As I start the 2017 fall semester at Stevenson University, I find myself doing an assignment for my English 151 class. I have been told to look back at my journey through life and figure out the key moments that led to me being able to read and write at the level I am now. Those moments are important points of my life and if they had not happened, I could be in a different place and lead a different life than the one I’m leading now. These moments are the ones that help eighteen-year-old me write these entries.
The first memory I can call back upon, takes place almost every night when I was five in our apartment building we were living in. The apartment was in Wilmington, Delaware and was decently sized and had two bedrooms (one for me and for my mom). It wasn’t anything special but it was home. Where my memories take place is in my room. My room was located at the end of the hallway and my mother’s room was to the left of mine. My room was the smaller of the two rooms and my bed was situated near the wall right next to the doorway. My bed was pretty small compared to how tall I am now but back then it could hold my mother’s full height (5’8). My nightly routine stayed consistent through that year of my life. I would take my bath at seven and brush my teeth right after. I hated this part of the night because it always felt like it took hours to complete but, it only took thirty minutes at the most. After I was finished, my favorite part of the night came. Me and mother read random books every night. Some of them were very complex. The main complex book we read was the bible. Most nights though, we read shorter books. My favorite of those books, was the Berenstain Bears. The Berenstain Bears really helped me read because the books really engaged me and made me interested in the stories of the fictional family of bears. This was the first time I could remember enjoying reading a book. This would be the first of very few books.
My next memory comes from my sixth-grade year. My middle school was called Nativity preparatory school in Wilmington, Delaware. It was a very small school and my sixth-grade class was just as small. We had ten people in our entire grade so we had a unique learning experience. We had different programs that helped us with two core classes. Those classes were math and English. We had to finish problem sets every Tuesday and Thursday that were built to focus on our strengths and are weaknesses. The problem sets were never overly challenging but they weren’t easy either. The English on the other hand was a bit more difficult. The English program was dedicated to the reading side of English. Unlike the math program, the English wasn’t built around weekly assessments. It was built around a point system. It forced us to read at least ten books per trimester. Each book had different point totals and at the completion of the book we had to take a mini quiz to see how well we read the book. I was a person who went for the quantity over quality approach. I read every single captain underpants book and flat Stanley. I never challenged myself because I didn’t have to. Then I ran out of short and medium books to read. Our library was filled with enough books for me to find more short and medium books to read. But none of them interested me. My friend Elijah recommended that I read the harry potter series. I gave it a try and hated it. The books had too many minuet details that were easy to miss if I zoned out at an important scene. I then went on to try another book series: Percy Jackson. The Percy Jackson series quickly became my favorite. The dialogue and storyline kept me engaged through the entirety of the books. Even though I personally believe the books got worse towards the end of the available books. After I finished the series I was lost. By the end of the trimester I had completed my goal but I hadn’t found that next series that could get me through the next trimester. I went and talked to my science teacher Mr. Hernandez to see if he can give me any help with my dilemma. He helped me find my favorite book series to this day. He pointed out that the author of the Percy Jackson books had another series called the Kane chronicles. This series was a trilogy unlike the Percy Jackson series which had five books. These two-series helped me discover the type of books that I like to read. My attention is grabbed by action and adventure stories that force me to use my imagination. The English program helped me discover how I read and helped me make previously boring reading bearable.
My next experience has to do with both my reading and my writing. My seventh and eighth grade years, I had one two English teachers who really paved the way for how I read and how I write. The one that influenced my writing was my teacher Chuck Selvaggio. He made us write every day before the start of class. He would give of the start of a sentence and we would have to finish the sentence and then right a short story about it. It helped cultivate my writing and helped me focus my thoughts into a constructive manner. It also hurt my writing a bit because he encouraged rambling in the story. He wanted us to keep writing no matter what. He said it would help because usually when a person can’t think of what to write it isn’t because they are out of ideas. It’s because they have too many and don’t know which to put down. He wanted us to write the first that came to our mind and run with it. I tend to stray away from my point nowadays because of it. I truly believe though, that I am better off doing his writing assignments than to have never had them. He helped my writing but my reading was truly helped by my other English teacher Paul Webster. I used to call Mr. Webster, Stabler. I called him this because he looked like detective Stabler from Law and Order: SVU and I couldn’t get out of my head. Mr. Webster helped me truly enjoy reading books that weren’t true action but were more centered around drama and suspense. One book in particular truly changed how I read. That book was lord of the flies. We read parts of the book in class and what we didn’t finish from the homework we would have to finish at home (usually would still be about thirty pages of the reading left). Reading the book in class and discussing it really helped me get a grasp on how I should read with more of a critical mind instead of letting my mind wander into my imagination. Mr. Webster helped me understand to a certain degree how to analyze the text.
These moments have shaped me into I am today. Each moment has taught me new lessons and challenged me to be a better student and a better person. They have helped me discover how well I can read and write but also how far I have left to go. These moments have created great building blocks for myself to continue to build upon. I expect myself to continue improving in both reading and writing to do my younger self proud for all the hard work he did. That is my goal for not only college but in life.
Christopher Meloni. Pintrest, i.pinimg.com/originals/1b/3c/60/1b3c6062d518b91219ce48e0bea9a63a.jpg. Accessed 11 Sept. 2017.
Paul Webster. Nativity Wilmington, nativitywilmington.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Paul-Webster-4.jpg. Accessed 11 Sept. 2017.