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Colton Davis Advanced Composition 20 October 2013 Growing Up Growing up is often a long, complex process. Different people encounter different events in the process of getting older; I bet very few people can tell you the exact moment that they felt like an adult. For me it came after a series of events. I didnt realize it until afterwards, but I started looking at those events and circumstances of my life a little more like an adult would. My parents divorce was the first big event I encountered growing up, so in a lot of ways it had the largest impact on me. Other events such as witnessing a crime, watching my mom graduate college, learning how to learn, and even something as seemingly trivial as realizing that a new fad in technology might not be good to have all played a big part in my development into an adult. * The first life event that played a part of my growing up was my parents divorce. One of the gloomiest days of my young life began just like any other day. When I got home from school, my mom met me at the door and asked me to join her and my dad at the dining room table. I instantly grew apprehensive, remembering how rarely we even used the table for dinner. I noticed that mom had been crying and my dads face was very serious. As soon as I was seated, they blurted out simultaneously that they were getting a divorce. I cant remember if feelings of relief or horror hit me first. I remembered all their fights and the times when theyd seem to go weeks without speaking to each other. Part of me wished that they would get a divorce; I was worried theyd eventually kill each other. Still, I never expected them to actually do it. It was very rough on me for a long time. I had a tough time attempting to be accepted to a conservative society after the divorce, similar to what Vijender Kumar described in his article Impact of Divorce on Children: A Socio-Economic and Legal Study. I hated splitting time between them and I hated feeling like I was in the middle of their fights. More adult-like responsibility awaited me at home. Children in the midst of divorce either feel guilty that they somehow caused the divorce or assume many of the household duties of the missing parent, as Kumar also explains. I did both things. I considered taking over my dads duties just a part of growing up. Eventually I learned to get used to seeing dad once a week and every other weekend. My parents were still just as supportive of me and I knew they loved me the same way they always had. I think the most difficult part of their divorce was feeling like we werent a family anymore. Though it took me a long time, I eventually realized that their divorce was for the best. After all, it started the process of my becoming an adult. * The second event that played a fundamental role in my development was the robbery and shooting I witnessed just a few years later. Intuition is a funny thing; it rarely leads you wrong. I

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was about 8 when I first experienced mine. It was 11:30 p.m. when Mom and I pulled into the gas station. It wouldnt have been so late, but my sister had to go to this slumber party at her friends house an hour away. We got out of the car and I insisted on walking inside with her. For not fighting with your sister, you can get one bag of candy. I nodded and skipped over to the candy aisle while she went to the register. Hey kid, you got some money? I looked up at two teenage Hispanic guys. One of the guys was wearing a black bandana over his head. The other had a scar across his left eye. It gave me the chills. Bandana guy was now glaring at me. N..no, I dont have any money, I stuttered. Man, if we aint gonna do this lets get outta here. Scar guy was visibly apprehensive. Something didnt feel right. I was really uncomfortable and focused on the nonverbal behavior going on around me. My reaction to the situation was a very normal one, as Bruce Perry pointed out in his article Effects of Traumatic Events on Children. He asserted that A frightened child doesnt focus on the words; they attend to the threat related signals in their environment the nonverbal signs of communication such as eye contact, facial expression, body posture or proximity to the threat. The internal state of the child shifts with the level of perceived threat (3). I just knew we had to get out of there. I moved quickly toward my mom. Mom, can we go now? I asked quietly. But you didnt get any candy? I know, mom. I feel sick. Can I go lay down in the car? I had to say something to get her out of there. Sure sweetie, are you okay? I didnt reply as I literally forced her to the car. As soon as we sat down, I heard two loud BANGs! Mom looked at me in horror and peeled out of the parking lot. My reaction to the trauma was constant fear. I was afraid of everything for a long time. Bruce Perry described similar reactions to trauma in his article. He explained that despite normal behaviors in most situations, children exposed to trauma are internally agitated. They have not truly been able to move back down the arousal continuum to the state of calm. This has profound implications for the childs long term functioning (Perry 7). Though my fear and agitation lasted for years, I eventually realized I had to either deal with the effects of the trauma or let fear control my life. Making the conscious decision to let go of the shooting and move on with my life aided my development into an adult. * The day my mom graduated college came a few years after the shooting and also played a big part in who I am today. I was a young boy the day it happened. I remember sitting in a crowded auditorium. Above my head were the words Congratulations Graduates! I watched my mom walk across the stage wearing type of weird uniform, complete with a crazy looking hat. She shook a mans hand and took what looked like a piece of paper from him. I remembered the previous day, when she explained to me that she would be receiving her Bachelors degree. According to her, it was like my 5th grade classes but way harder. She thought I didnt understand, but I did. I remembered the night that I couldnt sleep and got up to get a glass of water. Mom was sitting at her desk, t yping a paper. I thought Wow, its 3:00 a.m. She is going to

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be so tired tomorrow! I remembered her picking me up from school and dropping me off at grandmas house to go to her other job. One day asked why she had to work so much. Honey, I know you dont understand, but I do this to help you have a better future. At that point I didnt realize it, but its a fact that children born to well-educated women are gaining from their mothers' substantial investments of both money and time in higher education, while those born to less-educated women are not (Goldrick-Rab and Sorenson). With a degree, mom saved up more money for me to go to college. She got a better job and that allowed me to participate in more extra-curricular activities. Suddenly it hit me as I was sitting there watching her receive her diploma. She gave up so much and worked so hard to give me the life of my dreams and she didnt have to. But she gave me more than I could have ever asked for in that moment: inspiration. Because of her accomplishment, I knew that I could achieve anything I wanted, if I put my mind to it. Watching her work toward her degree made me grow up in the sense that I knew hard work was needed to be successful. I stopped looking at the world like it owed me something and more like I had to work to be happy in it. My mom inspired me to grow up working hard for what I wanted. * Another part of growing up for me was realizing that I can learn something from anyone, no matter what career or life choices that person has made. I had a very different opinion until my freshman year of college. When I was first learning to write an essay, my 6th grade English teacher told me to stick to the well beaten path. I remember those words and the template she provided perfectly. When writing an essay, you must have an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The body paragraphs should include an idea and provide an argument or examples supporting that idea. My freshman year of college, my roommate was an Art/Design Major. He believed the opposite of my old English teacher; we could only create great works if we came up with new ideas. If we stuck to the ideas everyone else had, how would we create our own legacy? I applied this concept in my papers. After all, we may not learn everything we need to know in the classroom, Valerie Strauss pointed out in her Washington Post Article Top 10 Skills Children Learn from the Arts. She also includes in her article an excerpt by Lisa Phillips. Phillips asserts that the arts can teach creativity, confidence, problemsolving, and perseverance, which are skills that one might not learn strictly in a classroom environment. I didnt even realize I needed all of these skills for a career until I reached college. Shortly after using my roommates approach, my grades began to decline. Though I realized I should apply my roommates principles to my work, I needed more than just his method. Eventually, I figured out that abandoning that basic template for writing a paper caused me to have a disorganized way of writing. I realized that I had to combine the two ideas in order to improve my writing. My grades improved significantly! I couldnt believe that an artist had helped me improve my writing by adding a simple thought that contradicted everything I had learned. Thanks to both of these individuals, I found my perfect balance of writing. My method of thinking was broadened. The realization that I didnt necessarily have to be in a classroom and listening to a teacher to learn enabled me to grow in that I could just look around me to learn something new. *

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The last notable event in my growing up was the realization that just because new technology seems beneficial doesnt mean it is. With that being said, I believe that cell phones are more of a hindrance than a help. Most people believe that smart phones makes life a lot easier for people, but I disagree. Smart phones prevent people from thinking for themselves. Recently, research has indicated that student performance is significantly correlated with cell phone use. A study by Duncan, Hoekstra, and Wilcox (2012) demonstrated that students who reported regular cell phone use in class showed an average negative grade difference of 0.36 0.08 on a four-point scale (Fulbright). These findings made me realize that I didnt need to constantly use my phone for my every need. Not only are cell phones a distraction in class, they do all the thinking for the student. When assigned a class project, such as Invent a working machine using a straw, a nail, tape, and some jelly beans, students can now type the question into an internet search engine and without even expending any thought, they have an answer. The same holds true for essays. Often, the exact essay assigned for a particular class can be found somewhere on the internet, free or for purchase. Cell phones also limit the use of imagination. Things such as building a tree house are now as simple as typing a question into Google. When I was a kid, my siblings and I asked our parents for a tree house. We were instructed to use each others ideas and draw the tree house we wanted. We had to figure out the amount of wood, nails, and any other tools we might need to build the tree house. My imagination went wild after the project! I came up with so many other projects because I learned how to figure out what I needed for them. Nowadays, kids use their cell phones for similar ideas; these ideas come complete with blue prints, a list of all tools needed, and no creative thought required at all. Cell phones have cost us our imaginations by doing everything for us. They also made me realize that I dont have to pursue every new piece of technology invented. Growing up means seeing things for what they are, even if it means going against the beliefs of the majority. * Growing up for me occurred in stages throughout my childhood and adolescence. My parents divorce was the first big event of my childhood. Taking over some of my fathers duties around the house made me realize that I was becoming more responsible and adult- like. Witnessing a serious crime a few years later made me realize how intuitive I was. It also made me realize that I had a choice to either be afraid my whole life, or to put negative events behind me and grow up. On the day my mom graduated college, I learned that growing up means working hard to achieve the things I want. She sacrificed so much to give me a stable future that I knew I had to take the same responsibility growing up. Next, instead of a big event, was the simple realization that I can learn from anyone. Sometimes the best ways to learn arent in the classroom; life-skills I consider necessary were usually learned when I didnt even know I was learning. The last significant factor in my growing up was the realization that the newest fad in technology might not be as good as it appears. Cell-phones limit creative thinking and our imaginations. By thinking for us, new technology keeps us from growing. All of these events and situations played a part in my becoming an adult, whether small or large.

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Works Cited Fulbright, Sydney. "Cell Phones in the Classroom: What's Your Policy?" Effective Classroom Management. (2013): Web. 16 Oct. 2013. Goldrick-Rab, Sara, and Kia Sorenson. "Effects of Postsecondary Education on Family WellBeing." Future of Children. 20.2 (2010): Web. 19 Oct. 2013. Kumar, Vijender. "Impact of Divorce on Children." Academia. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. Perry, Bruce. "Effects of Trauma on Children." ChildTrauma Academy. (2003): 1-21. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. Strauss, Valerie. "Top 10 Skills Children Learn from the Arts." Washington Post. 22 Jan 2013: n. page. Web. 19 Oct. 2013.