Looking in the mirror at the actual physical presentation of myself, I investigated what other people view when they looked upon me. At that moment, I began to realize what the features are interpreted as. My hair is pulled up and tight, various people have suspected military, but I have never been enlisted. My glasses and crooked teeth would suggest that my parents were low income, no corrective surgery or braces for me. My body image would be identified, instantly by women, as having children and I do have two sons. After one eight-pound boy and the other almost ten-pound baby my body did not return to its original dimensions, there was no weight trainer or nutritionist for me. My calloused hands will tell anyone that I am a blue-collar worker and the ring on my left tells them that I am married. Progressing through college and beyond will be my way out of the shell that society has created me in, it will be my golden door to freedom. Moving from a small country town, where I grew up with my grandparents to a city now, forced by the court system to live with my mother, was a large transition for yours truly. I struggled and endured a tough time adjusting to the unfamiliar environment and did not get along well with the city children. Reading was my escape from the harsh reality of my new home life, I could not be in the country with the quiet, but I could read about the crickets and smells of grass and ponds. I could get away from the new housing arrangements
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There once was a time where I had no expectations on what was to come. Whenever I attempted to picture my future, I couldn’t. I did not know my career goals or any of my hobbies. Fortunately, the summer of 2014 changed everything for me. It was the summer I first volunteered to help with vacation bible school at my church. From that moment on, I had a fresh mindset and new goals. I permanently found an activity I enjoyed doing. Following that summer, I volunteered with VBS the three summers after. I enjoyed engaging with the children so much that I ventured into teaching second and third graders on Wednesday nights. Throughout this journey, I have been greatly inspired. Volunteering with children through my church has transformed me into a better and different person, through strength, career goals, and my faith.
I have never been more vulnerable than at the end of my Junior year of highschool. I was exhausted not because of my work load, but because my best friend was in love with me and I was, for the first time, in a class that openly talked about race. The English class, taught by a black woman, was predominantly white (as was my school) and not only discussed race, but specifically discussed whiteness. For the first few months of my year, I was closed off despite believing I was participating. While the year went on, I realized I had been cruel to my (white) best friend. I had been completely unaware of the harm I was causing until, in December she told me that I didn’t actually listen when people spoke to me. I apologized in January and her forgiveness was something I had never before experienced. Over the last semester of my Junior year, while she reminded me how deeply important love is, I begun to see myself as white. On the last day of my English class, I thought of how hard I had worked the past few months to accept and express love, how I had come to believe that love was the most important thing in the world to possess, and I wondered why I had never known this before. I realized, suddenly, that whiteness can, and has, prevented me from feeling and receiving real, unconditional, and unracialized love. I began to sob. As my whiteness became visible, so did my deficit of love. I realized the comfort I, a white person, felt in isolation, narcissism and apathy enabled me to
This has been one of the most useful, interesting, and difficult tasks that I have taken on so far, but has proven to be transformative in all aspects of my daily life. At the beginning of the semester, I was asked to create a long-term goal to achieve. A goal that was not too easily accomplished, but also within my capabilities. I chose to lose twelve pounds in the remaining twelve weeks of this semester. I do not believe that I would have been very successful in accomplishing my goal had I not taken this class and learned mental training strategies. Not only was I able to successfully complete my goal, but I surpassed it. I also noticed that my performance this semester improved from last semester. These skills have proved beneficial to me during one of the most trying semesters I have had so far in school. The three main strategies I used were: Setting a specific goal, utilizing a buddy, and having the ability to increase and decrease my arousal to achieve the optimal psycho-physiological state.
As I grow up I learn new things, and have different beliefs. Life always throws curve balls at you but being prepared for unnecessary situations will help you grow as an individual. Communication is something I strongly believe in whether it is verbal or written, you are still communicating.
One of the easiest and sometimes hardest papers to write are ones that are a reflection on what you have learned over the course. I enjoy reflection papers because it allows me to put what I have thought and felt the whole class onto one paper. It can be difficult because two to three pages really isn’t a lot of space if you feel very passionate but I find a way to make it work. This class was a last minute add on for me because I switched majors to graduate a little earlier. I thought that I was done taking writing classes for a very long time but here I am finishing the tenth week of another writing class. I always get very nervous before taking a writing class because I don’t see myself as the best writer but somehow I manage to still get pretty decent grades. After about the second or third week I realize that I do enjoy writing classes because it gives me an outlet to really write about things that I have passion for while also teaching me something that will be useful later in life.
During my first year of highschool, I was held to a higher standard, than my previous years at middle school. A lot of the teachers at my school were preparing us for a college level experience. One teacher, especially, was pretty hard on us and she was the English teacher. The first major paper that was assigned was a research paper that had to discuss a historical event and how that event impacted the world. Since this was my first major paper and I was used to this kind of writing, I ended up writing specifically about Alexander the Great and the wars that he fought in. I specifically detailed the battles and what was going on, but I did not talk about how it impacted the world. My teacher offered to proof read the papers two days before the deadline so we could fix any critical errors. I showed her my paper and she said that if I turned that paper in, I would receive an F on the paper. I always strive to get good grades and to pass with all A’s, so when my teacher said this, I immediately realized how important writing could be and I started to develop my writing skills. All of the factors that were in this situation, made it a rhetorical situation.
Do we really look into ourselves? As I read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch over fall break his life story really made think: How will I accomplish my dreams like Mr. Pausch? Randy’s idea of a “brick wall” really hit me because I admire that someone believes that hardships could lead to great things if they work towards it. I want to look into myself and see what life lessons that I go by the seventeen years I have been on this planet, and how they reflect what people will remember about me.
I learned some pretty strange things in my middle school sex education class. However, I’d consider myself lucky! My class was the only one to have a speaker come in to talk to us. He taught about one thing, and one thing only:
I’m a highly academically driven student and have several, quite lofty, goals for my time here at Texas A&M. I want to maintain a 4.0 GPA, or at least a minimum of a 3.5 in order to maintain my Cornerstone Honors status. My dream, and biggest goal, is to intern for a congressperson in Washington, D.C., and I also want to study abroad, hopefully in England.
Growing up church was not a place we “had time” to attend, and God was not a part of our household. It was not until about four years ago, that I began my relationship with Christ. On July 18, 2011, I began to have nine plus seizures a day; I spent a lot of time in the hospital trying to get answers to my over-night attacks. During this time, I fell into a depression because of the lack of answers. I felt that I was just being given drugs to get me discharged. Many would send prayers, and ask me to come to church, but it was not something I wanted to do. At this point in my life, I held anger in my heart; going to church and hearing about a God I did not know didn’t make sense. My mother was my primary care taker, and dealing with my sickness was not easy. In 2013, she was invited to church by a co-worker, and she took me along with her for the “ride”. We attended citylife church, and from the moment worship began, I was in tears. While the Pastor was speaking, it was like he was speaking directly to me, and I thought to myself, “He must know about why I am so depressed.” At the end of the service, the Pastor asked for those who would like to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior to come up, and I could not get there fast enough. This is where my journey with Christ began, and I learned that it was not the Pastor who was speaking to me on this day. God already knew I would be in attendance on this day, and I needed to hear the message that was given through the Pastor. I
The United States has always been known as a melting pot; a country where different ethnicities, cultures, and religions could congregate to in order to escape from conformity. A country where people could go in order to start a family and raise their children in a diverse environment. A place where everyone from different backgrounds is represented and everybody can share their ideals and experiences and feel welcomed. That is what I was told growing up, that is what teachers and mentors engraved into my brain, and it wasn’t until I was seventeen-years-old when I realized that is far from the truth. My language and perspectives are constricted due to the fact I grew up in the United States, and all it took was one trip overseas for me to discover the diversity of the world in comparison to America.
Michael Jordan said talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. This mentality is precisely the case with the compensation project. Individually, everyone could have finished the project however by working with others the project became more polished and finished quicker. In class, discussions with my group allowed me to gain exceptional insight on topics which previously I would have overlooked. Teamwork forced me to open up and look inwards to find how I was limiting the team and way to improve myself.
During my first year in college, I did not realize the major challenges I would face being a first-generation college student that was undeclared as a major. I knew I had to continue my education as many of my teachers and advisers in high school had mentioned. But I never knew the struggle of not having a family member to ask for advice or guidance to navigate my college education or choosing a major. I became interested in helping other students in their path post-high school by volunteering, mentoring and working with high school students in their process of applying or learning about their postsecondary education options. After working with different ethnic groups I came to realize that those that identified as
Abraham Maslow was a physiologist that believed that “people cannot appreciate or strive for ‘the ﬁner things’ until they have ‘the basics’ taken care of” (Rasskazova, E., Ivanova, T., & Sheldon, K., 2016, p. 541). People must have food, water, and shelter before they can have friendship, self-esteem, and morality. Not only do people need to address the basics first, but organizations also need to address the basics first before they can successfully go any further.
From the early moments of my childhood, I remember seeing my parents go to Russian Orthodox Church a lot. They would explain to my younger brother and me what was right and what was wrong from the religious perspective. On my 4th birthday, my grandma gave me the Bible for kids as a present, and I remember my mom reading it to me before going to bed. Back then it was just another interesting story that happened somewhere very far away. And yet mom would always find a way to tell these stories in such a manner so they translated really well into the reality we were living in. The more I grew up the more I realized that there was something missing in the big picture of my understanding of the world. I saw a lot of suffering that was happening everywhere, death, natural disasters, and I thought there must be a reason for all of it. Otherwise, the God does not care about any of us. I started to look for the answers everywhere: in the philosophical and religious books, movies, wise counsel from the people who lived a long life. I could not find the truth in church because the whole purpose of its existence with all its rules and restrictions, its idea of God who is something or someone out there, separate from us, and the only being that knows all the answers, was totally alien to me; mainly so due to my unwillingness to accept the fact of transferring all the responsibility for everything one does to someone else. I believed it to be a weakness to acknowledge one’s bad thoughts and deeds as something natural, as an external influence of the evil spirits. For me, it sounded like people who agreed with this concept simply wanted to escape the punishment for what they had done, choose an easy way out.