Expectations Vs. Reality

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 im 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 Im 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 ts 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, Im 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.

        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 a learning experiences.

Your marginal comments are HERE. Your grade and my endnote are in the comments. 


My Luck

Pavel Nunez

Dr Carrie Hall


English 1121


                                                            My  Luck


Sometimes in life I always get lucky and that’s just how it is . But it wasn’t the luck that helped me , it was the effort that lead me to that luck .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 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. 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. It was sorda disappointing that my only friend in that class decided to withdraw but it was his 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, 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”. 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 mostly about luck but how much you effort you put in to get that luck. It something like this:You just don’t go in a store and expect to win the lottery ticket after buying a scratch ticket, you have to work and get money, then walk to the store and spend your hard earned money on a ticket which you will likely not win but it’s basically a  risky gamble

Video Games Taught Me More Than School Ever Did

Erik Yan

Dr. Carrie Hall

Final Draft


Video Games Taught Me More Than School Ever Did


Life is a whole learning lesson. The way we learn is completely up to us. I think the best way of learning is to make the process fun and relatable. Something that made learning fun for me was video games. Video games does not look like it would teach you anything that is taught at school but it 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 can 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’m 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. It went on like this for the whole game and in the end, we lost the game. The next game, I tried giving callout 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.

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 gamemode is hostage then also that. You also have to worry about the time and your teammates. I say teammates because in this game your team can technically kills 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. 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.

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. 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 things 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. It wasn’t straight trash but if I had more time, I’m sure it 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 appeals to me a lot more.

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

Why Were You Like This?

Ife Ajayi
Prof. Hall
Eng 1121
12 February 2019

Final Draft

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 choices I did. 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 knew 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 wanted to be like those people, it’s just that they shouldn’t be looked down upon just because college wasn’t for them. Especially if they aren’t on the streets begging but instead doing something productive with their lives.

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 just wasn’t interested in school at that time. I didn’t have the guts to tell my parents any of that though because I know how they are. “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 after that rhetorical question was asked.

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. I wasn’t putting in any effort to become a better student. My mother would always tell me that I had the potential to be one of the best students. My father would also tell me the same thing and it’s not that I didn’t believe them I was just very lazy with my education in high school. 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.

One day 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.

Twelfth grade ended up being my best year of high school. I was determined and motivated 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. I’m still til this day very thankful for their help towards my education. With their support and the support of my parents I became on track to graduate before the school year was over. 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 going back.

Looking back on my previous years of schooling always makes me wonder 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’m just glad that I was able to make it through 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.

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

Waleed Rough Draft

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. 


Hey everyone, final drafts of unit one are due next Thursday, Feb 14. Remember that we do not have class on February 12. You will need to post your essay on OpenLab BEFORE class time. The category is “Education Essay” again.  Please make sure that somewhere on your paper you have clearly indicated that this is the final draft. (However, please do not title your essay “Final Draft”) Please note that titles, my name, your name, page numbers and other headings don’t count toward the word count.

Do you need exactly 850 words? No. But the shorter it is, the better it needs to be. And honestly, 500 words will not be enough. And 700 words almost certainly won’t be enough unless those are the greatest 700 words I have ever read in my life. Shoot for 850-1000. I won’t accept more than 2000. 

The guidelines for the essay are under “Unit One” which you can find in the header at the top of the webpage. I also wrote WAY too much describing this essay in my blog post below if you have more questions. If you have more questions, you can also email me.

If you would like to meet with me to discuss your essay before it’s due, I’m happy to do so, but you’ll have to come meet with me. Email me to set up an appointment.

See you next week!

Rough Draft

Amani Nassar

English 1121

Dr. Hall

February 7, 2019

My Better Halves 

Coming from such a diverse background of being Palestinian and Puerto Rican, I often times came across the issue of learning my culture’s language. For better or worse, I never got the chance to learn Arabic as I lived at home with only my Puerto Rican family. My grandma is a fluent Spanish speaker and my mother sort of is too, both also knowing English fluently. The difference between us is that they are, of course, fully Puerto Rican where I on the other hand, have a confliction of two cultures that are more different than alike. Here and there I would learn words and phrases from them growing up and I still do to this day, but I would say my spanish is in fact, broken.

Here’s what I mean by broken; I could be having a conversation with someone like my abuela and find myself switching back and forth between English and Spanish like its the normal thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing with doing this especially if it’s with family, but it’s definitely not the correct way of speaking. But whose to truly say that this is an incorrect way of speaking? This shift of language is what many people call Spanglish which is something that has been around for quite sometime and is evolving to soon be considered a language. I also tend to throw Spanish words somewhere within my English sentences like “¿que? What are you talking about?”

I took Spanish class all 4 years of high school and even took AP Spanish during my senior year. I guess you could say I learned spanish from those long 4 years, but the reality of it is that I learned just what I needed to get by or just used my previous knowledge from the Spanish I spoke at home. Spanish class never taught me how to become a fluent speaker, it was more so a class where you would have a textbook to read, answer some questions about what you’ve read and recite a few sentences to the teacher every other class or so, there was nothing really there for me to carry outside of the class, it was quite repetitive. As a student I know it’s my duty to do more work outside of classroom, but I didn’t have the foundation or much knowledge to do so with what little I had learned.

From the very beginning of that class I noticed that textbook Spanish was very different from the Spanish I spoke at home and even the spanish I heard out in the streets. One, needless to say, was much more formal whereas the other had more of a slang twist to it.



Being that I live with my Puerto Rican side of the family, I felt as though I was missing out on the experiences my other culture could offer me and I still do feel this way. It’s hard to learn or even adapt to a culture I never grew up with.


Personal Breakthrough Draft

Santi Gill



I was walking to my house after work, still in my ugly green sweater, with the cool air surrounding me and the sun setting on the city. I see my mom walk out, purse on one shoulder, and ask me to come with her to the store, so I go with her. She offered to pay for whatever I get, so I got a sandwich, and she got her things. The cook there was good. Don’t know his name, but I’d guess through healthy racial profiling that he was a Mexican man. But what mattered was not his looks, but whether or not the food he makes is good, and it always is. Ordering my food, the cook forgot what was in the type of sandwich I told him. My mom got mad at that, so I had to give her the rundown that not everybody has photographic memory, and that he cant remember everything on the menu and what’s gonna be in it. At my own job it’s kind of similar, but instead of food, its balloons that are available behind the cash register. Customers usually describe what type of balloon it is rather than say the number we put on top of it, so I have to turn around and look to see what they mean instead of just putting in the three numbers.

When she had finished with what she was buying and while I was waiting on the food, my mom got tired of the lady in front of her waiting to get change and bumped into her. The lady my mom bumped into just looked at her, and continued to deal with the cashier to get her change. All the while my mom is talking under her breath at her. The lady gets her things, talks under her breath back at my mom, before screaming at her before leaving the store, which causes her to try and go after the lady, which forces me to hold my mom back. I thought the whole thing was kind of funny. Two cops had been inside the store, also waiting on food, and the main reason I hadn’t gotten mine. My mom took notice of them and tried to explain what happened, prompting the cops to explain to her that if she tried to go after the lady, she would have been arrested. She had a fit and because of this was allowed to take what she put on the counter for free. It would have been nice if that was the motivation behind it. But no, just her being her I guess. I just wanted my damn sandwich. I ended up getting the sandwich for free too, but at the end of the day, I dont think she should have been mad at the cook or the lady, it didn’t make sense. I learned from then on that going to the store with my mom might not bring about good luck to the people around us, so I choose not to, unless I get a free sandwich.