Kristina Huntington ENG 101 Essay 1 Draft 3 2/21/13 Exploring My Horizon About four years ago, I was sent away because I stopped attending public school. It was my first year of High school, and I was going through a lot of personal issues at home. Not to mention, I couldn’t understand any of the material that my teacher was teaching to the class. I felt like other kids were much smarter because they always asked questions, and seemed to understand more than I did. I had become very discouraged and insecure with myself, and my learning abilities. My mind was constantly in another place rather than paying attention to what was going on. I just couldn’t stay focused at all. I felt completely hopeless at times, so I finally stopped going to school all together. The court systems of Berkeley County obviously didn’t approve of such a young child not going to school for so many repetitive days, and sent me off to a boarding school, called The Board of Child Care, located in Spring Mills, West Virginia. I thought this was the worst possible thing that could have ever happened to me at the time, but fortunately, it turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life. I remained at the boarding school for almost two entire years and changed my entire life around educationally, mentally, and physically. At first, I resented everything and everyone. I didn’t know anyone, and I immediately felt alone and angry. I didn’t want to accept the fact that I had been taken out of my home, and placed somewhere new and unfamiliar. I didn’t pay attention in my classes at first, and I was negative about the entire situation. My attitude quickly changed though. I went from being down in the dumps and negative about everything, to smiling all the time, and actually enjoying and understanding things in life, things like learning, and why it was so important. I had always wanted to be successful, I just had some struggles and delays on the way. I had realized that nobody was going to hand me anything on a silver platter, if I wanted to further my education and become someone in life, I had to work hard for it, and do it all on my own. This is when I first became open minded to the thought of education and knew I had to start paying attention, and actually trying regardless of what my personal issues were. After being sent away for a couple weeks, I started writing down all of my problems and thoughts in a journal, and it became very therapeutic and calming to me. I was never much of a reader or a writer until this time, probably because I had all the time in the world at this point in my life. I felt I could express myself in words and nobody would be able to judge me. Writing was a getaway for me, and it became a sincere passion of mine. I wasn’t much of a public speaker or a reader either until I had Ms. Ashley, who was the English and Reading teacher at the boarding school. She was such a kind, patient, and understanding person. Always full of life and energy, with an upbeat attitude. She was just the type of person whose presence would light up the room, and make you feel happy to be around. She helped me tremendously with my comprehension, vocabulary, reading, and writing skills. She loved to read, and always had her students reading books too. She would make us stand up in class and read our reports out loud to get practice for the future. Although I struggled with reading, she worked with me, and helped me every step of the way, and now I can’t stop reading books. To be honest, I often get so zoned into them, and before I know it, its hours later. Even though she has helped me with my reading skills, I still will admit; if a book or passage doesn’t interest me, than I usually cannot follow and comprehend it. This is something I’m still working on, but I am open minded to learning any new material that I can. I have developed such a positive passion for writing and reading, and I would love to be able to progress my learning abilities and take my skills to another level of comprehension, which is partly my reason for taking this class. Throughout the two years that I was in Ms. Ashley’s class, we became very close and developed a great bond. She would always take the time to sit down and go over essays that I didn’t quite understand how to do, being very supportive and answering any questions that I had. She helped me understand English a lot more than just writing about my own thoughts, but also understanding how others express their thoughts, expressions, and characters too. Although, I am not the greatest writer in the world, I feel she helped me a lot with my schooling, and got me back onto the right path. She was teaching me in a way that I could comprehend and actually enjoy learning. I wasn’t the only one who liked Ms. Ashley so much. The entire class loved her and enjoyed her company and teaching skills as well. I’m not positive, but I can almost guarantee she has made an impact on several people throughout her lifetime. She’s just that outstanding of a person, with tons of knowledge to share. She has been one of the most inspirational people who has come into my life so far. I am extremely thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of her class. She is definitely a person that I have great memories with, and someone who I will cherish forever. Since I have left The Board of Child Care, I still continue to talk to Ms. Ashley. She tells me about all the new books she’s reading, and encourages me to read every single one. I often think about what I would be doing today if she was never a part of my life. She helped me to not only read and write, but also grow as an individual. I went back to High School my junior year and I didn’t feel so discouraged anymore. I gained the confidence that I was lacking, and didn’t feel so helpless. I came back to school feeling fresh, and like a brand new person. My grades improved dramatically compared to before I had went to the boarding school, and my problems seemed to vanish. My life had gotten so much better, and I had a completely different mindset than before. I was going to be successful, and I wasn’t going to let people or problems bring me down. I have really enjoyed every English class that I have taken since. I participate in class more often, and I did and still do all of my assignments from then on out to the best of my ability, even if I don’t quite understand it. I enjoy writing and expanding my thoughts and creativity more and more all of the time. I look forward to taking class with you this semester, and learning some new things that I have yet to learn about. These are some of my personal experiences that I have been introduced with in reading and writing.