Portfolio & Reflection


Unit 1, educational narrative essay – Review

I got wonderful feedback from my professor and peer review partner for both for my first draft and my final essay. Despite that I still went through my essay and made some minor changes which I think is especially important. In my final draft my opening sentence for my essay was “Growing up in a third world country like St. Lucia, there were many challenges and fragments in the educational system.” After revising my essay, I noticed that I did not specify the type of challenges and after reading the body where I had listed many economic challenges, I then restructure my sentence to this: “Growing up in a third world country like St. Lucia, there were many economic challenges and fragments in the educational system.”  I also reword my thesis statement. I changed my opening sentence for body paragrapg#5 because it summed up my paragraph a lot better.


Growing up in a third world country like St. Lucia, there were many economic challenges and many fragments in the educational system.  One of which was, there were no national policies on early childhood development and another one was that many kids including me had truly little cultural capital at our disposal. Despite the lack of preschool, limited financial resources and the struggles I faced with the English language I was still able to excel throughout my educational journey in St. Lucia.

As I mentioned before I was not fortunate enough to attend quality preschool in my country and therefore could not receive all the literacy and numeracy skills needed to form a foundation for my education. My first official educational experience was kindergarten and as an eager learner, I did not let anything stop me. I started reading early on and before long excelled in every subject, even when it was hard to focus sometimes, because of the noise that carried through, as all classrooms were in one building with just blackboards and desk to separate them.  My school had no computers, extremely limited school supplies but what we had were very dedicated teachers who made a huge impact on my education. I had extraordinarily little school supplies at home because my parents were not able to provide me with all the books needed for school. We had no internet access and to make matters worse the nearest library was fifteen miles away from home.  Dispute all of this, I had always managed to engage in whatever limited reading or writing materials that were available to me and when I could not find a good book to read, I would spend hours practicing math problems and as a result math become my favorite subject in school. My fondness memory and one of my proudest moments was in 6th grade, when a friend and I were chosen to represent our school in an inter-regional school math competition, and we won! This competition is like the spelling bee competition but instead of spelling words you solve math problems. My entire school was overjoyed as it was the first time in an awfully long time that my school had won any competition. It was indeed a proud moment for La Resource Combined School.  It was at the end of this very same year I went on to attain the highest score from my school after writing the common entrance exam; this was an exam to determine which high school you can attend. I was the only student from my school to attend the most prestigious high school in the country. This achievement did not only make myself and my parents proud but also my entire community.

The news about my high brought lots of excitement in my household of course but for my parents it also brought about a lot of worry and anxiety. I knew that they were thinking about how they could afford to send me to this high school which was all the way in the city. How could they afford not just uniforms and books but now they had to also think of transportation cost to and from school. My parents both dropped out of high school at an early age, my dad worked as an automobile mechanic while my mom worked on a farm. The money that they brought home was barely enough to sustain our family of four. But With help from other family members my parents were able to afford me this great educational opportunity. And before you knew it, it was September and I was boarding the very first bus out of my small village, wearing proudly, my white and blue uniform along with my brand-new pair of Nike sneakers bought by my Godmother and carrying my new Jan sport backpack. I left my village on my forty-minute journey overly excited but also extremely nervous about what this new endeavor would bring.

High school for me came with a few challenges but with my parents’ encouragement I hanged in there and made it through. There I was, in a new city, new school, no familiar faces except one other friend, who was my elementary school principal’s daughter. My worries indeed came to light on that very first week of school; my fellow classmates made me feel like I did not belong because of how I spoke. My parents primarily spoke French Patois and that was our main home language. In Saint Lucia, most of the elders spoke French Patois except if they had some form of schooling, then they may know a little bit of English. My parents both dropped out school at an early age and as a result their English was extremely limited and therefore, we spoke mainly French patois at home. The English I knew was mostly what I had learnt at school. I remember accompanying my mom on multiple shopping trips to the city as she needed me to translate to the store attendants so they could better understand her. On the contrary, most of the kids at my high school were from the city so they spoke a little differently from how we spoke in the countryside because they spoke mostly English at home and were exposed to little French Patois if any. I remember being one of those who was constantly ridiculed at school when I read because I did not sound like my other “city” friends. This was very embarrassing and stressful for me and at one point I thought about having my parents transfer me to a high school closer to home. My parents of course knew that staying at St. Joseph’s Convent Secondary school gave me the best shot at passing my CXC exams and insisted that I stayed there. CXC stands for Caribbean Examination Council and is a huge exam that Caribbean students write at the end of high school.  I am glad I stayed because halfway through my first year, I really started enjoying my school; the ridicule had stopped, and I had formed many friendships, but it did impact my love or lack thereof for English Composition.  I always found it extremely difficult to come up with creative ideas to write about and how to correctly formulate my sentences in proper standard English. Although the way I felt about English never really changed throughout high school, I was still able to obtain an “A” in English, along with seven other CXC passes at the end of my high school tenure. I still struggle today when I am faced with putting a writing piece together even after all these years.

Now that I live in the United States and having school aged kids of my own, I cannot help but realize the vast differences in available resources that my kids have now that I did not have back then. My kids are attending high quality schools, they have internet access, a wider range of books and other reading materials, a lot more learning resources in their classrooms and libraries in their neighborhood. And I have often thought about how different my educational experience would be, had all these resources been available to me back in my country. Although I did not have the best start with education and truly little resources at my disposal, I was still able to shine throughout my educational journey in St. Lucia. And I am grateful that I can proudly share this journey with my kids today.


Unit 2 – Annotated Bibliography Review

Unit 2 was very new to me and although I enjoyed doing the research and gathering the necessary information, I found this project the least enjoyable. This annotated bibliography was straight forward so I changed my thesis statement in the introduction a little. Although this was not my favorite unit, I am glad that I got to put an annotated bibliography together since this was my very first attempt at it.

 Research Topic:

COVID-19 Pandemic and it’s Mental Health Impact on Children and Adolescents.


I am interested in this topic because, first and foremost, I am a mom; I have two boys in elementary school who have not seen the inside of a classroom since March of 2020. Although I am very thankful that as of now, my boys seem alright; they are happy and seem well adjusted, I often worry about their lack of interaction or socialization with friends and other close relatives and whether that can have a negative impact on their wellbeing in the future. I also cannot help but think about many other kids out there that are having a hard time adjusting and has no support system at home.  Also, as a Human Services Major student this topic is especially important to me because getting individuals back on their feet is my main goal as a changemaker. My hope is that if these kids and their families can get the help that is needed right now, they could soon be on the right track to recovery and live productive lives again.


Imran, N., Zeshan, M., & Pervaiz, Z. (2020). Mental health considerations for children & adolescents in COVID-19 Pandemic. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 36, S-1-S-6.

According to Imran, Zeshan and Pervaiz, although the number of children affected by the COVID-19 Virus is small and most of the affected children only experience mild symptoms, they explained that “the disease and containment measures are likely to negatively impact the mental health and well-being of children”. They highlighted the fact that children are vulnerable because they have limited understanding of the event and that school closures and separation from friends can cause stress and anxiety. Imran, Zeshan and Pervaiz point out that some of the symptoms of stress and anxiety include disturbances in sleep and appetite and impairment in social interactions. The authors used research study to support their claim; one of the research studies was from China where children and adolescents were screened for behavioral and emotional distress due to the Pandemic. In this research they found that clinginess, distraction, irritability and fear of family members contracting the virus were the most common behavioral problems Identified. They also pointed out that screen time of children and adolescents has increased significantly since the start of the Pandemic. They express that excessive exposure to media coverage of the pandemic itself can cause stress. They highlighted a research that was done after 9/11 and found that excessive television exposure led to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health disorders. They also highlighted the fact that the Pandemic has brought about financial losses to many families and that too can heighten the stress levels in these households. They went on to say that during the pandemic, there were increased reports of suspected child abuse, neglect, and exploitation in the State of Texas. Such behaviors are very traumatic and detrimental to children.

Imran, Zeshan and Pervaiz used recent studies and research to support their claims and these claims appear to be plausible. In this review article, they present a strong argument that The Pandemic is indeed affecting children and adolescents’ mental health. The authors suggested a few ways of connecting with loved ones during the pandemic and one was through video chat. My thought about this is that unfortunately, many households cannot afford internet or even telephone service and can make it difficult to connect via these means. During the start of the pandemic and prior, many low-income American families could not afford internet or phone service and the kids of these households were not able to connect with their peers for school or neither with other family members. I can see how these families seemed even more isolated than those who were able to use technology to connect.

The authors are all in the Psychology field and they corroborated to write this highly informative scholarly article.  They have presented extraordinarily strong arguments to support their claim and they have presented ways to help children and adolescents cope with stress and anxiety during and after the pandemic. I believe the author’s main audience is Parents and to some extent health care professionals.



KLUGER, J. (2020). The Kids Are Not Alright. TIME Magazine, 196(5/6), 64–67.

In this Article, Kluger highlights the fact that COVID-19 affects various age groups differently, with 65 and older being the population who is more likely to get hospitalized and even die from the virus. Just like Imran, Zeshan and Pervaiz, Kluger seems to suggest that “although the virus seems to spare most kids bodies, it’s not being as kind to their minds”. In this article, Ezra Golberstein, a health-policy researcher at the University of Minnesota said, “I worry that kids will get a double wallop”. She explained that kids are having to deal with the disease itself and the fear of it. She then added that, moreover, they have to deal with the lockdowns and being removed from the school environment and their friends. Kluger used a study out of China to further support his claims. This study examined a sample group of 2,330 school children for signs of emotional distress. The kids had been locked down for an average of 33.7 days and found that even after that single month 22.6% of the children reported depressive symptoms and 18.9% were experiencing anxiety. Like Imran, Zeshan and Pervaiz, Golberstein found that job lost and economic strain during the pandemic causes mental health problems in children – she states that “when the economy is in a bad place, kids mental health gets worse”. Goldberg and his co-authors studied economic conditions in the U.S. from 2001 to 2013 and found that during the Great recession, a 5-percentage-point increase in the national unemployment rate correlated with an astounding 35% to 50% increase in “clinically meaningful childhood mental health problem”. Kluger added work of another psychologist, Mary Alvord who is also the co-author of “Resilience Builder Program for Children and Adolescents”. She points out that kids are saying about COVID-19, that they are afraid for themselves and for their parents and they feel helpless and out of control and that can cause increased anxiety in those kids. Another important point highlighted in this article is that children who were already using mental-health services are at higher risk and that it is especially important that these services are not disrupted even during the pandemic.

In Klugers article, Silver said that, “If there is one thing that’s certain about the impact of the pandemic on young mind, is that it’s not going to stop until the spread of COVID-19 itself does”. I strongly disagree with silver on this point; I believe that the impact will be less once the spread of COVID-19 stops but I do believe that there will be some children and adolescents who would require mental health services well after the pandemic ends. Except this point I believe that this article used lots of studies and statements from Psychologists and they posed exceptionally good arguments and research studies to support Kluger’s claim. I do believe that the pandemic has had and will probably continue to negatively impact children’s mental health. Some families are better equipped to handle changes and challenges while others not so much and those are the families who will be mostly affected.

The author is a writer for Time Magazine and have used recent studies, health researcher to help come up with plausible arguments to support his claims and as a result I find this article very credible. I believe his main target audience is parents and health officials and hopefully government agencies.



Patrice Harris MD, MA, discusses the Pandemics Impact on children and Teens. February 2021

In this video interview, Todd Unger, AMA Chief Experience Officer in Chicago asks Patrice Harris, MD, MA, a variety of questions regarding the Pandemics impact on Children and Teens. Dr. Harris argued that although there’s good news regarding vaccines being administered to people and the overall number of COVID-19 cases are decreasing, there have been increasing number of children and adolescents experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression and that there has also been an increased in the number of suicides. She also highlights that the suicide rate increased in far greater numbers for African American male youth. Dr.Harris pointed out that some families have had to deal with the loss of family members due to COVId19 and went on to say that these families are not able to grieve or say goodbye to the people they love because of COVID-19 restrictions. She said that all these stressors are causing more incidences of depression, anxiety, and suicide. She believes that support services need to be available when needed. She also argues that collaborative care and integrated care is particularly important in helping young people achieve better health outcomes.

In the interview Dr Harris mentioned that suicide rates were far higher among young African American males, I was hoping she would go into more details as to why this is the case and what programs or policies are available or being implemented to help reduce the suicide rate in young African American males. I agree with Dr. Harris when say said “After we get over the acute phase of the pandemic, I think we will be talking more and thinking more about perhaps post-traumatic stress disorder”. I believe this is true because many families are still having a hard time getting access to quality health care services and another reason is the fact that many jobs have left the economy and may not come back even after the pandemic and this contributes to continued stress and anxiety for many families.

Dr.Patrice Harris is an American psychiatrist and the first African-American woman to be elected president of the American Medical Association. I think that Todd Unger asked really important questions and Dr.Harris’ information from this interview is very credible and that she has presented strong arguments supporting the claim that the pandemic has and may continue to have a negative impact on Children’s mental health.



To conclude, I have found that based on research, surveys there is a strong correlation between the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health issues in Children and adolescents.  There are increased cases of depression and anxiety in young children and an increased in the rate of suicides in that population as well.  I have discovered that these could be presented in many different forms such as clinginess, disturbances in sleep and appetite, irritability and impairment in social interactions.  The articles above suggested a few ways that we can help lessen these effects. The articles suggested that providing a safe, loving environment is especially important as well as keeping kids away from tv news and other social media news coverage can help lessen their worry and anxiety. The authors also believe that kids with mental health issues should seek the medical attention that they need even though accessing these resources during the pandemic might be difficult at times. Imran, Zeshan and Pervaiz said that” ignoring the immediate and long-term psychology effects of COVID-19 pandemic would be disastrous, especially for children”. They emphasize that parents also need to look after their mental health in order to better support children and adolescents to get through this difficult time.

I think this information is immensely helpful for parents but also for healthcare professionals and government agencies. For Parents, these articles could help them better spot the symptoms that are associated with depression and anxiety and it provides parents with many tools and mechanism that can help support kids who are having difficulties adjusting. For Healthcare professionals this could help them do further research about the issue of mental health and in turn could better support these patients and their families. And Lastly, government agencies could implement policies to help families better access health care services and provide better support for these families. I believe that when school do reopen fully, some kids will need all the mental service support that they can get through their schools – this is another way that local government can help.


Link for Unit 3 Below:  Unit 3 – “New Genre”





I have learnt a lot about myself as both a reader and a writer this semester.  Many of the articles that we discussed in class this semester was aimed at improving our reading and writing skills. I have been trying to use these tools and strategies in most if not all my writing materials since.  As I am writing this final reflection, I am practicing what I learnt in the article “shitty first draft”, as I reflected on my English composition course this semester, I let the thoughts and ideas flow without the pressure of sitting at my screen and thinking that I needed to come up with a great reflection right away.  This allowed me to take a break and then go back to my piece, with a clear mind and edit my work. I have learnt that even the best writers come up with a “shitty first draft” and it is out of this “shitty first draft” that you can come up with great work.  Before I started this Course, I always felt pressured to come up with a perfect draft right off the bat, a draft with well-structured sentences, perfect standard English. But upon reading some of these articles I learned that first drafts do not have to be perfect and writing in my “mother tongue” is also alright as well.  Knowing this has reduce the anxiety and worry I feel when undertaking a writing assignment. I also learned a lot from the article, “backpack and briefcases” by Laura Bolin. And that a good piece will include Ethos, pathos, and Logos. I have tried to include all in my writing this semester and will continue to do so in my future courses and in my everyday writing pieces such as emails, reviews, essays and so on.

This semester I also learned a lot about thesis statements and what constitutes a good thesis statement. This is an important writing technique that I now try to pay attention to when I attempt to write any material. I think my Unit 1 essay – Educational Narrative, had an extraordinarily strong thesis statement in part because of the feedback from Professor Reichert. It read “Despite the lack of preschool, limited financial resources and my struggles I faced with the English language, I was still able to excel throughout my educational Journey in St. Lucia”.  This thesis statement worked because it covered everything in my body paragraphs. I really enjoyed writing the essay in Unit 1. The first reason is because after over a decade not being in college, I was incredibly nervous when I started this course. I kept doubting myself and thinking that I did not have it in me. After Unit 1, and the wonderful feedback from Professor Reichert and my Peer review partner I knew that I still had it in me, and that really improved my overall confidence and self-esteem.

My favorite assignment was Unit 3 – New Genre. After watching the documentary “Norwegian Prison” by Michael Moore, it opened my eyes as to the different ways we can present various issues or topics. Like we discussed in class, had Michael Moore presented this issue in an article or a podcast, we believe that It would not have the same effect as it did as a documentary. The film clearly covered the Ethos, pathos, and logos of Michael Moore issue. For my “new genre” assignment I choose to do a newspaper article as my genre for presenting the issue of COVID-19 and its mental health Impact on Children.  This assignment allowed me to use my creativity and think outside-the-box.  I made sure I incorporated Pathos (I used an image of a child clearly not enjoying distant learning and looking very unhappy). I also used Logos (I included a survey from China which looked at a group of 2,330 school children for symptoms of stress after 33.7 weeks in lockdown and showed how U.S lockdowns were longer than 33 weeks and so could be even more detrimental to kid’s mental health here in the U.S). Ethos in which I used credible sources such as research studies and surveys to prove my argument. When I started my assignment for Unit 3 it was especially important to me that I picked an appropriate headline for my newspaper article and the right images that would help bring across my point and attract my readers attention and have the greatest appeal to my audience.

Unit 2 was very new to me and although I enjoyed doing the research and gathering the necessary information, I found this project the least enjoyable. It was a very lengthy and boring process for me.  But although this was not my favorite unit, I am glad that I got to put an annotated bibliography together since this was my very first attempt at it. I also got to learn how to access City Tech online Library during my research and I have been able to use the library for my other courses as well.

Revising my assignment weeks after I had submitted them gave me the opportunity to look at it with a fresh new perspective. And my doing so I was able to make some structural and some other minor changes to my essays. This allowed me another opportunity to “clean up my mess”.  I am glad I got a final opportunity to make my essays more readable and presentable. During my revision process I was able to use the reflecting techniques highlighted in Sandra Giles article, “Reflective writing and the Revision Process: What were you thinking”. This allowed me to probe a little deeper into my thinking and what has really helped to cement my learning.

Before this class I had always viewed English class as a class where every assignment would be a traditional essay but when I started Units 2 and 3, It became noticeably clear to me that English class can go beyond essay writing and can allow you to further use your creativity and think more outside-the-box. This is one of the reasons that I really liked working on my Unit 3 assignment.



Discussions Unit 3


TOPIC:  The COVID-19 Pandemic and its Mental Health Impact on Children and Adolescents.

This issue  has been on my mind since the start of the pandemic last year. When the stay-at-home orders were issued at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it took a toil on me mentally. I just could not process the fact that in such a short space of time our lives had completely changed. So much of our lives were changing; we now had to work from home and be fulltime caretakers for our kids, we had to be fulltime tutors and help with online assignments – I was complete burned out. During this time, my kids seemed to adapt very well to the change, but I often worried that their lack of social interaction with friends and other family members would impact them mentally. I worried about them not being able to have that outdoor time that we had incorporated into our daily schedule. They were not able to go to the neighborhood playgrounds, museums or their favorite restaurant as everything was closed. Their lives had completely changed. This had me very worried about the mental health impact that the COVID-19 pandemic can have on my kids and also children all over.

By researching this topic, I was hoping to find out whether the COVID-19 Pandemic has indeed affected kids’ mental health and if it has, to what extent. I also wanted to find out how parents or caretakers can identify the symptoms associated with stress and anxiety in children and adolescents. I was interested in finding out what parents and other families can do to help reduce or eliminate the stress and anxiety that their children could possibly be experiencing. The information obtained was extremely helpful to me as a parent and I hope that I can reach out to other parents by writing a newspaper article. I would like other parents and caregivers like myself to read this article and hopefully find this information useful especially the families that are going through a rough time during this pandemic. I would like my article to be published in a popular newspaper such as The New York Times for example. I will use research studies and surveys which will provide my readers with statistics that will help prove my arguments. I will also use statements from psychologist which I know will help many families that are not able to access proper mental health services right now. A particularly important factor for my newspaper article is that I have a bold and catchy headline as to capture my readers attention to this especially important issue. I choose to do a newspaper article because most newspapers now are available both in print and online and this ensures that I reach more of my target audience. Initially, I wanted to write a press release, but I opt for the newspaper article instead as I think I can bring more creativity to a newspaper article than I would with a press release. I am glad and satisfied with that choice.

My first challenge was choosing the right newspaper format; I had a hard time deciding whether I should add pictures and If I do, how many I should add. I wanted to make sure that the heading for my article was eye-catching and appropriate for my topic, so It took me some time to come up with the right one. My focus was making sure I added as much information as possible and the important details that will help educate my readers about my topic.

I think my newspaper article turned out great. I had gathered all my information and evidence through my sources, so this made it easy to just apply to my newspaper article. This also allowed to me to see my different appeals evolve.  If I had all the time, money, and expertise in the world I would have the right computer software to start my newspaper article, making this process a little easier. I would also be able have a newspaper editor that can double check my article.

I would say this whole process has been a bit challenging for me. This is the first time that I have attempted such a project. I had always viewed being in an English class as having to constantly writing a series of essays, but this project has proven than English composition goes beyond the traditional essay writing and has motivated me to think more outside the box and explore my creativity. I can absolutely see myself using this again in the future.

Discussions Unit 3

Unit 3 – GENRE

My topic is Covid-19 and its Mental Health Impact on Children and Adolescents. As of now, I am still indecisive on the exact genre that I will use for my unit 3 assignment. I am considering genres that are remarkably similar, which is a newspaper/magazine article or a press release. I believe these would all reach my target audiences, but I am leaning towards the press release as I believe that press releases can usually cover especially important and urgent topics such as mine. For my topic, I can see for example, CDC releasing a Press Release about my issue to educate the public. In this press release, I will argue that it has been proven that the pandemic does impact kids’ mental health. I will show research studies and surveys to help prove my argument. I will also provide detailed statements from Psychologists and other health care professionals. I will include some of the symptoms associated with stress and anxiety in Children and adolescents and various intervention methods to promote child mental health throughout the pandemic and even after the pandemic is over.  This is an especially important issue and I believe that the entire adult population should know about it and this can be achieved with a  Press Release.