Key to Success [Teen Article]

teacherYessenia is a 17-year-old girl that enjoys investing in her future and knowledge. She plans to be a racecar driver and attend Williams college.

I came to the United States when I was thirteen years old, with an empty mind and a mom full of dreams. I was not scared to start all over again, the problem was I did not know how. The first day of school the kids were making fun of me because I didn’t know how to speak English, and I was starting to give up. My middle school teachers believed in me, and helped me on my way to High School. It was not until then, where I got to meet the person that changed my perspective, and proved to me that anything is possible. My English teacher Mark Campbell taught me that the real key to success is and would always be knowledge.

I graduated from Middle School with the best grades, and my English skills improved day by day. I was not scared of High School, instead I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to improve my writing skills and keep up with the hard work. My English class was the one I was most interested in. There was always something new to learn, and Mr. Campbell never hesitated to teach us all he knew. One day Mr. Campbell got very upset because some of the kids were laughing to what he was teaching and he decided to stop the class. He told us the way his father raised him and how stupidity and ignorance haunted his father. His father was a racist man, who never took the time to teach his children about life or college. Mr. Campbell felt ignorant and impotent. It was not until college where he took his life in a different direction.

College brought to him a new perspective of race, culture and, knowledge. Books provided him with different topics he never heard before, and his passion for learning opened doors for him. When he became an English teacher, kids became his passion and he promised himself he would not let us be ignorant because ignorance is the enemy. After that anecdote we all improved in such an impressive way. Some of us would spend hours with him talking about different issues going on around the world and on homework assignments. He encouraged many of us to be overachievers and to be scared of nothing, especially knowledge. He has become the founder of a new generation, he has taught me that even with poor English I can achieve the same opportunities as any other student.

It is a pleasure to now go back with him and talk to him about our accomplishments, and to ask him for advice because he is always there for us. I have gone far from my expectations thanks to him. He totally changed the way I used to think. Not that I thought poorly, only that I never really encouraged myself as much as I do now. Nobody ever believed in my capacity as much as he did and still does. He took the time to work out with me. Thanks to my knowledge, I have extended the my capacity of learning; I am not afraid to use my knowledge for the students benefits; I am not scared anymore to stand up and speak up for my beliefs, or to fight for a better future because we are it!

This is indeed the best advice I HAVE EVER received from someone. The one advice that has helped me gain the knowledge that I need, to be successful in life and to achieve my dreams. Parents, one advice that I would give you: never lose hope on your kids. For some of us it gets hard to learn as fast as others, but that does not mean that we do not have self-discipline. It only means we need you to be there for us, to show support in any way you can. This is my story, the most valuable advice ever given to me. Appreciate it, it may not be something big but it has changed lives including mine, and probably yours.


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One Response to “Key to Success [Teen Article]”

  1. Erika
    August 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    As much as I thought this article was honest and well written, I must disagree with the lesson the author is trying to express.

    Knowledge is important in being successful at schools,and certain careers; however, it is far from being the “key to success”. Memorizing facts, dates, and other information can only impress your teachers and make a mark on your report card. While those things are important, knowledge alone won’t make you successful at life. Some of the poorest homeless, most extreme addicts, top criminals, cruelest parents, mediocre neighbors, and the severest mentally ill people are geniuses*. They have the knowledge, but they don’t have the success. According to you, knowledge is key; but that is just not true in this world.

    Instead, what is needed are things that one cannot find in a textbook: empathy, compassion, tolerance, high self-esteem, confidence, good coping skills, problem solving abilities, and some good old common sense. Without these things, knowledge is worth nothing other than a good grade

    *I just had to make it clear that I think none of these people are bad or cruel. Addiction and mental illness personally run in my family, so I’ve seen how wonderful a person with these disadvantages can be. In addition, one of my dad’s friends is an ex-criminal, and he is the kindest man I have ever met. The homeless I have come in contact with are just the same – wonderful, giving, and caring.

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