Dear Class, 

I have written this essay to express to you my difficulties growing up. Because when I was younger, I never really had really good English classes. I was forced to learn mainly about what my religion was and all the things I was supposed to follow. In essence I present this essay about my struggles and what I have learned from it all. It shows my process of learning along with what I used and did to overcome the obstacles I faced. I created this essay to cater to people who struggle with the same problems I did when I was growing up. Because not everyone was raised in their own schools to be prepared for what happens after middle school. I wanted to show everyone, not just children, that it is okay to stand out and be different. That it is okay to get things wrong and ask for help and receive it. Because without the help I needed, I wouldn’t be standing here today with all the knowledge I attained, nor would I be able to share my experiences. Throughout my essay, or shall I say story, I have used the rhetorical choice of pathos to appeal to my readers. I explain the hardship I had faced as a child and everything that came along with it. The emotion of the reader towards the beginning was to feel sorry for the child and hope that all got better. And as the reader read on, they came to understand that it does get better with time. I used ethos as a way to describe the situation that I was in, and logos to show the logical reasoning for doing what I did. Which in my case at the time was to seek help with the challenges I was facing, which was the inability to really understand what I was reading and writing. 

            During phase 1’s assignment, I learned what I came from. I never truly sat down and analyzed where I began and how I have come so far. By being asked to look back on our original learning of literature, and to reflect on it. I learned that I struggled a lot. Aside from me learning about me, I have learned how to properly work with others and critique others in not only art (as I am an art student) but in English as well. I learned that although sometimes criticism can be hard to take, most of it is used as a way to push ourselves to do better. And all our peers want is for themselves as well as us to do better. As far as concepts and terms that have mostly impacted my learning, I have actually learned what ethos, pathos and logos are and I am able to, for the most part, apply it to things I am reading and writing. And lastly, this assignment helped me to achieve the “Develop(ment of) strategies for reading, drafting, collaborating, revising, and editing” (cited from English 1110 syllabus). I was able to, with the help of my peers, take something I had written and expand on it. To go from small general topics and turn a 2-page paper into a 4-page paper, with the help of revising and editing my drafts over and over again. But I think from here I can say that my story/essay is pretty good where it stands, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you! 

So, thank you<3 



When I was younger, I was never the biggest fan of reading. In the school that I was attending, they focused primarily on religion. They didn’t seem to love focusing on the whole aspect of teaching English studies, and instead chose to teach judicial studies a lot more. Every day, for a majority of the day, my classmates and I spent most of our time reading and writing in Hebrew and learning about Jewish customs. Think of it like this, the most important book in the entire Jewish religion is the Torah, it’s like our Holy Bible. It teaches us the laws and customs of every single thing a Jewish person has to do. From learning about what to do on each and every holiday to what you have to do before you take a bite of food. Every single thing needs to be taught to a Jewish student attending a Jewish school because they need to grow up as religious as the school tells them to be. But overtime you already learn everything there is in the Torah and move on from there to more specifics like things that commentaries have to say about what God has written in the Torah. So, it becomes a constant repetition of what the teachers are teaching especially when it comes to Jewish holidays. Once a student is aware of what we are supposed to do on any given holiday, then from then on you follow the rules and don’t really need to be taught it again. But in a Jewish school, they feel it is necessary to teach it year after year, as if the students were to forget. But as it is, Jewish students that are living in America (or anywhere really), need to be aware of these laws and obligations. But at a certain point it is time to stop focusing on Jewish life and focus more on English and what it has to teach us.

 When I moved out of Brooklyn, I was so used to the Jewish studies, that I wasn’t the brightest when it came to English language classes. I was so used to learning the religious aspect of things, that I got used to learning about those things and only those things. And to my surprise, even until today, I probably couldn’t tell you half of what I learned, along with keep an entire conversation in Hebrew. So, in all honestly it wasn’t a complete waste of time, but I would have rather spent that time learning what was necessary for an American student. But as I got older and moved to a new school, I was faced with the challenge of not being as literate as everyone else in my class. I finally entered a school that taught Hebrew classes, but really focused on their English classes, along with math class and other languages as well. Which due to the fact that I was only learning Hebrew classes, I wasn’t prepared to enter a school with other kids who were on a higher level than I was. 

So many of the kids were extremely prepared for the fifth grade, because their parents made them read outside of school. At times when I was asked to, I used to lie and say that I read at night, even though it wasn’t true. Therefore, the other kids in my classes became better readers and enjoyed reading books they were assigned. For years after I moved out of Brooklyn, I had to take the time to teach myself the skills I was lacking. I began seeing tutors on the weekends and even after school. I had teachers from other grades, come to my house and teach me how to read a book because I really just didn’t know how. And once that was over, I joined a program at a learning center and had to go every single weekend. For months, I hated waking up early on Saturday mornings because it was really the only time I had to sleep, when I wasn’t in school. But I did it because it made me a stronger student and it was what I needed. At some point I had built my language skills to be strong enough, that I was finally able to understand what was going on in my classes and I was finally able to say goodbye and thank you to all of my teachers at the learning center.

When I entered the fifth grade, we were told that every month we were to read a book and explain what it was that we read. I was a bit nervous because I was still not the best English student, and still didn’t really like to read. One day, I was asked to choose a book from a pile of books on my teachers’ desk. There was this one thin book, with an orange color and a small white outline of a cat on the cover. For some reason, this book stuck out to me. Like it was supposed to be chosen by me and only me. Maybe it was because I grew up with cats or maybe it was the bright colors on the cover. But I decided to pick it up and bring it back to my seat. That night I went home and began to read the book. It was called A Mango Shaped Space written by Wendy Mass. It told the story of a young girl living with Synesthesia and her experiences living with the fact that sounds and words appear to have color. Synesthesia is a condition in which several of your senses are stimulated. Meaning that for most people, information is only meant to stimulate one of your senses, but people who deal with synesthesia, end up having several of their senses stimulated at once. In the case of this book, the protagonist Mia, is faced with a convergence of two of her senses, which are those of hearing and seeing. As a result of this, she then associates different sounds with different colors. For example, when she hears a loud screeching sound, she sees black shards coming at her. 

When I began reading this book, I fell in love. It was something I could feel on a personal level. We shared a common struggle of being and feeling different. With me, I had felt uneasy about entering into a new school with barely any real knowledge of English literature. As well as being a new student in a new school. Whenever there are new people in a grade, who weren’t there from the start, it is difficult to assimilate them into the rest of the grade because everyone has already made their friends. I felt like and outcast and like no one wanted to be my friend. But now I had to take myself and be strong enough to walk up to someone and make a new friend. I was not used to this new life and all these new people because for as long as I could remember, I was with the same people for years and years. It was very freighting for me. 

At some point I decided that I was going to stop being shy and try to make some new friends. And I did! Some of who are still in my life after over 4 years of graduating. In the book, A Mango Shaped Space, Mia taught me that being different was okay, she showed me that if I showed that I was like everyone else, that I won’t stick out as much as I thought I did. And who knows maybe I would find someone who also struggled when it came to reading. And soon enough I did, I met my best friend who introduced herself to me first. We shared a smile and walked to our next class together. Mia also introduced me to the idea of something I had never heard of before. The idea of Synesthesia. Which for me is especially interesting when associating sounds with color. Because back in my high school, I was a major art student and I was always fascinated with the world and all its colors. Which has led to the design aspect of my life, where I am now studying to be and Architect. 

To read a book that not only made me feel like it was okay to deal with struggles in your life, while at the same time interested me, was amazing because it was something that no other book has ever done before. Nowadays, I can say that I am confident with the student I have become, and my literary skills have definitely progressed. Being that I went to a high school that is known for being tough when it came to its classes, I definitely learned more about English skills and all the things I was lacking. But I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t push myself to do better from day one!


It’s the light that is blinding me 

The colors that are scaring me 

And the feelings that I am feeling inside of me 

The taste of blood that I feel at the tip of my tongue as I mutter my name, Scarlet

It is the color that engulfs my entire being when the words reach my lips 

The shine of a thousand lights beaming as I hear voices in my head

Scarlet, Scarlet it calls 

“Come here and take a seat”, it speaks

I follow with no idea of what is to come 

I approach a wide-open field full of chaos

Loud noises, black shards 

Pushing and pulling its way to me

I hear tunes of a lullaby in the distance 

As I see the color ivory floating in front of me 

The baby that is crying while its mother holds its mouth to feed 

The tears that are coming I feel 

The feeling of the wetness on my fingertips 

As I fall 

I fall into a space of nothingness

I am left with my thoughts 

The feeling of being alone is not what I needed 

I shouted HELP!

But nothing was heard 

I tasted the words on my tongue once again 

But this time it tasted sweet 

Like something was coming to rescue me from myself

A figure with a hand reached out and swung forward 

Reaching for mine it pulled me up 

While looking down I said, thank you 

Now with the taste of something bitter on my tongue 

As I slowly brough my head up 

I was surprised to see that the figure had vanished 

I began seeing colors of blue and gold 

A laugh is heard far out 

But I am unable to see it 

My thoughts began to race

Back and forth, back and forth 

Colors were being flung to me like a child jumping on a trampoline

Once again chaos had struck 

Loud sounds of blue were jumping  

While quiet sounds of purple were flying high 

The peaceful colors of yellow were setting on the ground

While red was flashing 

I closed my eyes hoping it would all disappear 

But to my surprise when I opened them

Something had changed