Spring 2006: Making Sense of This Journey

While most of these essays reflect the students' experiences and knowledge, three were written in response to viewing two documentaries on art cars, Harrod Blank's Wild Wheels and Driving the Dream. Students competed to write the best informative essay on the documentaries, and I chose to include three of the best here, Karen C's "Why in the World Would You Do That?," Norris R's "Once Upon an Art Car," and Brandi L's "Expression Through Cars."

Brandon M., "Education Abroad"

When I returned home from Afghanistan, I took some time off to relax for a while. After a few months I decided to get a job that I liked rather than needed and start my college career. I am now attending CTC to start the process of achieving Psychology and Business Administration degrees. Psychology is a favorite subject of mine, and possibly a field I would like to work in some day. The Business Administration degree will help me to better manage my newly formed company, and hopefully allow me to succeed in starting other businesses as well. I enjoy writing stories, poems, and essays, and I believe that each time I write something I get a little better at it. Over the course of Spring 2006, I have been trying to add more detail into my writing instead of my usual to-the-point style. Hopefully my writing will be more entertaining to those who read it, and they can grasp my experiences more through my description and detail.

Latonia M., "A Chip Off A Few Old Blocks"

I am a 29 year old, single mother of two. I'm attending CTC in attempt to get an associate degree in Sociology. I hope to later go on to get my master's degree in Sociology with a minor in Business Management. I started out with a degree in General Studies with hopes of it going towards a degree in Nursing. I have now decided that I want to help people in a different way. I want to one day open "Broken Vessels Empowerment Center." It will be the first of its kind. It will be based on the same standards as the military. My clients will live, work, and educate themselves in pretty much the same environment. This will be a program for single and low income parents. The BVEC has been a dream of mine for years and I feel that Sociology will help me in my quest to achieve this goal. People are very important to me, especially women. I think, as women, we fail to tap into our full potential, for whatever reasons.

Even before taking this class, I have loved writing. I have been writing fiction for about five years. I really hadn't sat down and wrote about the personal things that I feel, at least not for other people to read. I want to one day publish books. I have grown in my writing. I have learned to express myself more deeply in my personal writing. Writing has always been an outlet for me. It has been a way to escape this world and create worlds of my own. I can make characters and make them do anything I want them to. Writing is very therapeutic.

Francisco F., "A Lifetime Away from Here"

It has been my goal to achieve a bachelor's degree in the field of agriculture and continue to do what my family has done for the past several generations. My grandfather's main profession was an agriculturist in Mexico and he taught my father what he knows. My father immigrated to the U.S. and he continued to advance his knowledge in the agriculture field by working as a foreman of a ranch in central Texas. While I was growing up I worked with my father and I learned everything I know from him. I have decided to take it one step further and receive a bachelor's degree in the field of agriculture and maybe one day own a feed store. At a feed store I will provide feed, feed supplements, and medication for livestock. After taking this freshman English class I believe that my writing has improved a great deal. Now when I write I think about things more thoroughly and take my time. Not only in writing do I think more, but in everyday things. I tend to daydream or think more about things that around me. Whether I'm thinking about a dent in a car and wondering how it got there or thinking about things in the past and how I could have changed the outcome of a situation by handling it differently.

Rhea A., "Being a Female in Iraq"

I am a typical twenty-three year old college girl who isn't sure what I want to be when I grow up. I was brought to Killeen, Texas, four years ago by the US ARMY. I served my four years as a combat photographer and proudly served in Iraq. I am not saying that I agree or disagree with why we are over there; but I took my job seriously and had a lot of pride in what I did. While I was in I decided that I wanted to be a physical therapist. I am a big hearted person who thrives on helping others. When my time was up I applied to CTC and started massage therapy school. I wanted a good job that was related to my future field, while attending school. I soon realized that I did not enjoy touching strange naked people, so I withdrew. While I was still going to CTC, I thought about getting into real estate. I enrolled in school, finished, and I am now waiting to take my licensing exam.

I do not know if I still want to do physical therapy or not, but until I decide I am going to stay in school. I figure it is always good to have something to fall back on. If I do stick with physical therapy I will finish my associates at CTC, transfer to Tarleton State University, and continue on to get my master's in either San Marcos or San Antonio.

Marie W., "The Never Ending Journey"

"Before beginning a Hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it." ~Winnie-the-Pooh

I originally started to attend Central Texas College to pursue a career in nursing so that I could better care for my mother. When she died I was heading for the home stretch of my nursing degree. I realized nursing was not the career path I actually wanted, so I took a year and a half off from school to gather my thoughts. After realizing I was now an orphan, I enrolled in The Judy Garland School of Dysfunction where I'm positive had there been an actual ceremony I would have most certainly achieved Salutatorian status. With the help of a lot of Godiva Chocolate I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and dealt with what was to come next. I decided that this was the perfect time for me to pursue the career I had wanted the first time I was in college, when I was a starry eyed teenager who believed I could change the world. Instead, I followed a career path I felt my family would want me to take. I am now on my way towards achieving my goal for a Bachelors degree in Psychology. I don't know where it will take me, but I look forward to the journey.

Trilby O., "Tragedy to Triumph"

I am currently a student at Central Texas College to obtain an associate's degree in nursing. My essay "Tragedy to Triumph" is my story of what led me to come to CTC. My first semester included the English 1301 course with Ms. Dugat-Greene and I am very glad that I chose her class. In the beginning of the course I was writing what I thought was a fairly good essay, but after her guidance I ended up with a much better essay. I learned to use stronger and more expressive language and I believe this will help me in my nursing career by opening my mind to more creative communication.

Ruth J., "Beautiful Memories"

I am currently attending Central Texas College in the hopes of gaining a degree in Education. I am a third semester freshman (if there is a such thing). I decided to attend CTC after leaving the United States Army. I was stationed here in Killeen for the last four years, and decided to stick around. It's been an easy transition from soldier to student and I pray that it continues that way as I continue to pursue my degree. I think that my writing has really changed for the better this year. I have learned to take my time, and give my readers the visions that are in my head when I write. For example, with this revised essay I wrote what I really see when I go home. I tried to describe the sounds and the way I feel when I hear them.

Juliet C., "The Unknown Epidemic"

My goal as a student at Central Texas College is to be successful in all my classes and to graduate with a degree in business administration. The reason why I am attending CTC is that is affordable. I have put off going to college because I am a mother and a wife and I knew that I would not be successful being all three at the same time. My children are much older now so I can now follow my dreams. My goal for the future is to get a bachelor's degree in accounting at Tarleton and to be a better writer. I still have a lot to learn about writing; it is an ongoing process.

Brandi L., "A McMess" and "Expression through Cars"

I have been through a lot of hardships throughout my life. I have been working unfulfilling jobs since I was sixteen years old. I try to look at the positive side of my situation, however. If working can financially assist my college education, I am more than willing to endure it. I am currently attending CTC to obtain a degree in business administration and I aspire to one day be a successful marketing agent.

My composition class is greatly preparing me for my future. Language and grammar are a major part of our everyday lives. With this class I have learned to elaborate my ideas, present a clear thesis, and spot grammatical errors.

Hoi-yan ("Phyllis"), "Coming to the United States to Change My Life"

I am an international student. The reason I am here is really funny. It has to start from summer in 2004. Since I have decided to come to the United States for study, I have never imagined I would come to Killeen. I have never thought and heard about Killeen, this tiny town, before I came here. When I applied, I filled in a wrong form, so I am here. I should be in Canada now. Lucky, I put the wrong form, but I went to a right place.

My major is hospitality, about hotel management. I want to be a hotel manager; I want to know more people [who] come from different countries. I want to learn their culture. I understood it will be a long run for me. I bear on it. I think I improve a lot on my writing, I learned from many mistakes. I tried to use those skills to revise my essay. I learn to use the metaphorical language to make the essay become more funny and interesting.

Melissa S., "My Wonderful Job"

This semester I have learned a great deal about my writing, as well as about myself. Through learning to write to express myself I have worked through many personal problems. The first essay I wrote this semester was one about several big mistakes I have made in my life, and how I have learned from them. As this semester has progressed I have learned even more through them. I am thankful from Mrs. Dugat-Greene's teaching me how to write effectively, and with power. I feel as if I can now write from my heart, and relay the meaning, power and beauty of what I really feel.

The essay "My Wonderful Job" is an expression of personal happenings at my job. Since this paper was originally written, we are no longer allowed to sell to Mr. John Potter [Name changed to protect the innocent]. He has been charged several times for public intoxication, and is now known as a habitual drunkard. The last I heard he was still in the hospital from an epileptic seizure triggered from alcohol poisoning. The owner of the liquor store where I worked [recently] passed away, and is greatly missed by many. My manager was forced to leave our business due to her health. Both of these people are greatly missed around the store.

Chung-Yau (Jacob), "Learning by Doing, My Experience of Being an International Student in the U.S."

I am Chung-Yau, or you can call me Jake. I came from Hong Kong and [am] studying the core subjects for my bachelor degree. My major is Economics. I am going to transfer to a university to continue my study. Hopefully UT would enroll me for next year spring.

In my revised essay, I tried to develop everything within the topic. Language is mysterious that it's not easy to find something in common between two different and well-established languages. For me, the best way to understand a new vocabulary is to define it in English. I like to live in America so far and hopefully I could learn something from the American lifestyles and values. I hope you would like my essay.

Robert M., "It's a Cramped Closet, and Getting Smaller"

I was born in Ft. Lewis, Washington. The first few years of my life were spent traveling around with my military family--not that I remember any of it. I moved to Killeen, Texas, at the age of 3 and have lived in the same house for the past 16 years. While my family was always very open, I've turned out to be the most introverted of the bunch. My biggest ambition at the moment is to move somewhere far away from Killeen, Texas. Although I love Texas, I just hate the majority of its resident voting population. Although, in my personal opinion, my life has begun to resemble a pool of stagnant water, I realize I am luckier than most and appreciate the good fortune I have been allowed. I am most proud of my music collection of 5,188 songs and growing. . . . Although I'm not sure what direction my life is going in, I'm optimistic about my future.

Dolbe Wayfair, "More Than Meets the Eye"

Note: "Dolbe Wayfair" is the chosen pseudonym of the writer.

This is the beginning of my third year in College at CTC. I have changed my goals for what I want to be three times as well. My goal as of this moment is to become a counselor to children in middle school and high school. I enjoy listening to the problems people have and helping them to figure out what they need to do to fix the problem.

My writing has suffered in so many ways over the years. This class has called to my attention the faults I have when it comes to writing. I have to look much closer at the papers I write to make sure that I don't make the same errors again. I have taken a closer look at this paper and have realized more of the mistakes I have made in my writing. The things I have learned in this class will help me [through] the rest of my classes; as well as [through] the rest of my life.

Edward L., "'Thank you': But How Thankful Are You"

As I continue my education at Central Texas College what I want the most is to escape this life of running from job to job with no security. I have worked at so many different places since I was 16 years old and none of them offered any security or long-term possibility. I want to be able to get a home for my self without worrying about the favoritism that I am dealing with at my current place of residence with my father. Basically, I want a future that doesn't fade or dim. Now as far as my writing goes, I have learn[ed] many different ways to strengthen my writing without overcrowding it or straying from my subject. I learned it was easier for me to write on topics that [I] know something about or that I went through coming up from a child.

Kenneth V., Puerto Rico, "La Isla de Encanto"

I came to CTC to find what I wanted to major in; I knew that I wanted to work with computers but did not know in which field. Right now I am enrolled in the Communication Electronic Technology, which is working on the hardware components of the computers. I also came to CTC to get a grasp on what college level courses would feel like.

As a student of Professor Dugat-Greene I have learned many terms and rules for correctly writing an English paper. I believe that my first few essays were filled with many errors, that I was unaware of making. As class progressed I soon understood what was wrong with certain sentences as well as how to correct those mistakes.

Karen C., "Why in the World Would You Do That?"

I enjoyed writing this paper partially because the subject [art cars] was new and interesting to me and also because I could spend time with my daughter while still accomplishing my schoolwork. My pride and joys in life are my family and spending time with them often takes a back seat when I have schoolwork or other things that have to get done.

I expect to graduate this May with my Associates in Business Management and then, of course, continue my education. I love to learn and apply that knowledge to my real life if possible. I am currently the President of the CTC Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) team and the Delta Epsilon Chi (DEX) team here on campus and enjoy doing work with both of those organizations. I recently went to competition for both groups and did well with each.

I highly recommend that as you read my paper you think about what statement you would make if you were given a car as a blank canvas for all the world to see. I still am not sure what I would say with my art car, but I would want it to be colorful and organized and I would like for it to be self-explanatory.

Norris R., "Once Upon an Art Car"