When I first decided to attend college, I knew that I was about to embark on a journey that would take me to new altitudes. I knew, that the moment I signed up for classes, I was about to put forth a new level of effort that was not present in my past years as public school student. I never really previously took school seriously.
Growing up in New York, it was extremely difficult for me to get up in morning, stop by the corner store to grab a sandwich, hop the train, and sit in classroom all day while my friends were out on the streets doing things I will not mention on this blog. Cutting class was especially tempting because I attended one of the worst high schools in the Tri-State area.
Franklyn K. Lane High School was considered to be one of the worst schools in New York at the time I attended (and probably now). It’s the typical run down, ghetto high school that you see in the movies with all of its components: metal detectors, police searches, gang violence, and the freakin’ security guard smoking a blunt right outside the school gate. So, why would anyone want to go school if they run the risk of getting jumped for their Nautica jacket, and listening to teachers who just didn’t give a shit. So I just dropped and became a statistic.
Fast forward 15 years later, I decided that I was too intelligent to not have a degree of some sort, so I got my GED and applied to Tidewater Community College. I decided to take things slowly since the last time I attended school, walkmans were the conventional I-pod.
Reality set in quickly my first semester. I found myself balancing long hours at work and school. By the end of the semester, I had gotten the hang of things and managed to earn a 4.0 GPA. In my second semester, I signed up for two more courses, ITE115 and ENG-111. The last time I had taken an English class was back in 1998. I had not written a paper since then. At that, I did not do all that great of a job.
Initially, a friend of mine and fellow TCC student also signed up for the same English professor that I did. But the two of us would deal with this very differently. Upon receiving the syllabus and taking a look at the course load and the work that would be required of students of Paul Gasparo, he was immediately overwhelmed, and decided to drop out of the class. I, on the other hand, thought I would take this as a challenge. In English 111, I found myself in whole new world of education. Paul Gasparo, had a very unconventional way of teaching. He forced us to use critical thinking, and open class discussion – a method of learning that I found very interesting.
This class was indeed a challenge for me, but it forced me to unlock chambers of my mind that have not been open in years. Chambers that I felt had become rusted with time. I feel that I am a better writer now than I was ten years ago. And I honed my writing skills through some assignments that my friends who have graduated from college would agree were pretty damned cool. In the end, I feel fulfilled in having presented myself with a test of dedication and discipline. And in my mind, succeeded. I just can’t wait to see what my final grade is.