piece of art, it turns out it was complete shit and I would received a 65-70 on it. Weirdly enough, whenever I thought I bombed an essay, it did pretty good, receiving an 85+. These series of events baffle me and to this day it still occurs. English is complicated and I will never be able to perfect this craft or art (whatever you want to call it) no matter how much I try. Even if I do try it ends up flunking.
At the end of the day, English is the reason why I got myself into an English-less major. I didn’t want to put myself through all this pain again, but here I am writing to you about my experiences. Maybe one day I will pick up another book but for now we can leave it at that as I don’t want to deepen my hatred for English.

My marginal comments on your paper are HERE. Your grade and my endnote are in the comments. 

The New Girl

Feighbe Solano

Professor Carrie Hall

English 1121

February 14, 2019

Final Draft

The New Girl

Growing up with separated parents was “normal” for me. I have very few memories back from when my parents actually lived together, little moments or visuals that I can see in my mind but never a full story that I could tell. My dad moved back to his native country, Colombia, when I was around four years old so every summer my mom would send my older brother and I to him and for the two months of summer vacation that we had, it would be spent there. By the end of August or the first week of September my brother and I would say our goodbyes, board a plane back to New York and begin the school year at P.S 153. One summer in particular, things wouldn’t go as they usually did.

During the summer of 2005 my mother surprisingly made the trip with us to Colombia, at the time I didn’t think anything of it since I was a child, I even recall sitting in an interview room with my brother, mother, father, and another person who I now assume would be the school director. The kind lady would ask me and my brother various questions about our family and our interests, then would ask me to draw pictures for her. She was interviewing us to see if we would be a good match in her school. I was about the age of 8 during this time, I loved going to Colombia to visit my dad and I also loved living with my mother in New York where I had been raised my entire life and English was my first language, my Spanish on the other hand wasn’t fluent and I had difficulty holding a full on conversation, but for some reason when my mom told me I’d be spending an entire year in Colombia going to school, making new friends, and being without her, I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t sad about not seeing my friends over in NY for a year or that I’d be in a completely different school atmosphere, my brother on the other hand was furious, since he was older and in his teenage years, spending time with his friends was everything to him so he didn’t take things as lightly as I had. From one week to the next my mother boarded a plane back to New York and promised to call us everyday, I think this was the most painful part of this experience. Nonetheless the beginning of the school year approached and my dad drove us on our very first day.

We had been accepted at a private school that specialized in teaching students English. Knowing how to speak two languages in Colombia was something very important whether it was French, English, or Mandarin, so private schools would specifically focus on one distinct language to teach students. I remember stepping out of the car and seeing my new school for the first time, and it looked absolutely nothing like how a school in New York would look. Before I could make into the principal’s office I was approached by two girls who looked about my age, they asked if I was the new girl and immediately grabbed my hand to show me around. I was extremely surprised at this. When I compare my experience of studying in Colombia compared to New York one of the biggest distinctions is the students. In Colombia the girls were extremely nice, inviting, and social, meanwhile in NY it was more of a waiting game, the teacher would pair you up and that’s who you were friends with. Aside from this within that one year my Spanish improved, I had learned to read and write in Spanish which has benefited me a lot now as an adult because in certain work settings it may be required to be bilingual or a big advantage compared to other candidates in job interviews.

Looking back at this experience, I wish I had studied more than one year in Colombia, because then I would have been able to continue perfecting my Spanish which is easier to do as a child. I’m thankful my parents had made that decision for me and I see it as more of an opportunity of growth that not all children experience, especially if they are born and raised in the United States. This has encouraged me to possibly even send my future children to study abroad when they are young in order to experience the same opportunities and experiences that I had.

Marginal comments HERE. Your grade and my endnote are in the comment section.