Academic Self-Discovery: Literary Arts Festival pt. 1

If you are someone who enjoys writing, plans to have a career as a writer or just have a literary work that you’re pleased with, I’m here The Literary Arts Festival. The Literary Arts Festival (LAF) is a writing competition that takes place every year to celebrate the writing of students, faculty and staff. Students are highly encouraged to participate in this event by submitting their literary work for the many categories that can interests them. Upon submitting their writing it must be anonymous and they can only submit one entry for every category.

Winners of these categories not only get to celebrate having their work be considered amazing enough to win but also win prizes and have the opportunity to read their work during the night of the festival. The festival itself is an awesome event that has entertainment such as the City Tech Step Team, cool introduction videos by the LAF volunteers, and guest speakers whose works students have been reading in class for that semester. This year we even had a singer serenading us with angelic vocals.

Last year I found out about this event from my English professor and decided to not just volunteer with the LAF team but also submit an essay I had written the previous semster. I sent my work just to take a chance on it. I was just proud of that essay and decided to submit it. Yet, one morning a friend that had also submitted her own writing texted me to let me know that I was one of the winners. Learning this left me in disbelief and delighted. It also reminded me that no matter the career path I chose, writing would always be something I’m passionate about.

Academic Self-Discovery: My Story

For some people, knowing exactly what occupation they want to go after is simple. They could even have it figured out from a young age. While for others, deciding what career path to follow is harder to do. Some reasons for this could be that they haven’t found their passion yet, that they feel obligated to do something they are pushed to do do; or that they decide on a job that allows them to make money while still in search of their dream job.

I am one of the latter. Before entering college I honestly had no solid career goal. Growing up I’ve always been pushed by my Caribbean family to go into the medical field because of financial success. Because of this, every time I’ve tried to construct a career goal, I make sure to make it involve something that is in that field. I did a summer program called ‘Upward Bound’ before my freshman year of college and I thought I would go to college to become a Music Therapist. I thought including something with music would fit- to compromise really- right into what I could enjoy doing for the rest of my life because I really love music. A little into my first year the thoughts of being a Music Therapist vanished. It changed to nursing because one thing I was always certain of was my passion to help others in some form. Not quite ready to be committed to nursing I changed my major to Liberal Arts and Science (still keeping nursing on the table but open to other careers in science). It wasn’t until a few months ago at CSTEP, a program here at City Tech that I was asked questions that really made me hone in on just where I could see myself career wise. Questions like “What ways do I see myself helping people?” allowed me to settle on two responses. One was becoming a Physical Therapist and the other a writer.

English has always been my favorite subject. As a child I enjoyed writing stories and throughout highschool I read and even wrote stories online. Writing online meant a lot to me because of the feedback I received from complete strangers that actually liked what I wrote. That was incredible to me because it was the first time I was really putting my craft out there for people to criticize and they in turn gave back positive reinforcement. My last two semesters in English have really brought back my love for writing. In the Fall of 2015 I took Intro to Fiction (2001)- I liked Intro to Fiction because I felt I got better as a writer and thinker due to having to revise my essays until my professor liked it enough. I also liked it because my final paper for that class won first place for the Literary Arts Festival in 2016. After that class I took Expressions of Identity (ENG 2190) and that course made me question and observe my surroundings with new perspective. It made me feel at home as well as growth.

I think the key to finding what career path one wants to follow is trying different things and analyzing if it is something that brings out the passion and curiosity. To me, that is what academic self-discovery is all about; to learn what gets you motivated. It might take some time for some and that is okay. What matters is getting to that point.

Why I Love to Cook

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving and was able to eat lots of good food! I know I did. If you’ve been following my blog posts than you know that I normally like to write about restaurants, lists of foods I like, and etc. Today I would like to share with you why I love to cook, because even though I don’t have time to do it as much as I’d like to I still love it! So here’s five reasons why I love to cook –

10 food dishes1. Cooking allows me to let out the creative side of me. Cooking is an art and masterpiece. When I am in the kitchen cooking away, it just feels nice to be away from everything else and everyone else for a little while. It feels peaceful, yet fun. The creativity kicks in when I am plating my dishes and making a decision of how I want it to look or appear to the eye. I also feel the most creative in cooking when it comes to deciding what herbs, spices, seasonings, ingredients to add. 
five food dishes

2. While cooking can be fun and easy, it can also be hard and challenging. However, if you don’t face the difficulties or challenges that comes with cooking, you won’t be fearless and you won’t ever know how far you can take something. I have gave myself challenges to learn how to make certain dishes/recipes and some have been a failure, but with more practice and effort they have become successes. I was never really good at folding dumplings in the crescent fold, but after learning from my boyfriend and more practice I became good at it.

nine plated food dishes

3. Another reason why I love cooking is because I have the opportunity and ability to learn from foods I’ve eaten and restaurants I’ve been to  on how to plate food just by looking at it. Some of the foods I’ve seen presented have been incredibly amazing and just so artistic that I almost don’t want to eat it or touch it.

4. I like to control what goes into the food. There are times when I go to restaurants and I do like to pick out certain foods that I don’t like such as raw peppers, raw onions, ginger, and etc. When I cook, I am able to control how well I want certain ingredients to be cooked and whether if I want to add them or not. I also don’t like to add too much sugar to the food/dishes if I don’t need to. I also don’t like to add too much oil if I don’t need to either.

four food dishes

5. I love to cook because cooking has opened my eyes, heart, and stomach up to a lot of different foods that I thought I would never like or make. I never thought I would like Brussel sprouts, kale, and arugula , but I do! Cooking and food has motivated me to try different cuisines, foods, ingredients, and just be a little more opened and less picky.

There’s so much about the experience of cooking I enjoy. It’s everything behind-the-scenes as well – the scent of fresh basil, the fragrance of cilantro, the taste of butter, the crackle from the skillet, and the sight of a perfectly roasted chicken hanging up by the window at a Chinese restaurant. Cooking speaks to all of my senses.


Do you cook or bake? If you do, what do you like most about it?