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English wasn't my best subject in school. I enjoyed the many reading assignments given to me; it's the writing assignments that worried me. I've always thought of myself as an avid reader; however writing essays have really been a challenge for me. I'll be describing points in my life when from discovering that my writings weren't great to my transition on improving my writing skills.

It all begins in elementary, my first month of kinder I remember not knowing how

hold/grasp a pencil and the teacher would get frustrated with me. I thought of myself as

not knowing how to write even though at the time we were just practicing simple words. When progress report week came up Mrs. Konik informed my mom that I was having

problems with my writings, I was so embarrassed because a young girl I liked her this conversation. As the years passed onto my fifth grade I thought that I was a good writer since all my teachers said so.

My next step was middle school, which I hated because I knew homework was going to be given on a daily basis on different subjects, especially English. Aside from the taunting I received in high school for being an outcast I felt that my writing skills weren't being challenged, since I never had a stable English teacher. I tried keeping a journal but I would never follow up on it. I was having problems at home and school my grades were slipping and I had nobody to turn to for help, through this time I found myself lacking many skills. I even thought of dropping out.

I was petrified of going to high school since I was relocated to another school and had no friends. My freshman year was horrible since I began failing three of my classes, English, math, and history. I was able to pull my grades up, but my English teacher said that my writing were very good. Once I got to my junior year I came across, Mr. Williams a well known English professor in manual arts. I ended up taking his class and

he made me realize that I really don’t have a sufficient writing ability-. He made us write an essay on a prompt he wrote on the blackboard, and when I received my essay I thought it fell in a pool of red paint. However it was Mr. Williams pen marking telling me all the errors on my paper.

Paper #2: “The Meaning of Talking”
Traveling back in time to my freshman year of high school, starting out at a new school is hard for everybody especially high school. My freshman year turned out to be a year I would not forget. I had to deal with family issues which took up a lot of my time, and plus the stress of school. I did not really talk to anybody I enjoyed being by myself, that way I had time to think about and get more stressed over the issues I had to face.. The problem was that I kept all of my problems to myself, because in my mind if I talked to other people I felt like I was burdening them with my problems. I was also the type of person who lived day by day and the future didn't matter, I didn't know where I would go to college or what kind of career I wanted to live.

A teacher that I had realized what I was going through and he recommended that I read a book called Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, I decided to take his advice. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul is a book about teens telling their stories, they write about incidents that happened in their life and what they learned from them. There are stories about relationships, the nature of friendship, the importance of belief in the future, and the value of respect for oneself and others. It's book that you can read without feeling

criticized or judged.

There was this one story that really touched me in the book because it sort of related to me. The story was called I Love You, Dad by Nick Curry. It was about a son and a father that never talked to each other for many years, and one year his father sent him a birthday card with a note saying inside that "he'd like to see his son again." His son made arrangements to go see him in two months. Then all of sudden his daughter made the cheerleading squad and they had to postpone it. They kept postponing it, because something would always get in the way for them to not see each other. Plus the son was dragging his feet. The son finally made a trip out there, to attend his father's funeral. He regrets now for not telling his father how much he loved him and not for trying hard enough to go see him. Now I realize you should tell people how you feel about them because you don't know when you'll see them again.

Coming back to the present I have became a person who able to talk with others and enjoy listening to other people. Now wherever I go I'm hardly alone any more there is always somebody that wants to come with me. It's a complete turn around from who I use to be. This book made me realize even more that I want to become a high school counselor, that way I could hopefully help teens find out who they want to become and what they want to do with their lives.

Paper 3: “A Fantasy Life”

Reading a novel in school has never caught my attention as being an entertaining activity. My reading experiences had never been all that great, until I picked up The Lord of the Rings (LotR). For some reason, that book caught my attention unlike any other book I had read before. School readings never seemed enjoyable to read, and I finally found something that seemed to fit my interests.

First, LotR is not a short read which is one of the reasons why I loved it even more. It nears 1000 pages, and it is considered to be of high school reading material. I first read the book when I was in seventh and eighth grade and the language and

vocabulary was somewhat hard to follow, but the story and scenario that Tolkien creates is so vivid and real. The book pulls you into his world that he created and you feel as if though you are with the main characters. One of the reasons why it is said to be for high school readers and above is because I did not understand the whole meaning of what the characters were doing and how they felt, I just followed the adventure and the storyline. Even though I did not follow the important meanings of what the characters were going through, I still found that I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

The LotR had something that I never found in my school readings. I believe it is all of the fantasy and the type of world that Tolkien creates. But my school readings never had any of that exciting material that seemed to pull you into them. I always feltpressured when reading school stories because they always had a due date of when we are supposed to read them by. This made me not want to even get started on the first page. Maybe if we were to read a few books over the course of the year but read them at our own pace and turn in a project when we are done reading, that would have been a better way to get me in particular to read the assignments. The other thing with school reading assignments was that they usually had a worksheet attached with every piece of reading to see if you were able to comprehend what you just read. That made it even more miserable to read. After a while I pretty much gave up on school readings. Although every once in a while, there would be an interesting short story that we would read, and I would get into it, but nothing like LotR.

After reading LotR I seemed to want to have everything evolving around it. I started getting into adventurous role-playing games where you are put into a fantasy world similar to LotR. I do consider myself to be a "nerd" because of my love of LotR, but I cannot do anything to help it. I find myself, almost everyday, combining normal ideas with LotR. For example, I try to write lyrics as often as possible, and somehow they always tend to be based around someone in a mystic land and he has to complete some epic journey or another. Everything I do seems to be based around this one book that I read when I was in Jr. High School. Even though that seems like an annoyance, I enjoy it. Fantasy is a part of my life and I will never let it go.

After the movies came out, I loved LotR even more so than before. Most people who had read the books before the movie came out seemed to not enjoy the movies as much as people who had not read the books, but this was not the case for me. The movies were just as good as the books, if not, better. I felt as thought the images I created in my head were being brought to life on the big screen. After the last movie came out, I decided to read all of the books once more. The books seemed even better after seeing the images on film.

To me, LotR is not just a book, it is a completely different world where I can go to get away from my everyday life. Even today, I still do many things that involve LotR in some way, whether it is video games, or just walking to class. The book has changed the way that I live, and I feel that it has changed me for the better.

Paper 4 – “Writing and Military Affairs”

The topic that influences my writing most is my interest in military and political affairs. This topic represents the best writing topic that is available to me. I have an innate interest in military and political affairs and I am keen to use this interest to my advantage when I am writing a paper. My favored topics suit me very well, as I am studying to become an Army officer and I am very interested in worldly affairs, which I feel are represented by political matters (military affairs are still only politics).

The function of my writing is to express my knowledge and interest in military/political affairs. I also try to educate others through my writing as the reader can learn something he or she perhaps never knew or cared to learn. I study both topics to great lengths and I find that by writing things I have already learned, I can draw new conclusions to questions I have had in the past. Writing out my knowledge on military/political affairs allows me to sort through my mind for information to use in my writing. In the process of sorting through my mind, I often rediscover some tidbits of knowledge that have been forgotten until I start picking my own mind. The act of going through my memory and thinking about things I have uncovered not only serves to make my writing more informative, but also serves to extend my own knowledge.

The consequence of writing primarily about military/political affairs is that I am definitely more informed than perhaps the average person on such matters. This looms with great importance as someday in my future career with the army, my knowledge on such matters could be vital. Since I have to pick my brain for information when I am writing, papers given to me on short notice tend to be rather sporadic. This is caused by uncovering or remembering previously unknown information and applying it to my writing. This incidence primarily occurs when I only have a short time to write a paper, such as a day or so. My knowledge of military affairs analyzes the differences between past and current events while properly assessing wars that are going on today. I am also able to look at political situations and sometimes determine and understand how economic, cultural, and political issues effect military events around the world.

The field of military and political affairs can be a broad one and is best broken down according to interest. One can look at a military situation, such as increased tension in a region or the purchase of weaponry by a country, and make connections to political or economic events. This can also be interpreted as how might such an action adversely effect business or destabilize a peace effort. Types of military affairs interests might include disarmament, peacekeeping, humanitarian missions, or actual war fighting. Historical analysis's can also be an important variety of military/political affairs.

The most obvious example of what is ongoing in terms of both military and political affairs is the war in Iraq. This war has ignited an enormous debate and study on its present and future effects on the world political and military scene. Such questions would include "is the world now a safer place", "have we only fanned the flame of Islamic terror?", and "is this another Vietnam?". These are but a sample of questions that are being asked by common people as well as experts. Knowledge in such matters can provide answers to such questions. These questions are very important to the security and political advantage of our country. My interest in such matters helps to keep me knowledgeable on current events and allows me to make informed decisions on pivotal questions that are asked by our country at large.

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