Tag Archives: Short Essay

On Education

I am so blessed to be able to list all the homework I have to do this weekend. I am so blessed to be anxious over my next AP Calculus test. I am so blessed to feel like the school day will drag on forever. I am so blessed to not be able to sleep because my mind won’t stop taking derivatives. I am so blessed to have to finish a whole book for AP Composition in a weekend.

My mentor once told me a story of how he was in Nepal hiking to the top of a mountain and saw a little boy running the other way. He stopped the boy and asked why he was running. The boy said that from his house up on the mountain it was a two hours run to the school at the bottom of the mountain. The boy said that he didn’t care that he spent four hours going to and from school because he was learning to read.

How could I ever be grumpy or unappreciative that I have homework when children around the world are crying out for education? I am so blessed to have a socioeconomic status where college is almost expected as the next step after high school.

Syrian refugees have said that the thing that they want most for their children is to get an education. The schools in their refugee camps are underfunded and over-packed; yet, the smiles on the children’s faces look as if they were in Harvard.

I believe that education — along with any opportunity in life — can only be used to the full if it is appreciated. And I wanted to say to Education and all the Opportunities you’ve given me, thank you.

And yet there are others in my school who do not appreciate the gift we have been given, which saddens me because then they aren’t fulfilling their potential. Part of their education is wasted on them because they do not appreciate and thus don’t use it to the full.

Other children around the world plead for the chance that seemed to be my birthright. I was born in the United States of America to two white parents both of whom have professional careers. I was born into a life better than most of the rest of the world could only fantasize about. Frankly, most of history could only fantasize about.

And so I thank you Johannes Gutenberg and Horace Mann and John Dewey for making my education possible. I am grateful that from my education I know your names and how much you have done for me and the world.

The education system isn’t perfect; I’ve experienced that first hand. However, if we expect perfection and nothing less, there will be nothing. We should always be trying to enhance what we have, but attaining perfect is like chasing the horizon. We should not settle but we should know when ‘good enough’ is good enough.

I know teachers aren’t perfect; I’ve also experienced this first hand. However, they are the real heroes of this story. They are the one who taught me my letters so that I could write this short essay. And teachers don’t have to be paid educators in schools. My teachers are my parents, my minister, my family, my friends, a stranger on the street.

But I do have to say that my teachers in school have taught me some of my best lessons. The reason why teachers are the real heroes of this story is not because of what they teach out of the textbook, rather what they teach out of their heart. I have learned joy and perseverance and individuality and courage and wonder and faith and community and kindness and laughter and empathy.

Education is not an act of charity but rather an investment in the future. By paying your taxes for public schools, you are investing in the child who will cure cancer one day. You are investing in future firefighters and entrepreneurs and computer programmers and rocket scientists and social workers and nurses and engineers. You are invested in a future. You are investing in hope.

So I just wanted to say, thank you to all of you who have invested in me and didn’t even know me. Thank you for giving me opportunities and hope. I can’t wait to go out into the world and fulfill your investment. I appreciate my education and I will use my education to the full. Please know it will be my joy to one day invest in other children’s dreams and hopes just like you did in mine.

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Cancer Saved Her Life

Cancer: it destroys organs, normal lives, families. This disease, that we as a society know all too well, starts in our cells and ends with one less person in the annual Christmas card. Dealing with cancer is consumed with Chemo, hair loss, and white blood cell counts, but in some cases there is something more than just mutating cells.

I was four when my Grandma was first diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Her whole adult life, she was plagued with depression, only seeing the incorrect brush strokes of life’s big picture. But cancer changed her. I grew up seeing my grandmother enduring hours of chemotherapy and starting to regularly attend my church. With hair loss came losing the importance of utmost perfection in her life. When counting white blood cells, blessings were counted too. On her long and twisted journey to becoming a better person, the cancer was always there, lurking. But I think that was what pushed her forward.

Cancer often ends lives, but with my Grandma’s diagnosis she started a new one. Sometimes the darkest moments in our lives are the ones most needed. Cancer is horrible, scary and degrading, but as my Grandma used to always say ‘you can either laugh or cry’ and she laughed with a passion. This depressing, distressing, dismal disease can be either heartbreaking or heart-making.

Her journey ended, but she was glad to be able to have nine years to see her three granddaughters grow up and have the time to grow in her faith. When life sentences us with a last chance, it can be viewed as a second chance.


Published in Creative Communications Spring 2016 Essay Contest

 

Am I the Only One?

Inspired by a two-sentence story by Mr. Bloognish:

Everyone is so patriotic, flying flags and painting themselves loudly with red, white, and blue. But when it is time to say the Pledge of Allegiance, they are all so silent and grey, feeling ashamed to make a sound.


Back even 20 years ago it was ‘cool’ to believe in your country. It was something to be proud of that you are an American. but it seems just around the time the internet started to boom, it was something to be ashamed of.

Yes, 9/11 happened during this time and made everyone question, but shouldn’t we join together and fix problems that may arise. I ask, does there currently exist a country that you would rather live in?

When the Star-Spangled Banner is sung at games, does your heart skip a heart beat, or am I the only one? When you watch Captain America or Unbroken – big blockbusters promoting American pride – don’t you want to say ‘Thank you’, or am I the only one? When I walk to the cemetery by my house and I see a flag fallen in the dirt, I pick it up and brush it off, making the flag stand tall again, am I the only one?

My parents met each other in the National Guard, so maybe I’m a little bias, but shouldn’t you be proud of the country that protects us, no matter the failures?

Each time I say the Pledge at 7:20 every week day, it’s an honor. I think of a different aspect of my great nation and pray for that when I say ‘liberty and Justice for all’. It is a privilege that my God is still recognized in my allegiance to my native land when other foreign brother and sisters would go to prison. I am proud that my country protects my right to religion in such a way. So I am not ashamed to make a sound for the U.S. of A, I am ashamed of my peers who do not.

Pixabay/DWilliams

Pixabay/DWilliams

One and a Half Regrets

People say to live life with no regrets, but that is almost impossible. 1½  regrets is pretty darn close and I’ll take it. The first one is silly: deleting a computer file that was critical. Not life changing, but I wish I didn’t delete the file. Now for the eyebrow-raising half regret.

I wish I started writing sooner. I thought not writing sooner was like a ball-and-chain made of pen and paper. Tears and joyful recounts were told to my parents and not to the thirsty pages of my journal. My thoughts were trapped in my mind, and not my eternal soul. I could be a more developed writer, and have a different, possibly better, perspective on life. Sounds perfect, right? But just like with all time-travel sagas in movies, even the small pebble on a pond makes ripples.

I like who I am, who I am becoming, with great tribute to writing. After-school hours would have been purple pens gracefully caressing off-white pages, but forgoing school clubs, reading and friends. Would I still be the same person if I started writing sooner? I’ve gone through some challenging experiences, and writing would have been a soothing companion, but what would I have otherwise not learned? Writing is life changing; how would this pebble’s ripple have altered me?

That’s why it is only half a regret. I honestly don’t know if I would change when I started writing, given the chance. I cannot go back in time, but with writing I can see back in time.


This piece got me published in the Creative Communications Fall 2015 Essay contest! 🙂

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