Sunday, October 30, 2011

Midterm Reflection

          I remember when I first started applying to all these different colleges, trying to narrow it down to at least ten that I thought would be a good fit for me. When I applied to St. Joe's, I really didn't know much about it and was it was really a last minute school I applied to. I heard a couple good things about it form my guidance counselor and some other kids who visited the school before me so that gave me a push to go see what it was like. I was unsure about St. Joe's when I first came here. I didn't get a good feel for the students here and what the environment was around campus. It was a cold rainy weekend and no one was around which put the campus in a bad light for the first visit.
          Then came orientation. I was so nervous at first, not knowing where anything was and feeling lost with the size of the campus stretching over two towns. But I felt more at ease thinking about how everyone else was in the same boat; feeling nervous and kind of lost. As orientation went on, I felt a lot more comfortable with the school and everything it was about, the mission here, what the other students were like, the different classes available, etc.
          As the day got closer to our first day, I never felt more anxious. I was so excited to leave my hometown and experience the big city of Philadelphia. The city was one of the main reasons for coming to St. Joe's along with the well-regardeed business school. Along with the feeling of anxiousness, I was feeling nervous about meeting my roommate and other suitemates. I wasn't so eager to leave behind my countless high school friends I've known for the past 6 years and go make new ones who I'd be forced to live with the next year. But, this necessity to make new friends is good because you push yourself to step out of your comfort zone and experience new people and interacting in different ways around them.
          I feel that I have grown dramatically. Learning how to live on my own has pushed me to do things I couldn't have imagined doing before in high school. Taking a 5 hour train to and from Philly from my hometown? I never would have thought about doing this on my own as a nineteen year old. I was so nervous to think about having to take a train, stopping at Penn Station and figuring out what to do with no prior experience. I feel that these couple travel instances alone have helped me adapt and learn what the real world is like. No parents around telling you what to do or holding your hand and directing you down the right path.
          There's definitely so much more to learn though. I'll be turning 20 in about nine months and sometimes I think to myself that there can't be much more that I don't already know. Yet, everyday I find something new and experience things I never would've imagined. Traveling on SEPTA to some town called Ardmore to an apple store to fix a broken computer screen!; definitely something I wasn't expecting to do alone as a college freshmen. But, I'm excited for what my future at St. Joe's holds for me and I can't wait to experience these next couple years!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rosa Lee

          In part seven of Rosa Lee, we learn about some serious prostitution scandals that occurred within the family, mainly revolving around Patty and Rosa. I was shocked to read about how young Patty was when Rosa first started prostituting her to men in the neighborhood and other drug dealers. I thought the details of the encounters between Patty and the men Rosa brought home were too graphic and sickening to read about. Patty shows that she has a true care for her mother and really looked up to her. She claimed in the interviews with Mr. Dash that everything she was doing prostitution wise was for her mother. She also didn't want to let her down or fail her in making more money for the family, even if it did come to having sex with a man that was fifty years old and continued to get hurt by all the encounters. I blame Rosa entirely for getting Patty involved with this situation because of her irresponsibility and lack of consideration for her daughter when she would bring men home. It's just so wrong to commit any sexual act in the same bed as your eight year old child; let alone prostitute her for sex at the age of eleven to forty year old men. I became even more frustrated and disturbed with the family when they began to set up abortion scams with their "customers." I think that this is totally immoral whether they're trying to put food on the table or not. This continuing cycle of drugs and prostitution is still indefinitely occurring within the family but yet nothing is being done to prevent this from happening again in the next generation (being Patty). Rosa seems to make points at times that she will change and leave this lifestyle or drugs and prostitution but she does nothing to help her own children. She carelessly allows Patty to continue her prostitution of unprotected sex and encourages the drug lifestyle by a means of a way to make money.

          So far, I haven't been able to make any connections with this book to service with my learner, R. I think she seems to live an honorable life and has a lot of dignity, unlike Rosa and her family. She puts fourth the effort to come to service everyday and took the initiative to come to back to the CFL to work on her reading and writing skills to try and get into a local community college. She manages to balance her time between the three hour tutoring sessions every Wednesday night and a Thursday night computer course she takes at another CFL type program. She also is able to find time to raise her four boys as a single parent which I give her the utmost respect for her being able to do.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

First Impressions of Service

          I think I should start off by saying my initial thoughts on service were way off base and I actually felt much more comfortable than I expected. I was definitely in the wrong mindset going to the CFL. I was thinking that that our learners wouldn't actually be that interested in learning and that their level of knowledge would all be that of a 4th or 5th grader, as Mark was telling us during our training. That mentality made me very concerned with my ability to be able to teach my learner because of the perception of them all having such a low educational level. I was wrong.
          When I met my learner I was happy to find out she actually already received her GED back in 2003. She made the obligation to come back to the CFL to "sharpen up" on her previous GED skills and wanted more help with paragraph and sentence formation. This devotion my learner has given to herself and her three children gives me even more respect for her and her persistence to better her education. It also gives me more of an initiative to push myself to do my best whenever I go to the CFL.
          The trip to the CFL was a bit more comfortable than the last. I was lucky enough to get a window seat this time and not be forced to sit on a wheel well. On our second trip into the neighborhoods I felt a bit more comfortable than I did on our first trip. I was more aware of where we were and of our surroundings. I feel that the area really isn't as bad as its made out to be. There seems to be a pretty good amount of traffic and activity going through the main streets which I believe contributes to less crime being able to occur. I hope that as the next couple weeks go on we can all become more accustomed and deferential to the neighborhoods.
          On our way home I felt relief. I was happy with our first experience of tutoring at the CFL and I think we can all grow from our first session as we become more familiar with our learners. I can only hope that my learner and I become closer and learn more about one another so we can be as successful as possible over the next academic year.