For many, after graduating high school the next big step is college. I never asked myself why or if I even wanted to. Yet, since I was not yet ready to join the work force, and didn’t want to disappoint my parents, I simply followed the path that I was supposed to take. For a while I had no direction, but through the loss of my high school English teacher and my dream of making my family proud, I discovered that college was the place I wanted and needed to be.
I enrolled at Shoreline Community College with no idea of what I wanted to do, causing a lack of motivation. It’s easy for me to be below average if I don’t know why I’m doing it. On top of that, I made the mistake of taking 20 credits instead of 15 since I thought everyone took four classes. Big mistake. As a result, I couldn’t juggle all the material causing me to fail pre-calculus. Math never came naturally to me since I was always more interested in writing. Regardless, one class that truly sparked my interest that quarter was Humanities, which explored the history and influence of art from Medieval Europe to the Age of Enlightenment. I saw that cultural artistic expression reflected philosophical evolution, interest in growth, perspective, observation, and interpretation. Analyzing the works of Leonardo da Vinci and William Shakespeare gave me an appreciation for culture that I never had before. With my newly found interest, I ended up with a 4.0 in that class. It was my first ever. Although that might seem like a standard for most other students, it felt like a congressional medal of honor to me. I proved that I had the capacity to be a better student, though this would not come to fruition until my third quarter.
My winter quarter was a low point for me. Because of my financially struggling family, I had to help my mom and dad every day by grinding and cutting meat. The meat went to local families celebrating Lunar New Years and other events. I didn’t get paid for this job, but I did increase the productivity of a senior married couple. The money my parents did make was barely enough to cover phone bills, car insurance, and other expenses. As a result of this physically draining part-time job, my grades were lower than what I had hoped for. This job made me realize that I did not want to handle dead animal carcasses as a career. I wanted something better and meaningful. A job I can look forward to. I promised myself that I would do better next quarter. Once my family finally stabilized, I was able to stop working. I entered the next quarter with stronger determination.
It was around the start of my spring quarter that I heard grim news about my high school English teacher. Ann Stewart was diagnosed with cancer. Because of her sunny demeanor, she was everyone’s favorite teacher. It was tragically ironic how the nicest person I’ve ever met could meet such an undeserving fate. After a few months, she lost her fight with cancer. At her funeral, I saw so many familiar faces....