Source: Deep Learning on Medium
Attentiveness has never been one of my keen pursuits. I would ABSOLUTELY never pride myself or be known as the person who made the most observations, or the one who focused well enough in things like a biology experiment or crime scene at the Tiger Woods Learning Lab. This truly was a struggle and obstacle I had to face all throughout my academic career and childhood, one suitable instance occurring on the very first day of school. Mr. Ziebarth assigned my classmates and I to write a quick diary about several things we have seen, heard, and experienced, which absolutely left me stumped and unable to recall something that seemed so simple. The quality of being vigilant is a major component to my future that will determine how well I understand certain things, gain a greater perspective, and respond to challenges that lie ahead. My path towards growing my analytical and observational skills was planted then, and has now blossomed through activities like SQUIDD cards, class discussions, meeting Gustavo Arellano, etc.
Compared to first semester, Mr. Ziebarth implemented many more collaborative activities that allowed me and the class to think deeper and learn from one another. Unlike independently identifying morphemes or creating SQUIDD cards that would be directly given to the teacher, the class and I had our own large discussions about novels, created memes that we would all look back at, and confer about our own research. One specific time that helped me vastly improve my analytical skills was during our reading of The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In the story, the narrator Nick Carraway enters a whole new world, the West and East Egg where society strongly differs, and he views everybody’s situation from an outsider and unbiased perspective. As the story progresses, certain events will stimulate his beliefs and opinions; however, he still remains keen and flexible, allowing for the audience to also see and understand views from other characters. Jay Gatsby, the main character and spotlight of Nick’s narration, builds a wealthy empire for himself with high hopes of reuniting with his past lover, Daisy Buchanan. Throughout the novel, there is a great amount of drama and tension, yet as an audience, I was able to see why certain events had fallen into play from Gatsby’s, Daisy’s, and Nick’s point of view. To exemplify, Gatsby tended to throw large parties, but while one may have had sincere intent to gain her attention, another person may have saw it as an excessive maneuver to pursue someone unrighteously. Nevertheless, it was the minor details and different viewpoints that required more attention and would lead readers to see what is going on and truly grasp the book’s concept. To the side, a tweet from class is depicted with a meme I created in regards to Gatsby’s situation. With this unique exercise, Mr. Z provided me with an intriguing way of expressing my ideas through media and somewhat art. I believed that deep within the text and Gatsby’s character, there was a strong superficiality where his qualities never truly connected with anyone besides possibly Nick. This idea cannot be easily discovered throughout the book because so many people have built up Gatsby’s name and he definitely holds quite a high reputation. However, even though people tried to get to know Gatsby for an invite to his house and the sake of knowing him, they still never gravitated to his character enough, and no one bothered to show up to his funeral.
While I did discover so many new trails and interpretations of The Great Gatsby, my reading check grades were nowhere near corresponding to what I had been perceiving the book as AT ALL. I got a flat 0 on my quiz despite the fact that I read the chapter assigned, looked at extra online summaries to clear areas of confusion, watched the crash course analysis, and that the assessment was open-book. I was absolutely defeated and had the worst lingering question in my head: how slow and dense of a person must I be in order to fail such a fair quiz? It was a straining feeling, but I drew my attention towards what I may have been doing wrong and reread the chapter. So much information is provided in a sheet of paper, and the world is full of so many components that many things have the ability to go unnoticed. Without a doubt, I knew what was going on in the story and lied on the surface, but I failed to see the change in tone/mood, how one event had a symbolic meaning, the way several situations combined for a deeper cause, and the impact of a certain character. Growing from this, I learned that I must keep pushing my lengths and seize each little idea, attribute or feature of everything in life. Beyond paying more attention to how Jay Gatsby might be perceived in the West and East Egg, I applied this to college and my future.
Initially, I simply wanted to get into a good school and do whatever it took to become successful. I heard the University of California, Santa Barbara, was a good school and medicine is a stable career; so, let’s just aim for that! I was not even sure if medicine was truly the right choice, but this impulsive and naive judgement was before Mr. Ziebarth assigned the college and career project, and before I truly dedicated attention to my future. While working on the college and career assignment, I took several hours to analyze myself and determine what I wanted to be based off of my interests, the little things I enjoyed most about life, natural skills that I possess, etc. Raw and straightforward, chemistry was absolutely the WORST for me. I was looking into the medicine field even though I passionately hated chemistry and was not so fond of biology all because it seemed like the “right” thing. Ultimately, I discovered my passion in business and how I strongly desire a job that I will enjoy, specifically one that combines my creative marketing abilities, leadership qualities in management and entrepreneurship, technological skills for today’s advancements, and coordination for planning. In order to get anywhere near my dreams, I found out that the University of California, Berkeley, or the University of California, Irvine, were much more fitting choices. Although UCSB is a good school, Cal and UCI had greater emphasis on my field of business and more extensive programs that catch my interest, all of which I researched and expanded my knowledge of. There was so much I did not know or understand before taking Mr. Ziebarth’s class, but I was able to implement his teachings on some of the most important factors of my life, paying deeper attention to life, school, and myself in order to reach the best final destination.
In a less academically related instance, I used my new attentive skills and earned knowledge from class to make a large decision: whether or not I should get a Mazda RX-8. With school there comes balance, and my sanctuary lies in my interests for cars. Originally, I had spent hours going through sites and apps to find a car, primarily focusing only on the mileage, manufacturer, transmission, and price. I was attentive enough to ensure that I would not be stuck stick shifting everyday; however, I was not aware of the engine’s reliability or people’s experiences with the car. One fateful day, I found a beautiful, white sports car with a mileage under 50,000 and for $8000. It was the Mazda RX-8 and had everything I thought I wanted: an automatic transmission, white exterior, leather seating, and, most importantly, TWO DOORS! I believed I had found the one and that I applied all of my analytical skills into discovering the most of this vehicle, but it turns out that I was not aware of any of its downfalls. I was lucky enough to realize my lack of attention and to quickly review this car, discovering that its engine is well known for failing often and flooding easily, the coils do not last long, it has a low mileage lifespan, etc. Without being able to address these problems and be more thorough with my research, I would have wasted over eight grand and experienced a variety of problems with the car later on, making me extremely grateful now.
Overall, my big takeaway this semester was my new and improved attentiveness. Mr. Ziebarth provided me with a full year of learning how to read deeper between the lines, and I applied that to matters beyond school and my english class. As mentioned before, I am not the person that people perceive as the most focused or perceptive. I failed reading checks and missed many ideas in reading pieces (i.e. The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Gatsby) due to that inability, but I still continue to live past and work at it. Those skills expand everyday and with persistence and perseverance, eventually I will truly be the most vigilant and watchful person ever. Until then, I would like to acknowledge and thank Mr. Z for helping me to build greater characteristics for college in 2020, discover my passions, prevent massive mistakes, decide on my ideal colleges, and view everything in a deeper way.