Should I study or should I go out and do something? That was an easy question for Richard Rodriguez to answer. He was a high school kid who always chose to study over doing anything else. No one understood Rodriguez and his way of living life. Not even his own family. They would say things to him like “What do you even see in your books” (598). That became the family joke Rodriguez said. They always wondered where he was and sometimes he was locked in his bedroom or a closet reading a book or studying. Rodriguez was the kid in school who always answered the questions and had the right answers, but didn’t know why he knew them.
He always questioned the way he thinks and the way the teachers think. Teachers were his role models. He tried to imitate how they thought and the way they acted and the way they thought he should act. Rodriguez teachers always said that his parents must be proud of their son. He wished that was the case. Rodriguez was known throughout his school as the scholarship boy and he believe that he had to live up to that name. Even though Rodriguez was the opposite of me I can relate to his story in a different, but very similar manner. I was born in Rochester, Minnesota. After a few months my family and I moved to St.
Louis. When I was one we moved back to Eyota. Then in second grade we moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin. When my family moved to La Crosse I stayed back and lived with my grandmother for five months until I finished school. We lived in Lacrosse, for three years and in seventh grade we moved back to Eyota were I would live the rest of my school life. I have six members in my immediate family. My mother Brandy, father Noah, and my three younger brothers Joe, Gabe, and Trevor. My mother Brandy is a secretary at the carpenters union in Rochester and my father Noah is self-employed.
My dad owns his own business where he builds and sells computer servers. My dad likes to read Stephen King books and my mother likes love stories like every other woman on this planet. My grandmother Wanda has had a big impact on my life as well and she reads a lot of different types of books and papers. My first experience with reading and writing was when I was very young my mom told me she used to read me bedtime stories of different sports and Dr. Seuss. The first book I read back in first grade was the Berenstain Bears. I read that book over and over again.
All of these books that I have read with my mom are interactive books. I believe that because these books are interactive they have shaped me into always wanting to read action pact book. Around the time I was in third grade I read a series of chapter books called Geronimo. This was a book about a mouse and all the adventures he went on. This series of books did change me as a reader though. These books started challenging me and made me want to read different more challenging books. I have never been a big reader so there was a long period from seventh grade too about tenth grade that I don’t remember reading a book.
I believe the biggest reason that I didn’t read a book during this time was, I just moved to a new town and that time period was when I realized that I needed to practice a lot to achieve my dream. In tenth grade I read a true novel from Elle Wiesel called Night. It was a book about his personal experience in the concentration camps. The book Night was the best book I have ever read. Since it was a book we read in English class every day we talked about the book. Since I enjoyed it so much I would stay after and ask the teachers questions which made me and that teacher closer.
Throughout my whole child hood I was always into sports books though I couldn’t tell you an exact age for each book, but I love documentaries of baseball players. These stories that I read about baseball players always interested me in many different aspects. They were always a good read, plus they made me want to be in there shoes and strive for my goals as a baseball player. I first started to learn to write when I was four years old. My mom started my writing career by teaching me to write my name first. This was the start and from there on my writing grew stronger.
The first big writing I remember doing was when I was in kindergarten I remember writing a short book about everything I enjoyed in life at that time, which was food, Scooby doo, and Legos. This is a key writing in telling you who I am. Even as a young child you could tell who I was as a person and my loves. The second bigger writing I remember was when I was in first grade I wrote another short book about what I wanted to be when I grew up and all the book was about was baseball. This is the year my life changed dramatically. This was the year I started baseball and fell in love.
That is why everything I do always comes back to baseball and all of my sports. Second grade was when the teachers slowly started to teach everyone how to write in cursive. I wasn’t very good at it though. My hand writing back in the day was terrible. Fourth grade was a big year in writing because I remember we had to write a page paper on an animal that we liked. I wrote about horses, my second love. Horses are my way of releasing stress. I struggled with the paper because I have never been very good at writing and back then a page seemed to be so long. I did finish it, but it took a team effort I remember with my mom.
When I moved to Eyota in seventh grade it was a culture shock on the work load because I use to go to a Catholic school and it was a little more advanced in aspects of school. In seventh grade I remember writing a few different papers on a book we read and the other was a research project on a sailor. Both were not too hard both had to easy three pages. The typing part of all my essays is the part that is the hardest because back in the day I was an extremely slow typer. I remember in that year I learned how to make outline notes for class as well. That has helped me excel in many aspects of my school life.
Once high school started writing was taken up to a new level though I remember ninth grade we had to write at least five different essays. Every essay was different and as I wrote I learned something new. Tenth grade we didn’t write much because that was the year in our English class we had to do speeches. For my speeches, though, I did write a script which is another style of writing. In a speech instead of writing to let someone else read it you are writing for yourself to reread to a group. I find writing a story for someone else is tougher than writing a speech though.
The reason I like writing speeches is because when you write a speech you are more careful in what you say because you don’t want to embarrass yourself. My last year of high school I did write a few essays. A few were bigger essays for some local scholarships. These essays were pretty easy though because I had to write about my own life and life goals. As I said earlier I don’t read a lot and I don’t write unless I have to. The books I have read throughout the years have help me greatly through school. The greatest way reading has helped me throughout school is broadening my vocabulary.
The books have also made me a better writer by reading professional writings. One of my biggest weaknesses throughout school was the ability to comprehend books. When I read a book that interests me, it is a lot easier to comprehend and follow along in the story. A lot of the true stories I have read make me think a lot about how I have to work to achieve my goals or how good of a life I actually have. For instance, in the book Night it makes me appreciate everything because I couldn’t ever imagine going through half of what he had to go through.
The readings I do outside of school are more pleasure books of things I am interested in and the books I have read in school are books about material that can improve on life and daily activities. When I was younger, the books that were read to me and the books I read played a huge role in the way I read now a days and the books I like these days. When I was younger and read my first chapter book it showed me how much time it took to read a full length book. Throughout my whole life many people have influenced my readings and have taught me many great aspects too reading.
In my personal life I can relate to Rodriguez in a different way though. I always have been the kid that has excelled at sports and if I didn’t get an athletic scholarship my parents were not going to pay for my college. I have always had that in the back of my head so I had to work extra hard to live up to their expectations. The big difference was that my parents always supported me through everything with my commitment and understood that. There was a lot of times though that they would make me do my studies instead of going and practicing were Rodriguez’ parents would want him to do other activities instead of school.
I did get made fun of though at school in the same way were my friends would make comments on how much I practiced and I didn’t hang out with them. So I understand the effort it take that you need to achieve the goals you are working toward. I believe that education does shape who people are though Most everyone wants to achieve at education and the easiest way to achieve at something is to put the most effort into it. When you are in school though especially at the younger ages you look up to your teachers a lot and try to imitate them until you find other role models.
You see your teachers as almost another set of parents and obey what they say and achieve as much as you can to make them proud as well as your parents. Rodriguez just never grew out of that stage and always kept his teachers as his mentors and role models. All he wanted to do was make them proud he didn’t care much about how his parents felt because he thought it was a lost clause. I believe Rodriguez’ experience as a scholarship boy is a universal experience. Not everyone has the same experiences, but I believe everyone relates to him in some way.
Bartholomae, David, Anthony Petrosky, and Stacey Waite. Ways of Reading, An Anthology for Writers. 10th ed. Bedford St. Martins, 2014. 338-355. Print.