Category Archives: Essays

SAT essay prompts really get me going about important issues and bring light to many things that I haven’t properly thought about! Hope you enjoy:)

I’d like my rainy mornings with a cup of love

This is an essay that is very near and dear to my heart. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did when I wrote it ❤

 

I’m not ever this happy to see rain but as it comes barrelling through the dusty mountainous terrain, I can’t stop myself from smiling. Looking into Arturo’s eyes, I see the miracle. As the big drops of rain mix with the tears on our faces, I am taken back to a decade ago.

 

—If I stared long enough then squeezed my eyes, I could envision myself living the world through a new set of eyes. Perhaps, many would call it a knack for concentration or too great of a dependency on imagination, but I called it a superpower.

 

“Xixi!” my mother called out. My dazed eyes began focusing past the frozen raindrops to the glowing ZELLERS. Excitement was an understatement, because shopping was such a rare occurrence. Grabbing onto my mother’s hand, we walked through the parking lot.

“Excuse me, would you be able to spare some change,” a gentle yet desperate voice cut through the humdrum of the rain.

 I looked back then blinked once. Twice. Nothing. I couldn’t see anything from the man’s eyes! The thin man had now stood up from his crouched position and held onto the parking column for support. My mother tugged on my raincoat gently, but I couldn’t move.

“There s’a McDonalds,” my father emphasized pointing diagonally in front of the man’s view as he rummaged for a couple loonies and toonies. The transaction was quick and soon the money was graciously accepted.

“Thank you sir, thank you,” the man looked at me briefly but I saw it: a beautiful shine in his eyes reflecting belief in another day. Closing my eyes, I felt Happiness bloom in both the stranger and I.

 

But it quickly dissipated into disappointment in the store when I saw the hundreds Hello Kitty umbrellas. I saw the no before it rolled off my father’s tongue.

“We can afford it just this once, it’s almost her birthday!” my mother sighed.

 

That day, I didn’t get what I had wanted, but I received something much better. Within the smell of rain and its weighty dampness is my first memory of love and the sweet aftertaste, a constant reminder of the everlasting impact compassion has. As the years go by, the importance of that rainy morning only grows stronger and has become an extension of who I am.

 

Now, I won’t be able to remember what the man looked like, but I will never forget the feelings that came in the fleeting moment when I caught his quavering yet strong eyes. It seemed as if our paths were meant to cross. The unusual encounter made me feel a normalcy that I could not comprehend, but my father catalyzed the start of my understanding through his actions. Even if he couldn’t set enough food on the table each night, he never hesitated to help those around him. By leaving fragments of hope, he taught me that in everything I do it is important to unlock potential in others.

 

While fulfilling my innate thirst through volunteering and expressing myself through the arts, I would have never known if it wasn’t for the rain’s constant reminders that it was actually a longing to become one with the words inscribed in people’s hearts. The rain opened my heart to a natural tendency of living through empathizing with others and allowed my superpower to collide with my passion for helping others—

 

We stand drenched in Arturo’s wilted fields as the rain pours over the building site. I see helplessness washing away from Arturo’s eyes, and in it’s place, a strong flickering hope that there will be a harvest next year. Making eye contact with this phenomenal man who has helped me build the El Trapichean school that will be the foundation of hope for the next generations, I say, “Perfecto,” and he can only laugh, “Perfecto,” as we look up into the sky together.

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The Book of Negroes

From the perfectly fitting writing style and captivating characters to weaving literature with history through new perspectives, there are many qualities the novel, The Book of Negroes, encapsulates leaving it as a memorable piece in modern literature. However, while teaching readers about the history of the slave trade among various other historical occurences, the author Lawrence Hill focuses on accentuating a woman’s journey of self exploration and her path to empowerment.

 

Aminata Diallo transforms and grows from her various experiences but in an interesting way that allows her to remain true to who she is. She travels various places and acquires wisdom from all the people she meets. Her journey in every sense is a literal journey where she travels across the sea too many times to count. But the real adventure is that through all her trials, she is on a journey to finding herself again and learning more about her potential. The process of picking up the pieces and mending herself back together allows her to discover who she is. From losing herself, she is able to find the “self” that she lost the night when she was captured. She is given a new identity, “A new name for the second life of a girl who survived the great river crossings,” (pg127). But she successfully is able to reclaim her old life again through her journey of self exploration. This determination of reclaiming her old life is shown with, “The power of the spoken word,” when she shares her story. The powerful messages of her story easily embed in my heart.

 

Her story is an amalgamation of strength, determination, love, and beauty that inspires me as a global citizen and as a growing woman. By firmly standing behind her values in an age and culture where women are not allowed to make their own decisions, Aminata is able to blend across different time periods and be a great example of what a feminist is in our modern time. Her resilience and steadfast loyalty to her own beliefs is the definition of what many women are coming forward to stand for today. For instance, when she makes decisions, she does what she believes is the right thing and is not easily swayed by other’s influences. Various times she displays this strength of staying true to who she is. Her marriage with Chekura was a reaffirming statement in that “[She] married the man she loved,” (pg 174). She did not let the circumstances of being enslaved or Appleby’s threats get in the way of fulfilling a value that was very meaningful for her. Furthermore, during the time and culture where she was brought up, many decisions like marriage were often made for her and not by herself. However, despite the risks and consequences that follow, she continues to go with her heart. The courage to be herself and to be able to use the bad experiences as an extension to be better person despite all the terrible things that have happened is exactly what makes her so admirable and a beautiful role model. Her defining characteristics are wonderful examples of how to conquer obstacles and to maximize personal potential. Even as a fictional character, she represents many courageous women who stood for what they believe in. It is very difficult to fight the strong tide of society sometimes, but her power inspires me to continually try to allow my personal voice to speak through.

 

Following her through her experiences, I felt this urge to do something and say something because of all the profound emotions I found myself experiencing. While unconsciously learning through character development and the exploration of many fundamental themes of a tale that is one with history, each page is a piece of the past and the truth. This book is a combination of an intellectual and emotional stimulant, but the real treasure is that it resonates a living message to take action. Through Aminata, I have the ability to see women around the world who live in circumstances where they are oppressed and dominated by men. I see the children and families destroyed by the inhumane treatment inflicted by others. I see the unending cycle of greed and how it ties into the slave trade of the past but also the human trafficking of now. Her story is a catalyst for change, for development of human rights, for the growth of women’s voices. Her story is the connection between my willingness to fight for women’s rights and the understanding of what women in the past and present live through in a society where they are not valued. Lawrence Hill effectively demonstrates his passion for the advancement and empowerment of women by pouring life into Aminata. Her life isn’t just for reading but for understanding.

 

This book catalyzes my growth in regards to strength and purpose. Perhaps in the future I may forget what Aminata went through, but I will not forget her words and how they make me feel. I was with her on her journey every step of the way. I felt the uncontrollable throbbing of anger with the cruelty humans treat one another with. But I also felt the soaring thumps of my heart with the joy of knowing when those who are lost, Aminata and May, are found. Their fight for justice, catalyzes my determination to make a difference. After going through some personal trials in my life both physically and emotionally, this story allows me to firmly believe that everything does happen for a reason and that there is nothing we are not strong enough to handle. Aminata’s story starts off rocky but as a whole, she is a fundamental character in the battle against slavery. Without her experiencing suffering, she would not have been able to empathize with others who were enslaved and fight the way she does for freedom. Similarly, without the personal circumstances that jumble up my life, I would not have been able to find the joy in making others smile. In the case of this novel, suffering led to Aminata’s purpose and like her, my purpose was discovered through growing past obstacles. This revelation allows me to completely immerse in this story because of the similar emotions both Aminata and I went through when tackling challenges. Making this connection to a fictional character, reformed my mindset. No longer am I alone but I am bond to others through a cycle of understanding. Just like when Aminata looked into the eyes of asylum seeking slaves, she saw their stories colliding with hers. And with all these pivotal moments there comes feelings that are everlasting. There is simply nothing more breathtaking when a book anchors itself into real life because the story may fade one day, but the change that accompanies those reading is everlasting. Now as I move forward in life and experience harder trials, I will not be disheartened because I will remember Aminata. I will apply the lessons I have learned to be the best human being and global citizen I can be.

Smiles

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“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.”-Henri Miller

It was past midday now, and the sun beating heavily. The rumbling of the people and the peaceful chaos of the markets were different then they were back at home, but I felt more than welcome in this city as the heavy air swirled around me. To the west, the soft waves of the Pacific nipped the Nicaraguan shore, while on the east, brick walls painted by the locals contrasted heavily against the backdrop of the mountainous terrain.

 

Granada featured an astonishing amalgamation of Spanish, English, and French architecture. And as I passed the pastel coloured shops, I couldn’t resist the rich taste of coffee that spiraled its way around the road. As I entered Café de Las Sonrisas, rusty voices and the sound of spluttering car exhaust outdoors were the only disruption to the silence of hard work. All workers were engrossed with serving customers or threading hammocks. but still enthusiastic to converse with me despite my broken Spanish.

 

“Buenos, comment éstas,” my conversation would begin and from there I could pick out some main words from the worker’s lives. During the brief time I spent at the Café of Smiles, something magical happened, I discovered the language of empathy. I had thought that if I couldn’t speak the language it would be a barrier for me to help in the community, but through exchanging smiles, something clicked within me that allowed me to understand the worker’s lives. The workers here were different in every aspect compared to the workers I knew at home. Despite having physical restrictions or being born with limitations, they did not let it get in their way of happiness. As I left, all I could remember was the tinkering laughter and the joyful smiles in response to my smiles.

 

The magic didn’t stop there, just across the province of Managua in the rural city of El Trapiche more smiles anchored me back down. While I communicated with the children by teaching them how to draw Snoopy, they answered back with their gratitude by smiling. Doing silly faces to make them laugh and see their frowns turn upside down may be such a simple thing, but to see how its influence on others can bring such joy means the world to me. This is why when I first met little Mario all I could remember was the way his eyes lit up when he talked about what made him happy.

 

“Hola, mon numéro y Cecilia, y tu?” I hesitated slightly when I approached him. At first confusion clouded his eyes but he quickly recovered, “Mario,” he grinned. He was a smart seven year old to understand me despite my mistakes! His teacher even told me that he wanted to become a teacher so he could help other people in his community. Just like Mario, I also wanted to unlock potential in others but if I hadn’t gave him a reassuring smile I would have never been able to make that connection.

 

In hindsight, the prospect of visiting the country I was helping was exciting but frightening at the same time. I wasn’t sure what to expect in a developing country but I am so fortunate to have a familiarity with smiles that allowed me to feel at home. Because whether in the sunny Nicaragua or rainy Vancouver, a smile is a smile.

 

A smile paints so many beautiful characteristics in the people around me. I see courage when my friend decided to keep living despite abuse in her home. I see a passion for learning at the local church and where I teach art. I see acceptance for life’s circumstances among the seniors at the city senior center. And I can see that under the surface of every smile there is the want to love and to understand.

 

For me, genuine smiles will always be token of remembrances as they exemplify true happiness beautifully. They are the pursuit of warm fuzzies, and most importantly, they are my home.

Movember

In light of mid November I wanted to share my essay on men’s health as my grandfather passed away last year from cancer. It definitely isn’t easy living with cancer and for those who know those who suffer from this terrible disease or fighting it, I am praying for you. You are strong and I hope this essay can shed some light on more of what I want to do and my experiences!

I can’t exactly describe it.  When I actually comprehended that things wouldn’t be the same. It was just like that moment back on my mom’s car when my dazed eyes quickly zoned in on the colourful headlights hidden among the fuzzy raindrops. In that fragment of time, what was unclear suddenly revealed itself to me. He died and he wasn’t coming back.

 

Cancer is the epitome of fear. It has always taken until it has nothing left to take. And that was what I hated and still hate about it. At first, it’s invisible and incapable of being felt yet at the same time, it’s invincible with the power to abolish everything and anything in its way.

 

But when I was a child, I was fearless. Simply put, cancer just wasn’t real to me. Instead, it seemed something like that of a fairy tale or a faraway fantasy that didn’t have the ability or need to materialize into my life.  So when it knocked unexpectedly at our doors, I wasn’t in a state of denial, I just didn’t believe in its existence. All I knew was that my grandparents were leaving for treatment back in our hometown.

 

Pain wasn’t tangible at that time because other then the doctor’s diagnosis, I couldn’t see any difference in my still fence climbing and fast running grandpa. So I still went about life with an innocent indifference that things were okay and would be okay. In hindsight, I really do wish with all my life that I could rewind those times because when time flies, it flies fast.

 

For the past decade of my life my grandfather lived and then eventually passed away from cancer. A cancer that at first was dormant and then quickly made itself known within the past few years when I saw his flesh unbelievably cave into his bones. From one hundred seventy pounds to one hundred ten pounds and then to just under one hundred when he passed away last year. How drastic is the exponential change of one’s body after such a long period of total normality! It’s truly disgusting to have to see the forced okays of a loved one trying to mask this incomprehensible pain that at the same time is being experienced by millions worldwide.  You see, after a few years of experiencing cancer within my family, I started opening my eyes and I literally began to feel just how many people were living or lived with cancer. I felt it in the hugs I gave to my friend who had lost her aunt to breast cancer or through the tear soaked shirt my church friend cried through when she lost her mother, or in the vibrations of shrieks I felt the nights I stayed at the hospital beside a too young girl going through treatment.  All these things over the years have amalgamated into a sorrow that stains my heart because it is a constant reminder that while I live there are those succumbing to an unwelcomed fate and have lost opportunities to chase their dreams.

 

I have always loved helping people either through service or small things, but a part of me has always yearned to work towards something bigger. I don’t know the exact details of what I want to do, but I know I want to do something. Something that will help eradicate this terrible disease, something that will alleviate the suffering of millions of people, something that will create a legacy in hearts emphasizing the possibility in the impossible. It is always possible and I truly believe that.

Remembrance Essay

The dim lights in the auditorium begin to taunt me as I nervously watch students trickle in with their heads down. A state of solemnity fills the room, and I can feel the eyes of seven hundred students staring at me, or more specifically they can clearly see the tiny details of the crimson poppy I wear on my chest. A hush slowly falls through the crowd as I begin to speak, “ At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleven month in 1918, the guns fell silent as an agreement was reached- four years of hardship, pain, and tragedy were finally over.”

My hands grasp the microphone ever so tightly, that it begins to drip with miniature drips of sweat. After a few minutes of silence,  I begin to speak again. The words easily slide out of my mouth, but my mind flies away. Those drips of sweat are the tears I cry everytime I listen to my grandmother’s tragic story of losing her father. She never got to see him. Constant waiting by the doors every night but the result was always the same. He wasn’t going to come back and she knew it. How devastating to grow up with a missing piece. With the only things you love and learn to depend on, give up on you. How was my grandmother supposed to sleep at night when all she could see was her father’s swollen face caked with dirt, blood, and sweat. She couldn’t and neither could I. I didn’t ever realize how much sacrifice each soldier had to give up. Not only sacrificing their own life but their family as well. Their bold courage to do the right thing even when they were scared, so that their children and grandchildren could live in peace. How humbling of all these soldiers, either known or unknown. My eye’s blur and the room becomes out of focus as warm tears slide down my illuminated face. “ We remember those who have sacrificed themselves to help others, those people, when faced in peril, life threatening circumstances, chose to put others first so that we could enjoy the peace that we take for granted today. As Lewis Carroll once said, “One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others.” These soldiers have humbly fought for their family, their friends, and most importantly our country,” I pause as I clasp my hands together behind me. I slowly start to feel a tingling sensation in my soul. A warm bubbly feeling embraces me as my grandmother voice whispers in my ear, “ Don’t forget him.”

I glance up into the ceiling above, “ I will not.”

We hope you understand that the advantages you enjoy today come with very high prices, and your future relies on protecting them. We take too many things for granted that the society we live in today, is something citizens around the world wouldn’t even be capable to dream of. Their countries are on the edge of falling apart from all the violence. And peace is still more than just a few steps away. Let us help end this.” I let out a deep sigh, releasing my melancholy emotions. My fingers reach up to delicately to caress my grandmother’s necklace, a symbol that reminds me that it’s isn’t over yet. I know that my grandmother and great grandfather both smile at me as I rub the necklace that keep their memory close to my heart.

After this assembly, we hope you reflect on all the things we take for granted everyday. That our freedom of speech, our right to vote, our right to a fair trial, and our freedom of religion all come because of our veterans. We too often forget that our society of peace and happiness are all but a dream for citizens living in war torn countries. Be thankful, remember, and let it end. Lest we forget~

Efficiency vs. Process

In modern day society, time is money. Efficiency is a quality that many people living today yearn for. Things need to be done and there’s no time to waste. Often we overlook the importance of process because we are so caught up in results, but that does not make it a mistake to value it more. In different contexts that allow more time, the though process is rewarded with long term results and a bigger impact on the world today.

As a young child I had always looked up to Thomas Edison. Prominently because of his determination but also his patience to continually think of different ways to make the light bulb work. Many people believe that Mr. Edison began to quickly put parts together but without appreciating the thinking process before his efforts, his invention would have been futile. Successful inventors like Mr. Edison all began with a single idea. An idea that must be polished and cleaned before it can ever hit the markets. This takes countless of hours and reflection to prefect. But not only do inventors need to take time, ordinary people also need the time to reflect in order to better themselves or even better, move the world along.

I had always evaluated myself for my results because I knew people would always judge me for my end results. But what I realized was that on the outside I might seem to be growing, but this type of change was ephemeral. In order to really prepare myself for the real world, I had to place emphasis on inherent values like taking time to really think things through and reflect. Reflection allows me to see if I have grown. For me growth is the true determination of success.

What does success mean to you?

Success should not be a generic term used to describe fortune and fame. In reality, success is adaptable to each individuals own interpretation. For me personally, success is all about growth. And by taking success in the context of personal growth, it’s not about the end product but what got someone form Point A to Point B. Cooperation takes a large amount of self-humbling and recognition that as humans, we are not capable of everything. We are all different and most importantly we make mistakes. Cooperation allows true success in that it allows individuals to find out who they really are through their interactions with others. It also allows the unlocking of potential not just within one person, but many.

Personally, I am an independent person that has always taken care of myself and others to the point that I rarely ask for help. But also as a leader, if there’s anything I learned that there are too many people with too many things to offer. And as an individual,I’ll never get to the stage of success as I would if I had worked with others. As a team, people can develop through helping each other succeed instead of trying too heard to knock others down to reach success. Not only is team work show to be better than outright competition in my life, but in many different contexts as well.

Pink T-Shirt Day is often known as Anti- Bullying Day. With each passing year, more awareness and attention is being shown to mental health and the bullying of adolescents. That in itself is success.  boy started to wear pink in order to break down a social stigma and also show support for his bullied friend. Even though he ignited the flam, his goal would not have been achieved if his other friends didn’t start wearing pink. By working together to stop bullying, their successful school event has turned into a nation wide awareness day celebrated by many Canadians.

When people take a look as success now. I hope they understand that success isn’t all about oneself. It’s not about how much one can gain but how much one can give others to help them unlock their own potential as well. That is why competition shouldn’t be as much of a determining factor compared to cooperation.