Archive for February, 2009

February 6, 2009

Anna Fung

Instructor: Arenstein

ENG 1000C: Core Writing Workshop (English Composition)

ROC 1

Part 1: Initial Reflection

Sitting in my English classroom, I am at loss of what to do. Freewriting, letting your thoughts flow out beyond the parameters of this classroom, reflecting on who I am, what I desire passionately to learn, to know about myself. Everything becomes nothing. The hard desk I am supporting myself against, the paper my pen is scratching on, everything will remain the same. The desk will live on until even when we perish but our minds will not perish. Our minds, thoughts, imaginations, unspoken enunciation of a different world, will be recorded into history. What will really live on as we perish into the unknown? Our work, our legacy, we will learn to rely on another generation of readers, passionate, diligent in the work and study of the past, our present. The most important thing on my mind right now is who am I? The ultimate philosopher’s question debated endlessly over the years. What am I set out to accomplish? This ultimately leads to the question, of why am I here? There are a million possibilities for others out in the world. I could quit college after getting my high school diploma and get a job, explore the world, taste the world’s delicacies, experience cultures beyond my knowledge, but why did I choose here? Ultimately, the choice is ours. To each one’s own. We are the product of our exploration of ourselves and the decisive choices and decisions we choose to make. Not one to blame but ourselves only, my range of thoughts diverging on an endless array of What Ifs? What could happen in the future? Knowledge still lives on. Life is fickle, people are fickle, intelligence and knowledge reign above all else. We remember not the works of people, not the people.  

 

Part 2: Observation

I am a resident student at St. Vincent’s dorm. On Friday evenings to celebrate the new years with my family and distant relatives who travelled from out of states for the reunion dinner, I was riding the subway to Brooklyn from Queens, the F train. It was not anything special but since I stopped off to wander Chinatown in Manhattan, which I have known initially for 15 years, the streets were loitered with fire snappers. Little children were buying packs and packs of fire snappers and popping them on the streets. On every street corner, people were selling flowers and Chinese banners baring proverbs for the New Year. Supermarkets were filled with people as consumers struggle to buy all their New Year snacks at the least minute. The harsh winter where people are usually reluctant to head outside were gone. During the new years, representative of a new beginning, maybe, an end to the misfortunate events of last year, had people in a jovial, uplifting mood. The streets were usually packed as people brushed to and from the subway stations to the shops and markets close by for their shopping. As I wander around, I wondered that with a new year at hand, I am an older person. This year in 2009, I would be 19 but since a new year has started, I am already 20. I am already 20 years of age. What have I done in this 20 years of experience that renders me as capable, mature, and responsible person befitting of an adult? It seems like I just graduated from high school a mere three months ago but all my life, my world and focus revolved around my family and my studies. I had known nothing else except the world lying within the parameters of first elementary, junior high, high school, and now, college. The idea of a world beyond my close sphere of influence seems foreign to me. We are taught from the mistakes of out predecessors’ but had never yet learn to make mistakes of our own, taking baby steps to the foreign, the strangeness and eccentricity of things. But it is not easy going into the world with an ignorant heart. In this world, there is no more trial and error. We may have second chances but that doesn’t mean that our first chances will be really forgotten. Therefore, we must equip ourselves with a total understanding of the world, the necessary skills to understand ourselves and others and learn from the best and the available. There are no more reckless adventures, rather, our society has changed, and education is the key to survive. Our survival is not reliant on our strength but rather, how educated we are. This has been on my mind for a while, the ability to adapt and evolve from the predominant skills and traits of our predecessors to become who we are today, the modern humans leaving our traits and knowledge for our future generations.

 

Part 3: Observation

The main objective to read, to observe, to learn everything we can. I recall an old but fond memory of a saying by my elementary school principal. Every day when he made announcements at the loudspeaker near the end of the school day, his last words and reminder to the students were “Remember to read, read, read!” Up to this day, I still think most of the pupils remember this saying. At that time, being the giddy children we are, we would giggle and laugh over the absurdity of those words. Then, we thought to ourselves, of course we would read, we read every day at the library and at class. Besides, we had to do English reports of the books we read. But now, I wonder which one of us are still able to read as enjoyably as we did back then. As we get older, reading for leisure is getting tougher and tougher for the majority of us, that the original purpose to read, read, and read more for pleasure is becoming near extinct. We read no more for the rare case of enjoying it but because we had too. The book reports we had to do as a children evolved to academic and analytic essays we had to for our high school English classes. As we grow and mature, the childish belief and innocence of reading a book, is influenced by our daily surroundings, we have not gotten the time to just enjoy a book, finding the time for it when there are many other things we had to do. I still couldn’t remember the last time I have read for pleasure. Over time, our numerous work and extracurricular activities have taken natural priority over reading. We had to read for English classes, SAT exams, and other fixations but the original purpose is gone. 

 

Part 4: Contemplation

What is your semester conversation? The correlation between our economy and literacy rate.

What is your semester inquiry question? What is correlation between our ailing economy and the rising literacy rates? Does the literacy rate increase across the states as our economy collapses?

What is your object-text? Various newspaper sources (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.) 

 

Part 5: Five-Paragraph/One-page (Absurdly) Formal Essay

Situated at the heart of the Queens campus of St. Johns University, St. Augustine Hall is a frequent place for university students. St. Augustine Hall houses the Freshmen Center, the Writing Center, the Library Café, and the Library. The elusive entrance to the library, slyly tucked beside the metal detectors of the Library Café is like a hidden passageway leading to a secret fantastical world not unlike Dorothy’s Land of Oz. I felt overjoyed to explore this foreign corner of St. Augustine Hall which only a minority of students knew the existence of.

The renovated library has four floors. The first floor is the library café with two quiet study areas to the left and right side similar to the floors of the library. Each floor of the library is sub-divided into the left and right sections. As I entered the room, I was overcome with an arid sense of melancholic nostalgia as I have not visited the library for six years. The room was brightly lit and painted with a vibrant reddish hue offering a comfortable and airy environment for students. The infrastructure of the room was specially designed to adapt to needs of its students: promoting both quiet individual study as well as quiet group studyAt the back of the room were red beanie chairs arranged in a circular pattern where students can get study and discuss in a more spacious and open environment. Around the room were quiet study areas with miniature desks for students who wish to study.

At the front of the room, toward the side lies the Printing Room. The Printing Room is equipped with a printer and two copier machines. As I walked towards the room, a student was printing out her paper in the room. The room was harshly lit with florescent lights, its stark white demeanor heavily contrasting with the vibrant and lively red color of the rest of the room.

A novel that immediately caught my attention was JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, its familiar black and green cover looking devilishly back at me, its pages withholding a secret of nine years past. Nine years back before the novel was released, I already placed hold of the (then) upcoming novel from the library. When I got news that the book was released, I rushed to the library to borrow it after school and in the rush of excitement, finished it in a span of two hours. Picking the book up again, feeling the soft spine of the book and the texture of its pages, a reminder of the beautiful innocence of my childhood. The blurry hours of the afternoons I would spend on the library after school, eager to learn about the world through the lens of my favorite books and writers.

Leaving the library, bypassing the students studying, I was dumbfounded with a sense of melancholy I felt. Descending down the stairs toward the library café for a short coffee break before I head back to my dorm, while waiting in line and reflecting of what happened earlier, the feeling got stronger. When I received my coffee, I was acutely aware that the pressure of the cup against my fingers was strangely heavier than before. The strangling pressure followed me as I went through the turnstile and exited St. Augustine Hall.