Fund of Writing II

Narrative Writings

Of Rabbits and Snakes

Rod Gnerer

The biggest risk I ever took was on Mother’s Day 1993. My wife and I had just finished cleaning up after a delicious dinner and a Mother’s Day cake decorated by our four daughters. It was a bright, sunny day in Northeast Texas. At that time, we were living on a twenty acre hobby farm. I decided to take a walk out to check on the animals: rabbits, chickens, and baby calves. The distance across the pasture was about a football field in length. The sun was shining bright and hot as I headed toward the barn. I entered the barn and headed towards the rabbit cages, and to my horror, I saw a huge, black snake coiled up in one of the cages! The snake was viciously biting at the mother rabbit while constricting one of the tiny helpless babies in his grasp. My first thought was to get a weapon, so in a panic I ran back across the pasture to get my 20 gauge shotgun. I told my wife to come quick and the kids to stay inside. As we ran back to the barn, I determined that it would be too risky to shoot into the rabbit cage, so I sat the gun down and grabbed a pitchfork. After using it to unlatch the cage, I was able to get in position and after several attempts, was able to stab the snake about a half of a foot down from the head. He was not giving up easily. As I was pulling his heavy body from the cage, he used his instincts and released the now dead baby. Then, fast as lightening, he coiled around a second live baby. Fighting against his incredible strength, I managed to stab the pitchfork into the ground, pinning the snake underneath. Thinking the snake was securely pinned, my wife grabbed his body in an attempt to release the squealing baby from his grasp. In this attempt and upon the baby being released, the snake immediately coiled his long, thick, massive body around my wife’s forearm and pushed the fork lose from the ground. His strength was incredible. Engaging all my strength, I was able to lunge the fork deeper into the ground, twisting as I did, until at last, I could feel his strength weakening as he was subdued and took his final breaths. My wife was finally able to release his body from constricting her arm. The second baby survived the ordeal, my wife’s arm was not crushed, and I had managed to put an end to this incredible fight between man and nature. The snake measured an amazing five feet in length. When you live in an area that harbors poisonous snakes, you can never be too careful. Luckily, this snake wasn’t poisonous. That day, I took a risk that thankfully paid off.


Senseless Acts of Crime

Brook Johnson


Standing at the back of the little white church, I became consumed with anger. My friend Jason, who I had known for ten years, lay in a beautiful black shiny casket. His face was as white as the shirt he wore. The gold cross around his neck was one I had seen him wear a thousand times. Just to the left of his casket stood his mother; her eyes were red and swollen. She held a wad of Kleenex in her left hand. Although she was surrounded by family and friends, she looked so alone. Her only child had been taken from her violently at the age of twenty-two. Jason had been murdered. One night while Jason was sleeping on his girlfriend Cindy’s couch, her ex-boyfriend Chris showed up. A fight between Jason and Chris began. Chris grabbed a steak knife off of the kitchen counter and stabbed Jason in the neck. He hit an artery and Jason was gone before the paramedics even arrived. Chris made the worst and most selfish decision of his life: he took a life and lost his all in the same moment. He will spend the rest of his life in prison. Jason’s mother will miss so much because of the choice Chris has made: She will never get a chance to hug her baby boy again, to dance at his wedding, or to hold her grandchild. No one has the right to take another’s life. This was a senseless crime that should have never happened.



My Greatest Achievement

Ben Steidl


In my twenty-three years there has been one reoccurring issue that has caused strain on every part of my life.  The issue I am referring to is addiction.  I have been fully addicted to drugs for almost ten years now.  I began drinking and smoking weed before I was even a teenager.  By the time I hit middle school, I was using hard drugs on daily basis, and my life was slowly deteriorating.  I was becoming a person that I didn’t care to be.  After much sweat and blood, I am finally clean and sober.  I can say with complete confidence that overcoming addiction has been my greatest achievement.

Living in active addiction was hell.  I was always dreading withdrawal and bordering on insanity.  When I was in high school, I overdosed on a mixture of opiates and benzodiazepines in class.  I woke up in the hospital and later found out that I had been charged with third-degree possession.  When I was unconscious, the cops searched me and found oxycontin.  The judge made me do some in time in juvenile detention, but then I was forced into my first inpatient treatment program.  Sadly, I had not suffered enough to stop using drugs.  Over the next few years I lost every job I’d ever had due to addiction.  I wouldn’t show up for work because I had warrants out for my arrest, and when the cops showed up looking for me, I was never allowed back.  I was also locked up for a year in Bemidji when I was seventeen because I got caught faking a urine analysis.  I’ve spent years away from my family and caused them immeasurable amounts of emotional pain.  The paranoia and guilt began to overwhelm me.  I knew that I could no longer live with such intense feelings of desperation.

At age twenty my frivolous attempts at rebellion were over.  I realized I needed help.  I truly hated the person that I had become.  I no longer could hurt my family, or myself, by painfully killing myself with drugs.  For the first time I knew that I had to stay sober, but I still had much to learn.  My first mistake was hanging out with people I had used drugs within the past.  I had stayed sober for ninety days and was feeling great when I started hanging out with an old buddy. Before I could blink, I was back into it harder than ever. I was wanted by the cops for a probation violation and a series of less serious offenses.  I turned myself in, and after a few months in jail, put myself directly back into treatment.  I had graduated treatment and things were stupendous; I had been clean for six months, had a good job, I was enrolled in school, and had a very supportive network of friends.  Soon after, I had the notion that since I was a drug addict and not an alcoholic, that I could handle drinking. My logic was faulty, but I learned a valuable lesson.  In less than a month I had lost my job, left school, and fell back into a drug induced depression.  After relapsing for three months I pulled myself up and got back into treatment.

I walked into treatment for the last time fifty pounds underweight and ready to do anything to remain sober.  I was beaten down and deathly afraid of ever getting high again.  I learned from counselors and fellow addicts that through hard work and determination, I could live a drug-free life.  I began attending narcotic anonymous meetings and putting real effort into my recovery.  Spirituality is the key to my recovery today.  I have learned to be aware of my feelings and the feelings of others.  I now engage in activities that make me feel good about myself, such as attending church and working out daily.  For the first time in my life, I am truly happy.  I have my own apartment and have a great relationship with my family, two things I never thought would happen.

I do not regret the fact that I am an addict.  It has caused me to take a deep look at myself.  I now evaluate my behaviors and motivations on daily basis in an effort to remain sober.  I have met the most interesting people and now have the best friends in world, all due to my addiction.  It can be overwhelming sometimes, and I do have struggles, but I know that if I continue to work a spiritual program of recovery, I will stay sober.  I’m a better-rounded individual with goals and aspirations now. I’m even in a functional relationship with girl. By the grace of God and the help of others, I have managed to be absolutely clean and sober for almost two years straight!

Description and Classification Writings


Venice Beach

Josh Bolen

I sat on my longboard in the sand on Venice Beach near Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, California on the 4th of July, 2010.  This was my favorite place.  As I rested with Uyen and Zep on the beach and observed the world, the Pacific Ocean glowed while the moonlight bounced off the waves.  With its strange odor of dead fish, the waves crashed and smashed against the sand.  A family screamed in fun as they fought against the monstrous waves and were thrown back onto the beach.  Brightly colored beach balls were being bounced and thrown within a sea of fake, orange tans.  Food stands were scattered around the beach and boardwalk.  A pungent aroma of deep fried goodness lingered in the air.  Santa Monica Pier lit up the night sky with its towering blue, red, purple and green lights.  The night almost turned into day with all the lights.  As Zep, Uyen, and I sat on the beach, fireworks erupted around us in bright green and red colors.  The fireworks crackled and popped with excitement, their vibrant colors ricocheted and reflected off the ocean.  Uyen wrapped her arm around me and gave me a kiss.  A thick smoke lingered over the water and beach and filled my nostrils with an almost gunpowder-like scent.  The night had come to an end, but I would do anything to get back to my favorite place.




Spirit Mountain

Spencer Wilenius

A seat on the stopped chairlift at Spirit Mountain in Duluth, MN was a terrific place to rest. As I sat on the hard plastic seat of the chairlift, a gust of wind stung my face. My thighs burned slightly from being at the hill all day. A single child raced down the hill in a near perfect line. As if they followed an invisible road, a dozen skiers snaked back and forth across the hill. A snowboarder launched off a jump to complete a 360 turn, and the skier behind him performed a backflip. The smell of greasy curly fries from the chalet drifted to my nose while my stomach growled for food. My fingers felt cold as I rubbed them together. After snow exploded from the ground where a snowboarder fell, a light flickered on next to me as the sun sank below the horizon. The clank of the safety bar swung in a stiff wind and awakened my ears. The buzz of a snowmobile was in the distance while laughter from the bar in the chalet beckoned me to join in. A shiver raced up my spine as a snowboarder slid across a sheet of ice. As the wind whistled past my ears, a cloud of snowmobile exhaust attacked my nose. The chairlift at Spirit Mountain was a great place to rest and observe.


Video Game Showdown

Coltin Johnson

Video games are great time-killing activities. Most people will play games for fun, but some people even play games as a career and for competitions. For example, Korea has intense leagues for the video game StarCraft. In the United States, there are Call of Duty clans (groups of players). There are even gatherings (called Cons) where everyone just meets up and talks about game updates and news. All games have different aspects to them; therefore, not every game is for anyone. Although there are too many games to list, they are categorized into specific genres. The basic genres are as follow: shooters, strategy, role-playing, and sports.

First off are the mindless shooter games. One of the most popular franchises for the shooters is Call of Duty, or just CoD. From the wonderful single-player story to the interesting multiplayer experience, Call of Duty pleases many. Ranging from World War II up to modern warfare, CoD is a good choice for any shooter fanatic. Although CoD is more of a run-and-gun shooter, the Battlefield series is where the realistic shooting is. Battlefield ranges from World War II to modern warfare also. If current-era shooters aren’t intriguing to someone, then the Unreal series is the one to choose. Set in the unknown, Unreal has enough alien-like guns and technology to pique anyone’s interest. With many different types of shooters to choose from, one will have no problem picking a game to play.

Secondly, there are the brain-throbbing strategy games. Whether one chooses real-time or turn-based, strategy games get the mind working: Commanding a whole armada can get tiresome. Strategy can be classified into these three basic types of games: City and army building in Starcraft, world-conquering games like turn-based Civilization series, or take control of a single hero in the Warcraft games. There’s even combination of turn-based games with city-building aspects, like Age of Wonders. Once a strategy game has been chosen, countless hours will be lost within the game.

Next up is the indulging role-playing games. Role-playing games (RPGs) is all about playing out the life or adventure of a created person. Most RPGs let one change both the character’s appearance and the weapons and armor to be used. As the player advances his or her character through the game, the character gains levels. Levels further continue to make the character more unique and stronger. Along with the levels, the story will also progress. Players find themselves having connections to their character, which is why RPGs tends to be the most absorbing type of game available. Playing through the story of role-playing games will leave anyone completely satisfied.

Last, but not least, the sports games come into play. There’s baseball, basketball, football, soccer, hockey, bowling, tennis, snowboarding, skiing, fishing, and almost every other sport that can be named. Become the player, take control of one of the athletes, and win that super bowl. Most sports games even let the user create her or her own athlete, along with teams and training regimens. However, there are also management games where a player can be the coach and lead the team to victory. Whether the role is being the coach or the athlete, players will have no choice but to play another season.

From the mindless shootings of Call of Duty to the satisfying championships of NHL 2012, there’s at least one game out for everyone. When one finally finds games and thoroughly enjoys them, putting down the video game can be difficult. However, once the game has been beaten, whether it’s the shooters to the sports, one is left with the most satisfying, rewarding sensation ever.


Illustration and Cause/Effect Essays

My Grandma Phyllis

Katrina Severin

When I was sixteen, my grandma Phyllis and I were driving to Rice Lake Wisconsin so I could take my driver’s test. When we arrived, my grandma said, “Good Luck, I love you!” I took my test, and the instructor said I did great! My grandma looked at me and said, “Did you pass?” I said, “YES!!” My grandma said, “That’s fantastic because if you wouldn’t have, Grandpa and I would have reserved a hotel room to get away from you and your crabbiness!” My Grandma Phyllis grew up in Sugar Grove, Illinois. She lived with her mother, father, and four siblings. They were very involved in school and church activities. My grandma grew up Methodist. When she was sixteen, she met my grandpa Richard, and they married when they were eighteen. My grandparents then moved into their own house and started to build a family. My grandfather worked construction, and my grandma was a secretary. Through the years they had four beautiful children. They then moved to Maple, Wisconsin for farming land and better job opportunities. My grandparents now have seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren they can provide love for. My grandma Phyllis is important to me because of her love, humor, and attitude.

My grandma Phyllis is very humorous. She proves her humor by making me laugh. For example, when I go out to eat with my grandparents, we talk and laugh about what my grandma does now that she is retired. Before we leave the restaurant my grandpa always asks, “Phyllis, what is a good tip for fifty dollars?” She says, “Ten dollars.” He says, “Well that’s not enough,” and puts in more money. My grandma just laughs and then lectures him about the bills that are due. My grandma also showed her sense of humor when I was going through my surgeries. For example, when I get anxious, my grandma calms me down with a funny story, such as when she first met my grandpa. She said, “I walked into the house, and everyone there was drunk and dancing around. I had to wave my hand in front of my face to see people because there was such a huge cloud of smoke in the basement.” I laughed and said, “Grandma you never smoked!” She said, “I know, I didn’t and neither did your grandpa, but his dad and brothers sure liked to smoke cigars and drink a lot of beer!” I laughed and relaxed even more. My grandma’s stories are not only comforting and full of knowledge, but they make me laugh and relieve my anxiety.

My grandma Phyllis has a great attitude. She shows her great attitude through her helpfulness. My grandma is always willing to lend a helping hand to me. For example, when my mother left, my grandma said, “Katrina, you are going to come live with your grandpa and me.” She showed me that she wanted to take care of me and provide a life my parents couldn’t, by providing meals and teaching me how to cook. My grandma is always there to answer questions with a positive attitude. For example, when I was seventeen, I had all the credits I needed to graduate high school, so the school gave me an opportunity to start college courses. I had no idea how to do any of this! Thankfully my grandma was there to help! She said, “Katrina, I will go to the college to get the paper work filled out. It will be a learning experience for the both of us!” I couldn’t have been more excited to share the first part of my college experience with her! My grandma has taught me lessons in life through her great outlook.

My grandma Phyllis is very loving, She shows her love through her patience. For example, when I was twelve, she taught me how to bake and read the recipe for snicker doodle cookies. We put the cookies in the oven. I pulled the cookies out when they were done. They smelled delicious! My grandma said, “Mm the cookies smell good; I think we have come to our first success!” My grandma took a bite and almost broke a tooth! She said, “Oh my! I think there was a mistake!” I had put a tablespoon of cream of tartar instead of a teaspoon. My grandma laughed and said, “We learn from our mistakes, and when it comes to baking, you need to be very precise.” My grandma gave me wonderful advice about life in the kitchen. For example, another time when we were baking, I measured the flour, and she asked, “Have you talked to your mother?” I explained that I had not, and I did not intend too. She said, “Katrina, know that she loves you and cares about you. She just has a very different way of showing it.” She also explained, “When traumatic things happen in life, you have to keep your head up and keep busy. Follow your heart and dreams, and you will go above and beyond in life!” Then all of a sudden we heard a DING! The cookies were done. I tried the first bite; they were amazing this time around because we didn’t forget any ingredients or mismeasure. My grandma said, “The first time you learn to do something new it may not turn out, but you had the ambition to try again and succeed! I am so proud of you!” Through my lessons in the kitchen, my grandma showed her love for me. Through the years of growing up with my grandma, she taught me to love like I have never experienced love before by communication and teaching. She has taught me to laugh when I get stuck into a hard situation and to go through with it because in the end, everything will be ok. Last but not least, I have learned to keep a great attitude when I am not always the strongest person. My life wouldn’t be what it is today without the love, humor, and attitude reflected.


Walk This Way

Becky Eklof

Putting one foot in front of the other – a rudimentary skill that, for me, is a panacea that has no equal. No pill or elixir can match the healing powers of a good, old-fashioned walk. Going on daily walks has a profoundly positive effect on both my physical health and my mental well-being.

As I am growing older, I am more conscious of the importance of being active and taking better care of my body. I know that being able to go out and walk every day, whether it is for twenty minutes or two hours, is good for me. I have noticed an increase in my energy levels, which comes in handy when I have chores to do around the house or I have a ten hour day at work after attending classes in the morning. Walking has also made me keenly aware of what I put into my body.  Gone are the unhealthy snack foods that I once was accustomed to eating. I do not want to undo the positive effects of my walks by going home and devouring a bag of chips. I have now trained my brain to reach for an apple – or any of the other healthy alternatives I have purchased for the week – to satisfy my appetite,. The physical activity and the change in diet have helped me to slim down and lose about twenty-five pounds.

In addition to the positive physical effects of losing weight, there has been a considerable elevation of my moods and mental health. Being able to buy clothes that I want to wear as opposed to clothes that just fit certainly is good for the ego. But, it is not only the positive side effect of looking good that makes walking worth it. An early morning walk along the lake with the sun coming up, breathing in the fresh air, listening to the seagulls above me, and hearing the waves of Lake Superior unite with the shoreline is what gives my brain a jump start for the day and motivates the body.  There is no other remedy that can elevate my mood or lift my spirits like taking a walk after a long busy shift at work, or after a morning in a stuffy classroom.

Another important effect that walking has in my life is the role it plays in helping me attain one of my future goals. My sister-in-law, Kelli, will be  participating, for her second time, in the  Susan G. Komen 3 Day walk in July 2012.  This  is something that is very near and dear to me as my grandma was a breast cancer survivor, among many other women in my life that fortunately have beat this horrible disease. I have talked with my sister-in-law many times about how rewarding it is and what a great accomplishment that one feels after she has taken that last step across the finish line. Just imagine walking sixty miles in three days; it sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Each mile conquered would be such inspiration to go that next mile.  What a great feeling to be part of a team who are all there for the same reason: fighting for something that has affected somebody that they love. What a great feeling!

All in all, the benefits I get from walking both mentally and physically has transformed me into being a better person. I am incredibly happy with where this interest has taken me.  I hope that I succeed in reaching my goals, one step at a time!


My First Small Engine Repair

Tim Hayes

When I was sixteen years old, I purchased my first used four-wheeler. It was a very nice looking Yamaha Wolverine wheeler. It was a few years later when I was riding my quad down a nice groomed trail when I heard a loud clunking noise and realized that sound probably wasn’t too good. I had to tow it back to the trailer to get it home. This is when I learned that rebuilding a small engine was going to be a great challenge.  All the work and knowledge that is required to complete this task could be tough, but it also had many great benefits at the end.

Right when I tore apart the top end of the engine, I became intimidated from all the tools that I needed and of all the little moving parts inside the engine. At this time, I knew that it would require a great amount of patience to get the job done. I bought a book on how to repair a four-wheeler motor. The first page I read looked like foreign writing to me. I did not have a clue what the book was trying to teach me. However, the more I looked at the book, the quicker I started to understand the whole process of small engine repair.

The second I finished rebuilding my first small engine, I was very proud of myself. As happy as I was, I knew it was not over yet. I still had to start the motor to make sure that it would run and that I did the job right. After I put gas into the tank of the quad, I hit the start button and it started right up. The first thing I thought was “Wow, now I know what I am doing when I work on these engines.” The knowledge and patience that I learned from the rebuild was amazing. I taught myself how to read blue print charts, and it gave me confidence for future projects.

The next day I went riding with some friends, and one friend asked me how much did the shop charge to rebuild it. When I told him the total of the parts and that I did it myself, he was shocked. My friend told me how much he paid to get his wheeler rebuilt. That’s when I realized that I just saved myself almost a thousand dollars! When my buddy noticed what I saved, he told me that I was his future ATV mechanic.

Finally, I got home and washed off the muddy quad. At that time, I stared at the wheeler and realized what I had just completed. I got the self-confidence that if I put all my effort into something, I can achieve almost anything. I learned so much in such a short time that I looked forward to future projects with small engines. All the challenges became great benefits for me as a result of the rebuild.


Persuasive Essays

Never Try Cigarettes

Katrina McCay

I remember a time when I was very young. I was walking outside with my mom, and she threw a cigarette on the ground. I didn’t know better at the time and rushed to pick it up and give it back to her and said, “Here Mommy, you dropped this.” Mom gasped and said, “Oh no, baby! Don’t touch that, it’s bad. It could hurt you. Put it down now!”  There are a few generations of smokers in my family. I guess you could say we have the smoker’s gene. My great grandmother smoked for many years before quitting, and her daughter, my grandma, was a smoker who never quit. My mother started smoking cigarettes at age eleven and has quit multiple times with the help of patches and hypnosis. However, at the present she is still a smoker. I smoked for six years before finally kicking the habit cold turkey six months ago. Adolescents should not try cigarettes because of the addiction, harm, and inconvenience.

That very first puff of a cigarette can start an addiction. Since my mom was a smoker, I was curious about cigarettes. The first time I smoked a cigarette, I was eleven years old. I’d seen my grandma and mom smoke for most of my youth, and even though I’d been warned against it I was curious to try it. I snuck into my mom’s purse when she was asleep and stole my first Marlboro Light 100 and a lighter. I raced downstairs to my bathroom, lit the cigarette, and took a huge puff. Within seconds, I was coughing and gagging uncontrollably. I felt like I’d been punched in the chest, and the whole bathroom filled up with a cloud of smoke. I flushed the cigarette down the toilet and thought to myself, “I would never do that again.”

Six years after my first cigarette, I foolishly started smoking again. In high school, most of my friends smoked cigarettes. One night at a bonfire my friend Kristina encouraged me to try it again. I’d had a fight with my boyfriend that night and was pretty upset, so Kristina handed me her cigarette and said, “C’mon! Take a drag. You’ll feel better.” I looked at her and said, “I don’t think that’ll help.” Kristina said, “Just try it, Peer Pressure!” “Fine! I’ll try it!” I grumbled. I took the cigarette and took a long drag, expecting to have another coughing fit like the first time I’d tried it. I inhaled and exhaled the smoke with no cough, so I finished the cigarette. I started feeling a little more relaxed, and I thought to myself, “That wasn’t so bad.” From that night on, I was hooked. It only took one Marlboro Light to spark my addiction for years to come.

Cigarettes can cause physical harm over time. I can’t remember a time when Grandma didn’t smoke. Grandma’s smoking caused her many health problems. When I was six or seven, one of my favorite things to do with Grandma was go for walks. As I got older, however, my Grandma wanted to go on walks less and less. When I was twelve, I visited her on a beautiful spring day and suggested we take a walk, but Grandma said, “Not now, honey.” I asked, “Why not?” Grandma started coughing and put her hand to her mouth. When she pulled it away, I noticed she had coughed up a dark substance. Then she replied, “I’m tired and not feeling well.” I looked at her and the burning cigarette in the ash tray and said, “Maybe you should quit smoking. Don’t you want to live longer Grandma?” Grandma said, “I’m just getting old, honey. I don’t want to live longer, so when it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go.”  I remember feeling sad for her, and I wish that would have learned then that cigarettes are just bad news.

Although I was a smoker for six years I didn’t realize the harm until I quit. I have tried to quit smoking in the past and found that I could never stay away from them. For example, a few months ago I went to a bar with a few friends who were still smokers. I followed them outside so they could have a smoke break, but soon I had to walk away from them completely. My friend Yasmina came up to me and asked, “What’s wrong Kat?” I replied “I’m sorry. I’m not trying to complain, but the smoke was making me sick.” She smiled and said, “Oh yeah. I forgot you quit. Good for you!” Now that I’ve been a nonsmoker for a several months I notice how much harm cigarettes cause.

The inconvenience of smoking can be humorous. When I was a smoker, I was known for setting fires. One day when I was in high school, a friend and I went for a drive during our lunch break. As we pulled away from the school parking lot, we lit up. We were deep in conversation when suddenly my friend Jamie asked, “What is that smell?” I sniffed the air and I smelled something burning and said, “It smells like burnt hair or something.” When we got back to school I rushed ahead, but Jamie was walking behind me and suddenly said, “Oh no!” “What’s wrong?” I said nervously. Jamie said, “You burnt your jacket!” I turned around and saw feathers on the floor. I took off my jacket and discovered that my cigarette never made it out the car window, but landed in the hood of my jacket.

My Grandma would only buy one particular brand of cigarettes. As a child I spent a lot of my time at grandma’s house. Grandma’s vice was Capri 120 slims, which were these three inch long, super thin cigarettes. I had never seen anyone else with these weird cigarettes, so one day when I was outside with Grandma I asked her, “Why do you smoke those skinny cigarettes Grandma?” She replied, “Those regular cigarettes are too fat, it feels like a log in my mouth.” I didn’t really understand her comment then but after becoming a smoker myself, I now see the humor in it.

Now I have seen both sides as a smoker and nonsmoker. I realize that cigarette smoking has no benefits, only consequences. I’ve witnessed how highly addictive it has been for my family and myself. I have newfound appreciation for how hard it can be to quit. I have seen the harm it causes to one’s health and have been annoyed by the great inconveniences it can create. Therefore, adolescents are better off never taking that first puff off a cigarette because when it comes to cigarettes, the smartest choice you can make is to just say no.


A Leap of Faith

Timothy Trettel

Choosing to attend a secondary education program should never be a difficult decision, even if you think you’re too old to learn something new.  For some people, deciding on a college is very easy; however, for others, it is a life changing decision.  For me, it was the latter of the two.  Most people decide to attend college shortly after graduating high school; I decided to join the Marines to serve our country first.  The thought of college had never really interested me.

During the last few months of my service contract I met a girl and soon after had my first child on the way.  I decided not to re-enlist and left the Marines to help raise my child.  Five years and two more children later, I found myself working for the Fond du Lac Head Start program, something I had believed in very much.  It was a great job and the starting wage was pretty good at the time.  However, six years passed and despite numerous requests for a raise, I was still making the same wage as when I started.  I then began to realize that furthering my education might be the best option, despite the sacrifices I would have to make.

I decided to start researching local colleges and programs to find something that interested me.  I also researched future jobs to help me decide what to study if I were to attend a college.  I found that electrical engineering did interest me, and that the job market looked promising with great pay and benefits.  It took me quite a while, but I finally made that leap of faith and quit my dead end job and registered for school.  My children were quite excited, which made my decision a little easier because everything I do, I do for them.  I want to provide a better life with more options for them.

I think the greatest advantage for me attending college at this point in my life is to set a great example for my children.  I want to show them that it is never too late to start something new.  I want to teach them that with hard work and informed decisions, you can do anything you want.  They should know that when they graduate high school, and if they decide to do something else, they can always go back to school to further their education.

Age should never be a deciding factor if one is thinking of attending college.  Age should never be a factor when pursuing a dream.  Even though college was never a dream of mine, I did think my age would be a factor.  I have learned that it’s not; in fact, it has helped me.  I have an easier time learning now; I have the need and desire to learn.  I have real world experience and know what is out there.  I am ready to put the age barrier behind me and continue to move on and excel in my college experience.