eng 402 literacy narrative complete

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Tabatha Greer

ENG 402

Dr. Carey and Mrs. McElroy

09 December 2013

Reading As An Influence

It is ironic how I find myself in the same position that I thought I supposedly learned from years ago. You know that voice that inside your head that tells you to “wake up and that things have just now became real?” That same voice that tells you to do what you are told and that if you don’t then you will suffer the consequences. Well, this is where my story comes into play.

Throughout my years of education, I was the one to always do what I was told. If the instructor said to “read this or do that,” I wouldn’t hesitate on getting it done. By doing so, I would never usually get a grade lower than an “A” on any assignment, well this was in my elementary school days. In these days, I don’t remember many pop quizzes being given, but if I was expected to read something, then I made sure I had it read. To me, I remember elementary school as being a major stepping stone that determines how a student would write and the student’s love for reading books. I used to love to read, but as I grew older, I didn’t like to read as much. I guess it was because of the incentives that my elementary school would reward us with, if we had read so many books within a given time period.

Middle school became as more of a reality to me. It was always take this home and read this and we would sometimes have a quiz the next day. This is where I really began to fall off at

this point in my life. Sometimes I would begin to read the text and if it became boring to me, I would stop reading it. The quizzes began to come and I began to fail some of them and so this was a wake up call in a way, but on the other hand, after the quizzes were taken up, she would go over what we read and tell us what we needed to know for the big test and go over the answers for the quiz the next day that we just took that day. To me, reading became pointless because if I knew she was going to go over what we were supposed to read, I could just be a “floater” and ace the big test. Of course it is always best to read the book in case you are called upon to answer a question, but I figured in some way that if I had read just a little bit and if the teacher would ask a question I knew the answer to, then I could slide right in and make it seem like I had really read. Just as this whole new idea of mine had started to somewhat work, I was in the transition of going to high school.

All I can say is “boy was I in for a rude awakening.” I was beginning to wish I hadn’t taken an honors English course. I thought I could float my way through, but I had a few instructors who would call on random students to answer questions about the reading and I became one of them. Many times I was called on and didn’t know the answer and that was the worst feeling ever, so I actually started doing the reading. A lot of times it was so painful to get through that either I would stop altogether and not continue or I would put it down for a short while and begin reading again. Then, there’s always

SparkNotes

but that can only get you so far, because I had this one teacher who knew a lot of us didn’t do the reading and so she would asks us questions that wouldn’t have the answers in the

SparkNotes.

I would always dread picking up Wuthering Heights, or Great Expectations, or Pride and

Prejudice, or The Great Gatsby, because they did not interest me at all and the language that was used, I was not able to easily comprehend it. By having to read these books in high school, I

learned that if you did not like to read and want to take the time out to decipher certain words in the book, then you would have a hard time comprehending what was happening. Even though we would go over symbolism and what a certain color or idea portrayed, having to read novels with small print or boring beginnings would really put a damper on my reading. However, I believe the language in these books are what kept me from wanting to read them. As a high schooler, I did not like books that I thought I couldn’t relate to, but the more complex the language became, the more discouraged I was about reading the book. Even if I could decipher some of the things going on in the book, the theme of these books just didn’t quite spark my interest. The themes seemed to revolve around love and social class, but as a high schooler, I guess I wasn’t as into love as most teenage girls had been and as far as social class was concerned. I realized that some people are born into their socioeconomic status and that they have a choice to want to do better, so that they could climb up the ladder of the class hierarchy and become more financially stable.

When I approached college, I ran into the same situation. I would do pretty good with getting into the habit of reading, because I did not want to go back into the habits I had in middle school and high school, but this didn’t last long. The college life started to get a hold of me and the student I once was, became someone I barely knew. My grades started dropping and I once again became a “floater.” The readings not only in my English classes became a joke to me, but the other readings from my other courses as well. My habits became my downfall and my lack of motivation kept me away from reading things that could change my life and possibly encourage me to want to read more.

It all started my freshman year of college. I was doing okay with going to class and doing my work for about the first month, then I got mixed up with someone who hindered my

learning and motivation for going to class, but we won’t go into too much more further detail about that topic. This began to take my education downhill and I started missing more of my classes and barely wanted to do any of the work. I thought it was more important to hang around with my so called “friends” at the time and be unproductive rather than just wasting money and allowing my grade point average to drop. I was more concerned with what the things outside of college had to offer or were about, instead of focusing on what my main goal was at Marshall

University, but I guess many students become lead astray, due to confinement in their earlier years with being restricted by their parents as to what they are allowed to do and what they cannot do. Maybe this was my reason for not staying on the rightful path or maybe I just wanted to ignore the things that were always expected of me and finally get to do the things that “I” wanted. I guess I will never know the answer to this question because what has already been done cannot be undone.

The second semester of my freshman year was quite tragic. My grade point average had dropped to a 1.8 accumulative for that first semester so I was on academic probation. The more I became comfortable with being on my own and away from my parents, the less I cared about buckling down and raising my grade point average to get off of academic probation. I continued clubbing and hanging out with my friends and hanging out in the pool room of the dorm that I lived in, that my attendance for going out was much higher than my attendance in the classroom.

I knew that I had everything on the line: a scholarship that I would lose if I didn’t get my grades up and possibly not even being able to go back to Marshall University, because of the finances due to losing my aid. Much of this could have been avoided if I had only listened to my parents and did what I had gone to college to do.

Now that I am still pursuing a degree in Secondary English Education, I look back on my earlier education years in college and realize how many stupid mistakes I could’ve avoided.

From thinking that hanging out with my friends and clubbing were more important than my academics was quite foolish of me to even consider entertaining the idea. Some of them either dropped out of school or are still struggling to obtain some type of degree. I changed my major about the last semester of my sophomore year, close enough to my junior year so I have another year left. I didn’t want to quit, even though I had messed up my aid and put more of a financial burden on my parents than they would have had. I find myself saying “If I had only listened to them instead of being stubborn and hard-headed and so caught up with going here and there, then maybe I would’ve graduated with my class this year of May of 2013. There’s still much regret for what I did back then but I guess I should see them more as lessons learned. Maybe if I had read more or stayed focused on my school work, I would’ve read something that may have motivated me to want to do better, but how much more motivation would I have needed if I already knew what problems would be at hand if I chose to go left and not right? I guess things became more of a reality to me when I saw these things written on paper. The revoking of my two thousand dollar scholarship for four years and my aid, because I neglected to maintain the required criteria to obtain them.

Still to this day, I believe if I had read many of the readings I was assigned in my past classes, I may have been more inspired to want to do better and want to read more books. I’ve found that sitting in class and not knowing what’s going on can be embarrassing, as well as boring, because you can’t participate in the class discussions. Reading is the key to knowledge and books obtain so much information that in some ways, it can change your whole perspective on how you view things, especially when there are certain messages within the texts that authors

are trying to get across to the reader. When you read, you can translate those thoughts and ideas into your own and begin to create how you write, as well as being influence by the writings of others.

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