I’ll start positive, so we get the good things out there before the bad things. One of the things that has molded me as a learner is my early years of learning. I was very lucky to be involved in great school programs when I was young, including being a peer mentor in preschool, and going to an all day kindergarten. When I was in the all day kindergarten, I got to stay in class with 1st graders and learn everything they did, except I wasn’t necessarily expected to retain everything. I definitely defied expectations. I loved learning and my teacher, Ms. Chapel (I will always remember her) was amazing. She encouraged all of us to learn and do our best, while being very patient and kind with us. I was immediately in love with learning because of her. I learned to read pretty quickly and was on par with any of the 1st graders I was paired with. It was a pretty good year of school.
Let’s switch to bad, just to shake it up. Jump forwards to my senior year of high school, where I learned about knowing your own limits. I certainly did, although a bit too late; and it took a while for the lesson to stick. I had decided I wanted to get a jump start on some college credit, and took 3 AP classes, on top of volleyball, cheer, golf, senior project, theatre, honor society, volunteering, band, student council, and applying to schools. I was already dealing with a lot of turmoil and stress the year before, and adding all of this mess on top didn’t do myself any favors. I dove headfirst into a terrible depression (that I didn’t have diagnosed for a year or treated for a year and a half) paired along with an extreme anxiety disorder. I failed 1 of my AP classes, dropped one, and managed to get a D in the last one. I almost didn’t graduate. I learned a more personal lesson this time, that I needed to pace myself, take care of myself, and that I didn’t need to try to impress anyone or be a star pupil to just be a good student. I’m still struggling with that last one.
Flopping back to elementary school, I took AR tests and reading level tests, as I’m sure many of you did too. Those were the highlight of those years for me. I loved to read, and getting points, getting prizes for it was just incredible in my eye. I honestly probably read half the library in my elementary school. I got to a point where all there was to read were magazines or textbooks. I was racking up around 400+ AR points every year. Talk about an addiction, I’m not convinced I didn’t have one. I learned how to read, how to analyze what I had read, and how to think a little about what I was reading.
In 8th grade, I was blessed with another amazing English teacher (I’ve had so many), Mrs. Angel. What an accurate name. She was amazingly sweet and fun in the best way. She played classical music when we took tests or read and I still have most of the pieces memorized. Middle school was horrible, but she was the highlight of my day, every day. We wrote in her class nearly every day. She would give us free form prompts to finish for tests, and let us use our own imaginations for papers and assignments. We read a lot of classics, a lot of poetry, and I really enjoyed myself. I learned how to expand my writing and explore my own thoughts by writing.
The last, and most recent, of my learning experiences has been this last semester. I took my first creative writing class and loved it so, so much. I learned about the fundamentals of creative writing and really grew as a writer. I would love to publish a novel someday, maybe start a series of my own. Making money as a writer would definitely be incredible. Taking classes like this is something that gets me closer to that goal, and improves my skills as a thinker.