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Xochitl Rios
English 1A
5 May 2014
A Scholars Journey
Changing habits can be difficult but I am determined to rediscover the little girl in
me that loves school and is hungry for education. Coming from an immigrant family I
have always been thought that education will save my life. Just how Alexie used his
knowledge to save his life by becoming someone educated and demonstrating to
people that you cant let your origin define who you are. I want to show that just
because I am an undocumented student doesnt mean I cant be educated and become
someone in life. Having my moms words; I will never forget how much I want you to
value your education and to make all my struggles and challenges worth it will always
keep me in the right path throughout my educational journey.
Growing up school was always a great place to be. I loved everything about it,
from being in class learning something new to being outside with my friends. The year
that I absolutely will never forget was in eighth grade in a little school in Baldwin Park,
CA named Holland Middle School. During that time I was in a class called AVID which
required me to do community service and maintain a high GPA. I really enjoyed school,
my attendance was great, and I would never want to miss. Loving school gave me a
positive attitude towards learning and gives me a growth mindset. According to Dweck
students so have a growth mindset tend to do better in school because they want to
learn. When they dont understand the material they try to comprehending it by asking
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questions or getting extra help. I would always stay, every day after school with my
AVID teacher, Mr. Kinney, in tutoring helping him out, since he was also a math teacher.
He gave me the opportunity to become someone who he can trust, giving me
responsibilities and showing me how capable I was to help my fellow class mates. This
helped me with my communication skills and also understands the material better by
actually teaching what I had learned to other students.
I remember when I would have award ceremonies my mom would always be in
the crowd with huge blue balloons cheering me on. I cant ever forget how her eyes
would sparkle when she would see me up in the stage with my award. This would
always give her bragging rights with my grandma in Mexico. They would spend hours
talking about how proud they were and how coming here to the United States was a
great choice. This reminded me of a journal entry from The Freedom Writers when she
explains how her mom brought her to the United States for a better education. The
opportunities to continue my education are a lot greater here than in Mexico. When my
mom was trying to continue on to high school, it became really hard because she had to
pay for books and help my grandparents with the expenses around the house. This is
why she has always pushed me to continue going to school.
Going into Baldwin Park High School, I was extremely excited. I knew that during
this period I was going to give me the opportunity to show the love I had for education. I
remember going into my first class, my heart was racing so fast and my hands were
read and sweaty. My first high school teacher was standing there with her glasses that
were perfectly round and a smile that made me feel welcomed. Her name was
Ms.Brizuela, her love for teaching connected with my love for learning. When I got to
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my sophomore year my hungriness for learning began to fade away. My counselor gave
me a zero period, which was extremely hard to attend. I remember my eyes being
heavy and my concentration level during the day off. All I wanted to do was sleep and
rest so I told my counselor to change me to the other class that was during the day but
she refused. This is when I decided to not attend that class anymore, which led to my
first F. I was devastated and my mood was about to change completely. After that I
just didnt care what grade I got, I would say to myself well you already messed up your
GPA so it doesnt matter anymore.
My junior year was horrible. Ms. Murrieta, my English teacher was the last one to
believe in my capacities as a student. She would make me feel the unintelligent. I would
ask her when I didnt understand and assignment and she give me short answers with
attitude. At a point she talked about how horrible my reading skills were and how my
handwriting reminded her of child. She was and will always be the reason why I have no
self-esteem in the way I write or my ability to read. Walking into her class again senior
year, I was determine to show her that I wasnt foolish, that I was capable of doing good
in her class. When we started working on senior projects, which were required to
graduate, she began to push me down again calling my work garbage. The day I
presented my project and passed I remember walking into her class with the biggest
smile because I knew that I have proven to her that I was going to graduate. Just how in
the story by Benioff, when Brad wanted to prove to couch Rick that he was a valuable
player I wanted to show her that I could be an awesome student and graduate.
Now, I am given a chance to love school again. To rediscover the little girl in me
who loves learning and being in school. My experience here at Pasadena City College
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has been great. My English teacher, Ms.Kuroki has handed me a new plate, where I
can start from zero and continue moving forward. All my high school experiences have
shown me that just passing by in my education is not enough. I want to be able to be
self-directed, self-disciplined, self- monitored and self-corrective (hooks). Meaning I
want take full responsibility of my education by improving my thinking skills which will
eventually lead to better learning skills.
Even though Im not sure of where I want to major and fully develop my skills and
education, I do know that I would love to go into the child development field one day.
One possible field I can go into is being a kindergarten teacher. I interviewed my
neighbor who is a teacher and she helped me realize that I do not want to pursue that
field. She said its a great job working with kids but the pay isnt enough. Not having a
job I can depend on scares me. Shes been working for a couple of years and decided
to go back to school in hope of getting a higher education, leading to a better pay.
Another field that interests me is physical therapist for children. I would love to
help children who are in pain, not just physically but mentally as well. In the book
Physical Therapy by Ferguson Publishing I was able to get an insight into the day-to-
day life as a therapist. They must take psychology classes along with speech, and the
human body. They are located in hospitals which im nervous since I cant really see
blood without getting dizzy and passing out. As of right now, I am not one hundred
percent sure about this field but it does really interest me.
I also had the honor to interview my cousin who is a tutor for low resources
children. She explained how amazing it is to be able to help children by being able to
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tutor them, providing with the knowledge they need. Her job requires her to go to the
childs home and fill out a lot of paper work every day. She explained that going to a
childs home can dangerous due to the fact that in some cases the child lives in violent
neighborhoods. Her advice for me to volunteer in places that offer internships.
Ive had previous volunteer experiences that helped me decide that I wanted to
go into the child development field. In eight grade I volunteered in an after school
program called Think Together which required me to work with children and tutur them
in curricular subjects. When I was a junior in high school I went back to the program and
volunteered for almost the whole year. That time I was very different I had the
opportunity to run in classroom and since the class in was assigned to was fifth and six
grade the curriculum was more specific. I do plan to go back because I know that
volunteering there will eventually lead to a job opportunity.
This first year in Pasadena City College taught me a lot of how I am as a student.
I now know that my education is something I should prioritize. Having work and school
was a real reality check for me because I had to learn to manage my time. I remember
having so much homework to do but I had to go to work first, it was extremely hard. I
think it was because I wasnt realistic with my time management goals. I would put
goals that I thought I was going to be able to accomplish but I wouldnt really think about
it. I would put my homework last, thinking I was going to do it either way but my body
would give up on me and I would always justify my actions.
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I may not know where Im heading in my educational path, I have a lot to learn
about myself as a student and rediscover my motivation. I do, however believe that I am
capable of doing something great that will make my family proud.