How I Read

I’m not going to lie…reading was not really my thing. Obviously I would read for school but there were books that I would read on my own. It was mainly when I was younger. I know I know, shame on me.

For me it honestly depends on the series. In certain cases I prefer the movie and in certain cases I prefer the book. I can’t picture experiencing the Junie B. Jones Series through movies through movies. The books were the only reason I loved going to the library. I would checkout the first book and then. continue to go from book to book to book. I remember the excitement I would get and the worry I felt that the next book would already be checked out by someone else. I remember feeling so frustrated if that were the case. I would have to wait a whole other week. The eagerness was killing me.

The power that a good book holds is remarkable. You can’t wait to get the free time to just read. You think about it until you have your hands on it again. I remember this one book I can’t remember what book it was but I was in 8th grade and in every free moment or, “put your heads down or take something out to read when you’re done” I’d immediately pull it out. One the ride home I’d immediately take it out. I had grown attached to it. I can honestly say it taught me more life lessons in that time period than any teacher that year had throughout all of 8th grade.

I do have some pretty great experiences at different age levels with books and reading. Reading is apart of our every day lives…we read all the time. Every 5 seconds I catch myself looking up stories, facts, even random facts about animals( did you know that a frog can’t throw up because if it does, it throws up its entire stomach). It’s crazy what reading can do to your mind. It’s like a sponge, it just absorbs more and more sometimes it feels like you just let it all out unintentionally.

Like I said…crazy.

Human Question #1

In all honesty, thinking about one aspect in my life that affects me on a day to day basis was really difficult. I couldn’t think about anything until I began a deep thought process that almost made me late for work.

I decided to pick being a girl. Not only being a girl, but being a girl in a hispanic household.

There’s days where my schedule is packed and on days I have nothing planned, all I want to do is sleep and get some rest. However my family has this mindset that a girl should always be cleaning, cooking, and taking care of the little ones. They don’t expect this from my brothers. Not knowing how to cook a full course meal at 15 years old is a disgrace apparently. I remember once my brothers, cousin, and I had all finished eating. I was raised to pick up after myself so I call over my cousin and my brothers and tell them to pick up their plate at least.

My grandma yelled at me and said “you’re the girl you should clean up after them they don’t have to clean”. I was livid. My mom heard her and had an entire conversation about that because yes, my mom thankfully believes not only females should be the ones cooking and cleaning after these people. She absolutely hates misogyny. She grew up with it and knew it was wrong from day one.

On days I just want to rest, my dad says something like “cmon you’re a girl get up and clean do something” while my brothers are covered in filth not lifting up a finger. He has been easy on it lately because my mom was constantly on his ass about it so he’s changing for the better.

It’s still a struggle though. I can’t be in peace and haven’t been able to do things because I’m a girl and “you never know what can happen”.

Recommendation Letter

October 8th, 2020

(persons name)

Administratives Office

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC 27695

Dear ******, 

It is my greatest pleasure to write on behalf of Yelsy Aguilar. I have had the pleasure to have her as a part of my crew for over a year. I am a main manager at Burger King in Vailsgate, New Windsor NY 12553. She shows outstanding characteristics a person should have. This was her very first job as a junior. She was quiet and if I’m being honest, pretty lost at first. It’s expected at this point, but…she was always trying.

She has shown a tremendous amount of growth while at my store. We have made her a team leader with only a year into the job. She was always willing to try and work harder than anyone else there. She was my one man crew. Yelsy was always willing to work and came in when we needed her. She is a real team leader not only in the workplace but outside of that. It has come to my attention that she would also juggle school on top of the vigorous schedule at work. Not only that but she maintained a 4.0 gpa. 

We couldn’t be prouder of her. She always showed that work ethic that is so rare to find in people nowadays. She is our top worker which my colleagues and myself can prove. I believe she would be a great asset to your school. There is no doubt in my mind about that. She shows leadership, character, integrity, and courage in everything she does. It is a hard pill to swallow letting my best person go…but I know she is going to be spreading her wings to conquer the world. 

Sincerely,

Darren Farrell

Main Manager  

The Exit Interview

I don’t have family members that have gone to college. Some haven’t even made it to or past high school. I struggled trying to find the perfect candidate for this. I thought of my cousin Cindy. She’s a sophomore in college and that’s about as close as we are going to get. 

We used to be really close and we still are, just…people grow and go their separate ways. She knows I love her. This was honestly perfect for us because she said she’s been meaning to talk to me about college and life itself. So, killing two birds with one stone. 

I texted her on snapchat, I know typical teenage move. It was the only form of contact I had for her. I asked her if I could interview her for one of my classes and she said sure. She asked questions about the questions. She wanted to be prepared. 

Me: Okay so first question, what’s one thing or piece of advice you want me to take with me?

Cindy: friends don’t exist and always work hard for what you want

Me: the first part I kind of have an idea why lol and the second I also know…Why do you think we tend to lose focus on our dreams and find the easy way out for certain situations

Cindy: because we get lazy…plain and simple. We humans are an interesting species. We say we want the money, we say we want a certain outcome and get mad when it doesn’t happen after we didn’t move one finger. Some people think fairy god mother’s going to come and bippity boppity boo this shit and it automatically appears. 

Me:LMAO are there any methods or rituals you perform to regain focus that I could use?

Cindy: yeah…pray and look at a picture of your mom. Praying always helps me because I feel like god is very close to our family especially yours, I mean look at everything your family has been through. And I say your mom because damn, that woman works her ass off for you and your brothers. She wants to see you succeed in life and not struggle the way she does. 

Me: yeah my mom is really my biggest blessing. I can see why the whole mom picture works. What about school wise? What do you think would be the best thing to do when choosing a career path?

Cindy: Well we all know you want to be a pediatrician. You’ve been talking about it since you were 8. I mean every time we played dolls when we were little you’d always say your barbie was a doctor for kids. I admired that. You’ve always been so sure about what you wanted to be and always showed passion for that career. You also had a passion for law but not as much as becoming a doctor for kids. My advice is to continue to stick to what you’re passionate about. It’ll be best for you in the long run. Do something you love, not something others will love for you to do. 

Me: I love that…I think I have one more question. 

Cindy: go ahead

Me: do you think I’m ready?

Cindy: no…but you will be. You’re never truly ready for anything but you always make sure you are when the time comes. I wasn’t, I’ll tell you that. I was scared especially because I was the first in my family to go to college, you’re the first in yours but I gotchu. I won’t let you fall baby. Now I’m not saying you won’t fall in life…there will always be times you wanna give up, but I’ll be here. Never doubt that. So will everyone else. 

Me: ngl(not gonna lie freedman, that’s what it means), I’m scared. It’s scary to think that I’m a couple months away from the rest of my life. 

Cindy: I know, it’s okay to be scared. But don’t let that fear overcome you. You overcome your fear not the other way around. 

After this we began talking about personal topics. It led to an even longer conversation about us and my family. It’s been a while since we’ve had that. I really enjoyed having that conversation with my cousin. It might’ve been a school assignment but it led to an even bigger conversation about ourselves. Her words stuck to me. I don’t know if they’ll ever leave. I loved hearing that my hard work is actually noticed. It’s a conversation I really needed. 

Thanks Freedman…

The Beginning of the End

When I ask myself where my academic life began I immediately think back to third grade. That’s where I remember receiving 0-100 instead of 0-4 which I think makes more sense. My third grade teachers name was Mr.Green and he was one of my favorites. That year I began receiving awards like Honor Roll and High Honor Roll. There was this other award title, bucket filler but that was just acts of kindness being recognized.

It is important to be a kind person which they always made sure we knew right from wrong but my school never let good grades be left in the shadows. There would be ceremonies for these kinds of things and I remember seeing the smile on my family’s faces and I just knew I loved making them happy. I would work extra hard to keep that up. It was something I knew I had complete control of in my crazy unpredictable life.

A few years passed and then comes my freshman year…my very first year of high school. At first I thought wow this is pretty great I’m in high school these are gonna be the best years of my life but its going to take forever.

Yeah I was wrong…

These past four years went by faster than I was told. Freshman year we had these interviews with the seniors then and my senior told me “enjoy life, stay focused. Enjoy it while you have it because these next four years are gonna go by fast not too fast, but fast”. I feel like I turned 15, blinked, and became a senior.

As a person I changed a lot. Before I guess you can say I was fragile and nice, a little too nice. I cared about a lot of opinions about me and I forgave EVERYTHING. I would put my feelings aside to make others happy even if it meant I would hurt in the end.

Eventually that changed. I would say that change happened junior year. I seemed happier, relaxed, and smarter. I had one of those moments where you look back at your lowest points and your highest and begin to think about the impact it made on you. I no longer cared about others opinions and I put myself first in any and every situation because if I didn’t…who would?

I’m still in the process of preparing for the rest of my life. I know for a fact that I am not ready at least not yet.

I know where I want to be in the future, what I wanna do…all of it I guess you can say.

I’m just not fully prepared to get there yet…baby steps though.

The whole pandemic definitely was a curve ball thrown at me. I was completely thrown off. But in a way it helped me sit back and think. There was plenty of that to do. It’s all I ever could do. I honestly did benefit from it though. It helped me realize how hard I have to work for what I want and how badly I want it.

My grind is my main focus and I don’t plan on letting anyone or anything get in the way of that.

We Need the Tonic of Wildness

    I have been in so many places but they were all close to my area. I’ve only left the state to go to North Carolina for a couple summers. It was always the same town and the same house. Always the same stores and the same activities. 

I can only say I’ve really loved one place and that wasn’t even in North Carolina. 

Lake Taghkanic state park.

I only experienced this once and I will always remember that one moment…

    My mom and I were sitting on the beach…we just finished drying off. Our hair was still wet just enough to feel the droplets run down our backs. The sun was about to set and mostly everyone was already gone. 

    We were sitting there listening to the sound of the waves hitting against the shore as we sunk our feet into the cool sand. We were able to see the sun slowly going down. The beautiful blue and purple colors with a dash of yellow. The cold summer breeze hitting our faces. 

    We didn’t talk. We just finished a conversation about my little brother and then we just stopped. It seemed like the whole world stopped. It was quiet and calm. The people around us were absorbing the beauty of nature along with us without even realizing we were doing it together. 

    I took deep breaths…soon I heard my mom do the same. 

I never felt more at peace. 

    We were just there, sitting there silently so nature could roar so loudly. 

What I Must Do

I am a very observant person at times. I tend to watch others and what they do. Sometimes it’s not even on purpose. 

I pay close attention to the things they do and the things they say. 

A lot of people…and I mean a lot, change who they are depending on who’s around. Their body language, the way they talk, and what they say. Everyone wants to be liked by certain people and different groups of friends. The only disappointing fact is that not everyone’s the same. So when you try to fit in with different people, you change yourself. I’ve noticed that people are more careful about what they say around others. How you joke around with one friend can hurt another. It’s how you joke around but you change your sense of humor for others. 

You are you and you shouldn’t have to change yourself for others. 

There have been times before that I would adjust to a friend group so I wouldn’t be such an outsider. I realized that we do these things to fit in. Sometimes when you change yourself for others it’s because you feel like an outsider. I quickly began to realize that fitting in was boring. It was a way to try to avoid our insecurities. Whatever we didn’t like we would change. In most cases those things would be certain characteristics that others wouldn’t have. 

It was exhausting trying to fit in. I learned to love myself and not worry about what others would think. 

Those “flaws” I thought I had made me, me. 

Sooner or later one will realize that it’s okay to be an outsider. It’s okay to stand out. 

Sometimes fitting in is boring. 

Hobgoblin

Every child goes through that phase of being able to believe everything you hear. 

They have no care in the world and don’t have to worry about anything. 

However, around the age of seven I became a mini adult. 

My family went through a life changing experience that affected all of us. I was only six years old and it has been the most traumatic experience I’ve had. I began losing interest in the things little kids are expected to get excited about. Ice cream…well it was just ice cream and a birthday was just a birthday. Of course I did still get excited at least a little but those things just didn’t matter to me as much as they would. 

Instead I worried if I was doing enough to help my mother around the house. I had to make sure I got up on time to dress myself and my siblings up before school while my mom was at work. She would go in at 5 and I’d have to be awake by 6:40 to get everything together and walk my siblings next door to my uncle’s house so I  walk downhill to make it on time for my bus. You don’t expect those kinds of things from a seven year old. 

I was always conscious about when and where I could cry about how much I missed my father. I knew I couldn’t do it around my siblings because whatever move I made they would want to do it too. Even mentioning our dad would make them sad. My mom was the person I was most worried about. She had to deal with so much on her own I had to find ways to make her life less difficult. Dealing with 3 crying kids and 2 step kids was not easy for her. I knew I had to do something so around the age of seven…I began to act much older. I knew there were logical explanations to everything. 

Things changed for me…I changed. 

Almost ten years later I began to change again. 

My father returned and I learned that the great things in life can be taken from you at any moment. I learned to cherish the little things as much as the big things. So much can happen in very little time depending on the kind of person you are. 

I know that I can’t be afraid to do certain things. I have to try new things and experience new things. I love changing my mind and changing it again. Nothing is permanent so I know it’ll be worth a shot. 

Surprises can be extremely fun. Sometimes living life without a plan is such an amazing feeling. 

Change doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Sometimes change is all you need to be a better you. 

Gen Z

Gen z, is expected to be and is one of the best generations. 

Technology has advanced within our times in so many ways. I admit, that work has been done by the previous generations but Gen Z is on its way up to advance it even more. Technology is used in everyday life but what the previous generations haven’t been able to find…are ways to advance, without damaging our environment. The more work these generations are putting, the more we realize how much pollution is being put into our earth. 

Our generation is relied on for technology and how it works. There’s not a time that goes by where I’m with my grandparents and they don’t ask me something about their phone. Any technology problems, they call me. They have my mom, my dad, my uncle, etc. but they choose to call me. My parents even come to me for technological issues. 

Now, I’m aware that one’s intelligence has to do with some of it. But, our generation grew up with technology and right at the moment it began to uprise. 

There is so much to do and so many things to upgrade. Everyone depends on our generation to “save the world” from all pollution. We’re expected to find environment friendly technology. The generation before us are the reason why we have these environmental issues. The generation after us are too focused on their plastic lives and what technology portrays to be as “fun” and “real”. 

We by far are the generation everyone expects the most from. We haven’t given them a reason to doubt. 

There is so much to be done and Gen Z is getting to work. 

Last Meal

The very last meal in this life is a very difficult decision to make. There are so many different flavors and so many different cultures to choose from. 

I would absolutely love to have the kind of buffet my family sets up for family parties. All the food down to the guacamole, green, and red salsa is made by my mother and grandmother. The buffet holds arroz con gandules, pernil, baked ziti, adobo verde, mole, potato salad, and regular salad. My grandma always sets aside a tray of buffalo wings for her grandkids that are very picky. 

I am not picky but I always grab a couple to start off with. She doesn’t make them herself…they’re straight out the bag from walmart and she puts them in the oven. They still taste so good. 

After a couple of those I’d move onto actual food. I would serve myself arroz filling up one third of my plate, pernil taking up another third, and baked ziti taking up that last third of my plate. I would place my grandmas guacamole on the side that has the pernil…not on top. I don’t ever place it on top for some reason. 

I’d grab a small plate and only grab the lettuce and cucumbers from the salad. That’s all I really eat from salads. My mom and my grandma used to always tell me to eat everything but I never would so they got used to it. Now whenever they see me serve myself they laugh. 

Eating my very last meal I could only imagine myself in a little hut in Bora Bora. I’m surrounded by the clear blue water when the sun is starting to set. My best friend would be with me. The bond we have is irreplaceable and so special. We both have a desire and need to go to Bora Bora. 

Looking out at the clear crystal blue water in Bora Bora, eating my favorite foods; that never fails to make me feel at home, with my favorite person sounds like an absolute dream.