I knew very little English from what I was taught in my Pakistan school. Coming to America, I had this fear of not being able to communicate properly with my peers at school here. I was in 3rd grade when I immigrated to America, I remember my first day of school. I walked in class giving everyone this look of fear in my eyes, I didn’t say a word. I was hoping no one talks to me. I was hoping the teacher doesn’t put me on the spot. Since English isn’t my first language and I couldn’t speak it fluently, I was placed in ESL (English Second Language). My teachers knew I was in ESL so they gave it their best to help me advance out of ESL. I was in ESL for 3 years, which was my entire elementary experience. With the help of my teachers, I trained myself to pass the ESL exam.
Starting 6th grade I was placed in regular English. I enjoyed writing a lot more than reading, I don’t know why but I find almost nothing interesting in reading. It was like my biggest enemy, I hated it more than bullies. I seemed uninterested in almost every reading I was given. I only finished my reading assignments given by the teacher if I was forced to read. Every time I was given a book from the teacher, I tried to find ways to avoid reading the entire book and jump to summaries. Sometimes I had no choice but to read, because there would be a quiz or an exam. Starting high school, avoiding readings became almost impossible. There would be times where I wanted to write an essay or story but my vocabulary was really weak. I think it was in 10th grade when I finally realized the true meaning behind reading. I knew I had to make reading my best friend. I also realized that my vocabulary was weak because I don’t read. It was getting harder and harder to write. Hence, I started to read more. Started slow but if I look at my past, I read more than before.
Reading wasn’t my favorite thing to do but I truly enjoy writing. It was something I could do and not realize how much I have written. In 10th grade my creative writing teacher gave us an assignment to write, she said to write about yourself. It can be about anything, maybe something that occurred in the past that changed your life. As easy as it sounds, it was actually so hard for me to write about just anything. It was hard for me to think about one thing out of all the other events that have occurred in the past. When it comes to writing, I hate writing about myself. I find it hard to think about a specific event. However, once I get an idea and start writing I would go on and on about that topic. If a teacher gives me a specific topic to write about, it makes my life so much easier.
I had many events in the past. First I had to divide all those moments into the events that were interesting. Then I had to choose just one to write about. It took me the entire period to think about an event to write about, so I had to finish it at home. The next day during editing, my teacher read my writing and said that my use of vocabulary is very weak. She said I was using small words to describe the event and that I should expand my vocabulary. At first I was so confused. I thought to myself, how do I expand my vocabulary? Completing the assignment became really hard, not because I couldn’t write or couldn’t think of the topic. It was because I was told to expand my vocabulary and I had no idea how I can do that. My teacher asked me if I read books and I replied, “To be honest I don’t like books or to read.” She said that I would have to make books my best friend if I want to get better at writing. I completed the assignment but it became uninteresting after I used the wrong words to describe the event. I couldn’t learn new words in a day, so I decided that I will read more in hope that over time my vocabulary grows stronger.