Friday, January 17, 2014

Semester in Review (Reflection)

Dear reader,

This year has been the best year for me as a writer. I always thought that my writing had peaked last year during American Studies class, but continues to improve.  I guess it's because I didn't give up on myself, or settle for the skills I already had. I found it was better and easy to write if I didn't let anything distract me. If I can just get into my zone, where it's just me and a blank piece of paper, I can produce some of my best writing. I chose my two best writing pieces to discuss. They are not chosen based on what I received for a grade, because when your a writer, only you can tell which piece is good or bad. I chose the two pieces that I was most impressed with.

The first piece I included was my college essay. It took me a couple tries to finally write a college essay that I thought was good enough to submit, but when I finally got it, I was sure I nailed it. First of all, it's always a good sign when you come out of the writing center and the only thing you were asked to change was two sentences. About this time last year I would of left the writing center with more red ink thank black. I wrote the essay about the time I went to summer camp for almost the whole summer. It was easy for me because that was a summer I could never forget.

The second piece I chose was my Personality Profile. I was impressed with that piece because going into it, I didn't think I was going to do very well, but ended up with a brood outcome. I wrote about how my sister Heather who is on her first year of teaching. The personality profile was important to me because it was nice to sit down and interview my sister. My sister is very passionate about teaching, so it made writing the article easier.

This year I have improved as a writer so much already, and I can't wait to see how much better I can get. I don't know how much writing I am going to do in the future, but the skills I have learned in this class will stay with me forever.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Personality profile

After being asked "What do you you want to do when you grow up?" I always think about the endless opportunities I have as a senior in high school. Every couple of weeks I change my mind as to what I want to do after high school. I have thought about going into the military, making candles, and even being a veterinary. As I am finishing up my senior year, I have been narrowing down my choices. After seeing my Sister take the steps to becoming a teacher, I have become more and more interested in her career path. I sat down with my sister, Heather Cimellaro, a teacher at Lyman Moore in Portland this past weekend and talked about life as a teacher. I started the interview by asking the obvious question, "How long have you wanted to be a teacher?". She didn't even have to think about the answer. "I had thoughts about it all through high school, but I never thought that I would be able to do it.". Heather graduated from Freeport High School eight years ago. She attended a art school for a couple years but decided that art was more of a hobby. After leaving the art school, she attended college at the University of Southern Maine for four years. I asked her what kind of teacher she wanted to be, a cool teacher, or a strict teacher. She answered the question with "Of course I want my students to like me, but I also want them to respect me.".  I then asked her what school she would choose to teach at if she had the choice. "Even if I could choose any school, I think I would still want to teach at Lyman Moore. I really like the other teachers, and I love the students too!". I followed the question with "What is your absolute favorite thing about Lyman Moore?". Like all of the other questions, she answered it instantly. "I love the diversity, I have students from all over the world, from Iraq to Mexico, it's great!". That's really great to hear from a teacher I thought. The subject changed a little when I asked her if she wanted to teach high school. "I'm not quite sure yet, I teach sixth grade social studies, and I love it. Teaching high school would be a lot different. Maybe someday, but right now I'm fine where I am.". We talked more about teaching, and some of her students, but then got right back to business. "What steps did you have to take to become a teacher?" I asked. "It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, don't get me wrong, it's a lot of work, but it was fun and definitely worth it." She then told me step by step what she had to do to become a teacher. She had to get her bachelors degree, major in history, and go through the Etep program. She told me again, "Definitely worth it.". I switched gears a little by asking her if she thought teachers made enough money. "Who wouldn't want to make more money" she chuckled "the only thing that I feel like teachers don't get enough of is respect.". I thought about what she said, and I had to agree. In my option, teachers practically raise the country's youth. I shared this thought with her and she made a teachers pet joke, we had a good laugh. As the interview reached an end, I thanked her and we went on our separate ways

College Essay

I have never thought of myself as either mature or immature. When I see underclassmen gossiping throughout the school, or making childish jokes to one another, I feel like the word mature is branded on my forehead. When I look in the other direction, I see students who seem to already know what they are doing with their life, and I feel like I should be back gossiping with the underclassmen. I guess that would put me right in the middle. Some people come back from mission trips to Africa, claiming that it matured them, changed their life, or made them better people. I am not like those people.
I guess if any one life event could mature me, it would be the summer of 2009. I had just completed eighth grade and was terrified of high school. All I had was two and a half months separating me from what I thought was sudden death. I got a letter in the mail from camp O-AT-KA, an all boys summer camp that I had attended the last five years before that. I normally went for one week out of the summer because that was the week they offered to boys from Maine for free. When I opened the letter, I was expecting to see the normal health form and item checklist I was used to seeing, but this letter was different. The camp had invited me to attended a full semester (half of the summer) instead of the usual one week on full scholarship. I didn't have to think long about it, and next thing I knew I was off to summer camp for half of my vacation.
Upon my arrival to the camp, I realized things were different. The kids who attended the camp were from all over the world. There were kids from parts of Europe, Asia, South America, and even Australia. I had always been used to seeing kids from different parts of Maine, not different parts of the world. Another thing that was different about these kids was that they were all very wealthy. That was a big difference, because every one who attended the free week was from a low income family. I could already tell this year was going to be different.
The camp started off early morning. 6:00 to be exact. I was surprised that we were up that early, because normally camp started at 8:00. That was one of many changes. The camp was just like school. Instead of going swimming whenever you wanted or play frisbee all day like I was used to, I found myself signing up for classes like woodworking and music. Every day was so different than what I was used to. I ended up earning "camp credit" from doing jobs around the camp that were similar to community service. Every camper was given "book credits" they could use at the camp store or the book fair. We were taught to trade in our "camp credit" for everything from toiletries and clothing to candy and magazines.
It took some time to get used to the way of life at camp O-AT-KA, but I eventually adapted. Before I knew it, I was acting like an adult, and I didn't even realize it. My parents were shocked on the parent visit day when they saw me with my tucked in polo shirt, and even more surprised when I asked if they would take me to get my hair cut.
Maturity isn't something that just happens overnight, it takes time. You can't expect something to  make you more mature. I was expecting to have a summer of lounging around the lake, instead I learned many skills I will remember and value for the rest of my life.