When I took my last year in High School, I was thrilled and astonished since the seniors usually had lots of free time to take a rest and prepare for college. However, in my high school, I had to do the “quest project” which combined essays and presentations. To be honest, I was not interested in the project because my writing and speaking skills were not my strengths, and also I was a shy and gutless guy who couldn’t be comfortable talking in front of people. There were many difficulties to overcome in order to finish this project, but I felt more confident about going to college after doing it.
The first thing in my mind when I thought about my “quest project” is how important the project would be for me when I went to college. I knew I had to do it, but I was very disappointed because the seniors in some of the other local High Schools did not have to do anything like these meaningless tasks for their graduation. For us, we had to volunteer somewhere outside the school, and then write essays to describe the experience we had faced doing our volunteer jobs. Furthermore, in order to finish the project, we had to do a Power Point presentation in front of the school’s panelists about those experience.
I thought it was fine at first although English was not my mother language. However, I did not have many friends in the class, and sometimes I did not understand exactly what teacher told us to do. The result was that my grade was very bad. So it seemed as if the path ahead began to dim, and I was afraid I would lose my way. Then I could not take any more bad grades. Therefore, I decided to ask my teacher for help. As I walked into his office he greeted me with a smile. His round glasses accented his tanned oval face. He listened attentively while I described my challenges and my insecurities.
One thing was clear, even if I doubted myself, this man had confidence. He told me that life is like running a race. You never win by quitting. In the long run, he helped me a lot with my grammar and speaking skills. Clearly, he made me more confident in my ability to do the project. In fact, I became more fascinated and interested in English as a result of his encouragement and consideration. Back at home, I ate a small bowl of sour yogurt as I stared out the window and thought about what my teacher had told me. I began to feel confident myself. I can do this”, I thought. Then I went to study. Afterward, my essays got better and better. But the project wasn’t finished yet. The most difficult part I worried about was presentation. When I asked him how to do the presentation well, he told me that I should know my strengths and weaknesses so that I could improve my advantages and hide my imperfections. He advised me to speak slowly and loudly in order that everyone could understand me well. Moreover, he told me to practice presentation myself in front of the mirrors to improve my confidence and pronunciation.
By following his directions, I realized that my speaking skills improved over time. Within a few months, I saw my grade was going up and finally felt as if I belonged in school. On the morning of my presentation I was very depressed and nervous, even though I prepared everything. But, I told myself that I had to do it well in order to meet to my family’s and my teacher’s expectations. Well, I did that and managed to pass the project with a very good grade! Afterward, strolling along the beach, I could watch the waves crashing on the shore and smell the salty beach air knowing that I was going to graduate.
Now, I could look across the blue Pacific ocean toward Vietnam, the land of my ancestors and feel a little less lost. I had a new home, and a new beginning. I passed the project due to my concentrated effort, and I had reason to be proud of myself. When I look back on how I spent my last year of high school, I am glad that I took his class and put in the time to do the project. From the experience of volunteering, I have a better vision of society. The “quest project” gave me a chance to evaluate myself and to become a better student in college and in the life beyond.