We are proud to announce that Natasha Torres, a student in our NDA Adult Literacy program, was selected to have her essay, ‘Myself’, featured in ‘NYU’s Literacy Review‘ for 2017. The Literacy Review gathered over 400 submissions from adult literacy programs throughout New York City and chose 77 pieces to print. Natasha will be one of 22 readers who will be presenting her submission at the annual launch party on May 11th, 2017. Here is her essay.
by Natasha Torres
Have you ever seen that girl who sits in front of the classroom and always raises her hand even before the teacher can finish the question? It almost seems as if that student and teacher are on the same page and have the same understanding of the educational material. Well, unfortunately that was never my style. I was the student who was discouraged by the surroundings and environment since it did absolutely nothing to motivate me. It only made me slack off. Some say we are a product of our environment. I feel that is true in most cases, but it is possible to raise above certain conditions and that has become my goal for the future.
I have thought out my time in high school, and there were many occasions when I did not understand the class work or the reason it was being given to me. I was too shy to raise my hand and ask for help when I needed it because I didn’t want to feel inferior and feared I would be judged. I now realize that my behavior was not wise since everyone at some point in their life needs a helping hand.
The past years in high school, I spent wasting time, cutting classes, and hanging out with the wrong people, people who I once called friends. In short, I gave into peer pressure by taking the easy way out, and sought their approval, never taking class or my education seriously. I feel like I never paid mind to my homework, books, or assignments. As a result, I feel like I have nothing to show for the past years in high school.
“I realize time waits for nobody, and I should be focusing my efforts on improving myself and becoming someone who my family and I can be proud of…”
I can honestly say that is not what I want for my future. I realize time waits for nobody, and I should be focusing my efforts on improving myself and becoming someone who my family and I can be proud of so I can be an example for my younger siblings. I realize when someone works hard to get what they want there will be times there are bumps in the road and obstacles to overcome. During these times, many people will want to give up or take the easy way out as I have done in the past. That is why its important to keep my eyes on the prize, literally. I know that I have not lived up to my potential, but to do that I need to do better, create my goals, and have a sense of accomplishment as I make progress. I know that I need a solid foundation in order to grow and meet the challenges ahead. I am proud of myself for getting this far.
Natasha Torres, age 24, was born and raised in Bronx, New York. She is a student at Phipps Neighborhoods. Gale Shangold Honts, her teacher in Phipps Neighborhoods’ NDA Adult Literacy program, inspired her to “become better and successful in achieving my goals”.