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The Influences of My Life

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The Influences of My Life - Page Text Content

S: The Influences of Me

BC: The End

FC: Danyas Sarathy | The Influences of Me

1: Life brings simple pleasures to us every day. It is up to us to make them wonderful memories. CathyAllen | The Influences of Me | An Autobiography by Danyas Sarathy

2: Copyright © 2011 by dsarathy Productions All rights reserved. Published by dsarathy Productions. ‘The Influences of Me' and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of dsarathy Productions No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher. For information regarding permission, please visit http://army.mil/. *** Library of Congress Control Number: 1234567890 ISBN-13: 211-5-365-48395-5 ISBN -10: 8-999-11234-2 Book design and illustration by Mixbook.com First Edition, April 30, 2011 Printed in USA at dsarathy Productions dsarathy Productions: 43714 Scarlet Sq, Chantilly, VA 20152

3: Throughout my Life I've encountered many ups and downs. Most of these proved to be problematic, and hindered me from doing many things. This Book is about how certain people and things helped me get though those problems; I call these people and things My Influences. Without them, I couldn't have lived my life up until this point, so turn the page and begin to read how they have truly created the backbone of what I am today. | PREFACE

4: Foreword

6: I dedicate this to my Family, with love.

8: Photography: My first Influence

9: Photography is: The capturing of moments Through a single click | Photography: My first Influence

10: My family

11: My Life | My Soul

12: Influence #1A: Photography

13: People are defined in many different ways; and are made up of key characteristics that are defined throughout their life. Likewise, there are many turning points in one’s life – and the most influential of mine would be the first time I closed the shutter of my first Camera. I was on vacation, summer of 2010, and like most teenagers’ dream (I was 14 at the time) I was enjoying Florida. We had just arrived, I could smell the oranges (literally, the airport was right next to an orchard); there was no change in the time zones, but one could still feel the jet lag eviscerating your alertness. Lucky for me, my Uncle Badri came prepared – as a doctor he travels often – and gave me some coffee. I was bright and alert, but definitely not in the mood to stay up much longer (and especially not in the mood to have a turning point in my life occur), so we went to our hotel and called it a night. It was routine, pack our bags, bicker about who gets the shower first – of course, the girls always win, turn on the TV, and fall asleep. It was a routine day, but it was about to take a turn for the better. Morning rolled around, normally I wouldn’t want to get up, but my self-alertness kicked in and it dawned on me that I was in Florida. I jumped out of bed, went through my daily routine and before I knew it, I was ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, no one had gotten out of bed yet, so I had to kill the time playing Minecraft portable. When we did, however, we all got ready and went to Disney World first. We were enjoying ourselves, however for some reason my Uncle wasn’t participating. It stuck me as odd why he would only sit in the corner and take photos – what was the fun in that? I came up with a plan to ask him at lunch, | Change, with the Click of a Shutter

14: ,as we were all quite hungry anyway. My curiosity got the better of me during our lunchtime and I asked him why he was taking pictures. It was a short, to-the-point remark that I’ll never forget, “Try it, maybe you’ll like it”. Of course, he gave me his camera and I held on to that thing like a newborn child. He basically showed me the ropes – what an aperture setting was, how to set proper ISO levels and before I knew it, I was taking my first few shots. I knew so much ‘stuff’ by the end of our vacation, I could tell if I had a good picture or not by judging the sound of the shutter – I was hooked onto photography. Vacation was over, but my Uncle didn’t leave. He saw that I had such an interest in photography, he let me play around with his camera even more; experiment with the different lenses such as a full frame, wide aperture, ect. It was the worst feeling when I found out my Uncle had to leave – it felt as if a new part of me vanished. But I had a great surprise, for my Dad bought me a Nikon D90 after he saw the multiple albums I put together for him – and to this day I still take photos with that same camera. I really can’t wait until this summer however, Badri will be back, and I’m sure he’ll have much more to teach me. This was my first experience into the art that was photography and it couldn’t have happened without my Uncle. It took me into a new a world of art and creativity that cannot simply be explained – rather learned. Over all, that summer was the greatest I’ve had so far; the things I learned I know will stay for many more years and have definitely sculpted my life so far

15: This was the first macro shot I took. It was the lunch that we ate when I learned how to use a Camera

16: Mandala: My life through Math

17: "The curves of my Life"

18: Influence #1B: More Photography

19: Lenses | A person’s view on life is what makes one different from another. If two people have the same view on something, it’s generally easy to get along with that person as they agree on the idea. Likewise it’s easily as important to have multiple views on a subject or feeling. This is one of the things I learned after obtaining multiple lenses for my Camera. Right after my Uncle left to go back to England he left me with multiple lenses that dramatically affect the way the camera views its surroundings. What’s interesting is that all these lenses he gave me can be translated into my different views on life. The first lens he gave me was (obviously) the kit lens. This is the cheap one that comes straight with the camera and is most likely the one you attach as a placeholder. This is the ‘auto pilot’ view on life where you cruise through with out doing much thought – in camera terms this is the lens that you can put on auto mode and it will take care of a basic–medium level shot that you are having trouble with. Over all this kit lens is not something extremely big, again it’s really just a placeholder for if you just want to put your camera away or if you want to take care of a basic–medium range shot without much trouble. The next lens is the Telescopic Zoom. I got this lens from my father, he had been saving it from the 1990’s to give to me. This lens is also one of my favorites because I can use its 400mm lens option to zoom to lengths not visible by the naked eye. This makes it both safe and practical. Because of this extra ordinary feature, one can take shots of the Moon in full detail, or even shoot pictures of vicious lions from a mile away.

20: In real–life terms this would be a scientific and critical thinking view of life. Its ability to zoom to extraordinary lengths represents how one could view farther and farther in life and think ahead to extreme measures. This is one of my favorite lenses and takes a lot of skill to use, if one accidently messes up an ISO setting (basically a light compensation factor; you chose between 200 and 3200 where 200 is sunlight and 3200 is a dimly light room) it has a very dramatic negative effect on the photo, something that would never happen if you were using the basic kit lens. The last view on life and lens would be the Full Frame Lens. This is a lens I’ve only recently acquired. When using it one can achieve a concept called, “Bokeh” a term for how out-of-focus the background is, respective to how in focus the foreground or subject is. This is a lens completely used for art and because of this it represents a very artistic view on life, which is completely dependent on how low your ‘f-stop’ is; if one wants a better Bokeh, they should decrease the f-stop. This is not the most efficient lens as it requires perfect light levels and perfect aperture settings, but if one can get the perfect situation and have a perfect awareness, this would be the best lens in their arsenal. Likewise in life, this is a very tough approach to life as you have to be very creative and art oriented to use it. It’s impractical in the sense that it doesn’t do what the telescopic-zoom does; it’s purely for artistic purposes. In summary, a persons view on life and their surroundings can be compared to the lenses of a camera. Using the kit lens, one can put himself or herself on ‘auto pilot’ and go through out the day trying very hard. Using the Tele zoom lens one can see farther into life, and examine it more closely – a very practical lens/view. Lastly, the full frame offers a purely cosmetic and art oriented view onto life; this lens is very impractical in that one must toy around with it to achieve a better shot.

23: Wanted: Danyas Sarathy | The idea behind this Multi Genre piece is to ‘show off’ my ability to take a picture of myself (as stated in the Preface, I took every single photograph in my autobiography) and also display another interest I have. If you’ve been reading my autobiography so far, you could probably assume I’m a little bit of a nerd; I actually enjoy school. In this case, I’ve said that I’ve been caught for ‘Dividing by Zero’ which in mathematical terms is one of the biggest faults you can make. You can’t divide any number by zero, and when you do, you get this wonderful error on your calculator saying “does not compute; cannot divide by nothing”. There is actually a little bit of a back-story behind me getting in trouble for dividing by Zero. Back in 7th grade, when I started algebra, I loved to argue with my teacher about this concept. I told her that if you divide something by Zero, shouldn’t you get infinity? Of course this is obviously wrong (infinity times zero is still zero), and I would often get in trouble for bringing it up in class.

24: Influence #2: Lessons

25: The next major influence of my life was a person, my Dad. When I decided to start a project in Biology I decided it would involve a rather a larger aspect of this entire world, it was every single organism in this entire world, and more specifically where they originated. When I started 9th grade, I took a risk by taking Biology (which would normally be a class taken in 10th grade). I did this because I had an idea – a science fair project that would revolutionize the way we view phylogeny (basically, how we group everything together). But for me to start this project, I had to have tons of background knowledge, patience, but most important of all someone to help and guide me through the entire scientific process without me losing my sanity. This was my Dad, otherwise known as the second influence in my life. My dad has helped me though most of my life and all his lessons can be split between two ‘categories’. These can be split into ‘practical’ lessons and ‘impractical’ lessons. Of all the practical lessons my Dad has taught me, the most important thing I’ve ever learned from him are his work habits. Being a professor, one can assume he has tons of experience organizing everything he works on and making it readily usable. Above that, he gets work done when he needs to and doesn’t procrastinate. I’m extremely this rubbed off on me, as if it didn’t, I’d be doing this essay at 12:00 the night before it was due. The way he taught me this was by basically making me antisocial for the first 10 years of my life – he kept me away from the computer (unless I needed it for an assignment) and made sure than when I got home I started

26: on my homework and finished it. And when he came home, he would check my homework to make sure I didn’t just fake anything. To be honest, even though this was torturous and extremely painful for me, I think that it has become so useful in the past years. Since I’m in high school right now, and the workload has been getting bigger and bigger (PoRs) these work habits from back then have helped me succeed in classes like AP World and AP Biology. Of all the impractical lessons my dad has taught me, the greatest one would have to be what he calls the ‘hand in the pocket rule’. Since my dad works/teaches at a scientific institute, he usually is in a laboratory. In these laboratories, there are usually extremely high currents and voltages running through machines (gel electrophoresis). Apparently if I have one hand in my pocket at all times, the current will never cross through me if I accidently bump into one of the machines. While this is a great thing to know if I’m in a laboratory working with high voltage in it, but this its probably extremely rare for a 15 year old to be in that situation. It’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the hard work he does into giving me these impracticalities, but some basic thought would show that I will literally never use any of those lessons, and if I do, it’ll be a long way into the future. My dad is one of the major influences of my life, and he has taught me a great deal of things – and I’m sure will teach me many more things as my life progresses. With out my dad, I wouldn’t be able to have decent grades in AP World History or AP Biology due to the nature of the working habits he had instilled in my since I was 10. On the other side of things however, my dad also has taught me superfluous things that will not really make a huge impact in my life, such as the ‘one hand in the pocket’ rule. I greatly appreciate all the work he has done for me and I hope to make it up to him one day in the future.

27: My dad actually guided me throughout this entire photo

28: My Top 10 List

29: 1.My Dad 2.My Brother 3.My Mom 4.Photography 5.My Uncle 6.Video Games 7.Music 8.My Friends 9.School 10.My Peers

30: Influence 4: Music

31: Musical Prowess Music has played a key aspect in my life, and has probably gotten me though most of my toughest problems yet. Music however is not just defined by ‘what’s new’; I get my inspiration not only from popular bands such as Three Day’s Grace, but also from playing the saxophone. Music helps in two ways: It helps me to focus, and it helps me to remove the tedium from work. As stated before, I listen to many popular bands such as Three Day’s Grace, Linkin’ Park, and The Coldplay (just to name a few). However unlike most people, this isn’t all I listen to. I myself actually play music, not anything too fancy, but I do play the Tenor Saxophone for my school’s Wind Symphony. Playing the Tenor Saxophone is not as popular as say a Flute, or Trumpet, so spots are often limited. When I took Concert Band last year, we had to take a test at the end of the year, and Mr. Galway realized that I excelled out of all the other 3 Tenors. Because of this, he put me into Wind Ensemble where there are now only 2 Tenors. Because of this, I was taught to practice every single night, and actually be responsible for once – I really don’t want to go back down to Concert Band. Band class, overall, influences me in three major ways. Firstly, it teaches obedience; there is a conductor who is the “supreme and almighty ruler of the universe”. He sets the tempo and we must follow it, if even one person decides to go off on their own, the entire band looses tempo and we have to start over. Secondly, it teaches teamwork. In almost any piece, one instrument will be given the ‘bass’, and this is usually the Tenor Saxophone’s job. Basically, we

32: must keep a constant rhythm and long tone going, and while it sounds easy, it’s not. Most of the time, we play a long sustained note and we don’t have enough breath to play the entire note; we must signal the band member next to us to continue that breath and that is no easy feat – it requires a tremendous amount of teamwork. Lastly, it teaches respect. Within instruments there is a ‘chair order’ where ‘first chair’ is the highest ranking member of that instrument, and also called the captain. The captain usually gives the orders, and everyone respects what he/she does because we know that he/she is handpicked from the conductor and the best player of our instrument. Now as far as music that I don’t play myself goes, I use it a lot to keep me focused and makes work a lot more fun. When I’m doing a research paper, it’s not exactly easy to keep me on track because of all the interesting facts I find on the internet. However if I have music playing in the background it’ll keep me distracted to the music ONLY, and therefore allows me to focus on work better. It also makes work a whole lot more fun. When I’m doing math problems and I can’t solve them, or I’m having a tough time, I throw some music on and try again – I’m doing something I enjoy while working on things I don’t, and the music usually ‘takes over’ and makes math more fun. In summary, Music helps me in 5 ways (3 of which come from band class, and 2 of which come from different songs I listen to). It helps me to be Obedient, be a team player, and have respect for others (band class). It also helps me stay focused and remove the tedium and tension from any difficult job/work (music I listen to). It has played a huge influence in my life and I hope to never stop playing my Tenor Saxophone or stop appreciating different types of music in day to day life.

33: My Saxophone

34: Influence 4: My Brother

35: My Brother My fifth influence was – and still is—a huge support throughout my entire life. My Brother has helped me through many tasks in my life, and has more or less helped me succeed in whatever I hope to accomplish. Without my brother I don’t think it would be possible to have done some major successes in my life, take for instance my huge SRP project. That project was one of the greatest things I’ve done in my life compared to anything else, and yet without his continuous support at 1:00 in the morning giving me new and unique ideas for a python script – it simply wouldn’t have been possible. One of the main things my brother has done for me that I can really appreciate is help keep me focused. Since I have a little bit of ADHD in me, being focused isn’t really that easy (in fact, I’ve been distracted a total of 10 times up until this part of the essay). He knows I have set goals, such as finish my project by 10:00, and he always keeps me in check. He’ll randomly come in to the room every now and then when I’m browsing Reddit (internet news site) and say, “Danyas, get to work, I don’t think you want to fail English”. Now most of the time, I will blatantly ignore his warning, but none the less it has worked quite a few times and I’m grateful for the times it has (not doing SRP wouldn’t have helped my grade in Biology). Another great thing about my brother is, not only does he remind me do my work, but he’ll bring things that he think could help. For instance, I was doing a project for Math where I had to graph many functions and colour them in. As soon as I said I was going to go upstairs and work on it, Abhi brings me a full pack of colored pencils, a ruler and three mechanical pencils. My brother does all sorts of things for me, so I would feel bad if I didn’t return the favor. Right now, since he is in 8th grade and two years younger than me, I’d like to think that I have more experience

36: than him in just about anything. Because of this, there is never a time he doesn’t need help with something, and I always feel that it’s my responsibility to help him get through it – whether it be a math problem or just simple advice. My brother and I have a very reciprocal relationship, but I do wish that I could do more for him. Perhaps in the future, when he starts High School, I should tell him how he should study, and what good organizational skills have worked for me and haven’t. I really feel that I should do more for him; after all I am his elder brother. Now that is not to say that we have the greatest relationship in the world with no arguing at all; there are those times that either one of us could be very ignorant on a certain topic. Of course this leads to arguments and chaos. An example of when we have had a ‘big’ argument was in 2005. In 2005 my Mother got a promotion from the Army, and because of this she obviously got a promotion. To celebrate we bought a brand new Computer that everyone could use. Oddly enough we placed it in my room, so I was under the impression that the computer was ‘mine’. To support this fact I even added an administrator account on this computer and made sure that if anyone wanted to install or download anything at all, they would have to run it by me. Eventually my brother got sick of this monarchical behavior I was presenting and decided to literally hack “my” computer (this was, of course, after he had asked my very nicely to download a game he liked and I said, “no.”). He deleted system 32, the root file of any windows computer, and basically broke everything. I obviously got mad, and started yelling at him – my parents intervened and realized that it was obviously my fault. From that day on, I’ve yet to actually get a ‘real’ computer (a desktop) and I blame it on my brother. I try not to bring this memory up as it’s not exactly a pleasant one, but it just goes to show you that my brother isn’t just peachy keen; we do argue and this was one of the extremes. In conclusion, my brother Abhi is one of the key influences of my life. He has helped me with just about anything I can think of, and has played an essential part of my life; I wish to repay him in full one day. This being said however, it’s not like we don’t argue. Every now and then we do have major arguments, but I try to not let that get in the way of our friendship.

37: "I'll try to repay him back one day"

38: A letter to all my Influences.

39: A Letter to my Influences Dear Influences, Thank you for what you have done; each of you, different in your own way, whether you are an abstract idea, or a person, you have changed my life in a certain way. I can only hope that this letter is thanks enough for all you have done. I feel that you deserve more than I am giving you, but for now this is all I can do to prove my appreciation. I want to let you know that Ive been using whatever you have offered me, from practical and impractical lessons, to an art that will stick with me forever. Once again, thank you Danyas Sarathy

40: Influence 5: Video Games

41: My sixth influence came to me later in life; however it still holds great importance to me. It’s weird to most to think of video games as a major influence in one’s life but to me, it is. The main reason I think they are a great influence is because of their ability to make a person multitask; if I’m playing a video game, there are several things going on in my mind at that time and I have to focus on them individually. This holds very true for the real world as well, for instance, if I have multiple homework assignments I’ll usually open them all up at once, see which one is the hardest and start on it. When I get bored or tired of doing that homework assignment, I can just jump to the next one. Another reason video games are so important in my life is that they really got me thinking. When I played Call of Duty (yes, the stereotypical fan-boy first person shooter game) the first thing that came to my mind wasn’t, “Wow, this game looks amazing and the game play is fantastic!” rather, “How did the program the AI to move like that” or, “This lighting is perfect; how is it designed?” After around a year of all this pondering, I got into computer programming which is arguably one of the most important skills anyone can learn. Gaming has also taught me organizational skills from my many hours of playing RTSes (Real time strategy). For example, when playing star craft 2 or CoH, the player must pay attention to his resources, where his troops are, and the general strategy of the map. This is almost impossible without very good organizational skills. This carries over into real life, when

42: say I’m writing an essay, I can’t just focus on what I’m typing, I have to focus also on my main ideas, how to cover them, my outline and how to follow my outline while staying on topic. Another example where the organizational skills from video games have carried over into real life is my backpack. In most video games, you get an inventory and you must organize that inventory according to your needs, what you want to access quickly and etc. Over a long period of time, around 2 years, I now use the same organizational strategy for my inventory in games where I put my current tools up top, the common items in the second row, and the useless/unorganized items in the third row. My brain got so used to this that now, while I’m organizing my back pack, I put my pencils and pens (common items) in the front, binders in the middle section, and finally all loose leaf paper, and unsorted items in the far back. For me, this system of organization is helpful and efficient. In conclusion, video games have been a major part of my life as a positive influence because they help me multitask and organize my possessions more efficiently and easily. When I play video games, my mind goes a million miles a minute and I focus on every little detail that is going on – a good example being call of duty, where I look at what is happening on my screen, my mini map, and voice communication. This carries onto real life, where I can focus on multiple things at once because my mind is so used to it from the video games (an example being when I’m doing homework). Video games have also struck my curiosity, in that I don’t play them just for entertainment anymore, but rather to understand the thinking process behind whoever made it, and how they went about tackling certain problems in the game (such as lighting, anti – aliasing). Lastly, video games have played a huge role in my organizational skills, for instance, I organize my backpack the same way I organize most my inventory in games such as Minecraft.

43: Pikachu, a extremely popular character in the game Pokemon.

44: My Wordle of Influences

45: This wordle was created on my, “Change, with the click of a shutter” essay. I did this to analyze what was going on in my mind while writing this essay, and surprisingly enough out of all the essays I ‘wordled’ this was the most profound. When looking at the wordle, you can see that the biggest words are, “first, turning, life, time, defined, and many”. These words, when put in the context of my essay, were extremely profound. The following sentences will show how these words can pretty much summarize my entire essay (into its major themes), the parenthesized words are the large words on my wordle. It truly was a changing point in my life (turning). It was the first time I had been introduced to a new art (first, time). It truly defined me, and after that point I could find myself using that new camera so many times; I was truly hooked on to photography (defined, many).

46: Influence 6: My Mom

47: If it weren’t for my Mother, I wouldn’t have the joy of being in this world – literally. One could probably say that should be a huge influence in and of itself, but I’d have to disagree. My mother has a phD in psychology and works for the army, so apart from my father she is the smartest person I know. This proves to be invaluable every single day when I need help with complicated subjects like Calculus and AP World. She also works everyday from 5:00 AM (when she leaves from home) to 7:45 PM (when she gets back), so I’m fairly certain she knows how to organize and plan. Both of these things have helped my tremendously throughout my life and without her actively engaging in showing me what to do when I’m stuck, and how to go about doing it – I don’t know where I’d be. Firstly, my Mother is absolutely wonderful at subjects such as Calculus and History, so whenever I have trouble with anything of the like, I ask my mother first. Since she gets home rather late, it is difficult for me to plan accordingly but I do my best. When I have trouble with, say, differentiation that I have no clue how to do, she immediately steps up to the plate and answers the question with such ease. She then continues to not only show me how to get the correct answer, but also makes sure that I understand it and will even make up problems on the spot to make sure that I am perfectly content with her response. When it comes to History, my Mom has a minor in it (it makes sense, as people who usually major in Psychology take History as well.). I usually ask her to help me with the Review Questions from AP World History PoRs,

48: and it’s quite amazing how she not only tells me the right answer instantly but also supports that answer with more facts from the time period and will also take the liberty to get me things like Review Books and Vocabulary cards. She’s also actively engaged in things like when my AP exams are, so she’ll make sure I’m on track. The next great thing that my Mom does that I’m extremely thankful for is when she teaches me how to be organized. She’s always been a extremely busy person, and being as she’s in the Army it’s obvious that she knows how keep calm and organized. I guess some of this must have rubbed off onto me, if not then drilled into me when I was younger. I remember when I started 6th grade – since I’m the oldest in my house, it was the first time my Mom had experienced something like this, so she put her full effort into making sure I knew what I was doing. 1 month before school started, while I was on vacation, she organized everything for me including binders, folders, pencils, makers, sharpies and so many other extremely useful things. Needless to say I was breath taken when I came back to see my room completely cleaned up and everything school related was ready for me to use. She then proceeded to teach me how to take notes in class, and also how not to fall asleep during class (not that it would happen anyway). She has been truly inspirational in my life, and I can only hope to one day become as successful and smart as her.

49: My Mom, Dad, and Cousins

50: Influence 7: School

51: Without knowledge, a man has no power or influence in society. This was quite a big problem ‘way back when’ for the United States and definitely still a problem for many third world countries today. Luckily, I don’t have this problem; I have a school to go to, and while I sometimes take it for granted, it truly is a blessing in disguise. I don’t know where I’d be without School, considering that it takes up a majority of my time and teaches me practically everything I know. Regardless, I would definitely not be in a happier place then I am now. This is because School happens to be a major influence in my life; it gives me two essential things that let me live my life to the best of my ability. These are: Knowledge, and an education. Knowledge, as stated before, is the back bone of today’s society. Without it, one is left powerless and practically useless. There is a problem, however, with Knowledge as it is nearly infinite. One cannot hope to know every single thing in the world and to understand all that information is nearly impossible. School is very lenient with this, as it gives you the option to choose what classes you want to take, therefore giving you the knowledge that you want. I try to use this to the best of my ability, selecting classes that I’m interested in but at the same time not focusing on a purely academic stance. One of the greatest things about selecting the classes that I want, and not letting Loudoun Country mandate which classes I have to take (although they do do this to some degree; all

52: students must take 4 years of an English class) is that these classes are extremely practical in my day to day life. Math, for instance, is one of these practicalities; I use it every single day. Since I’m a programmer, and I frequent it as a hobby, math is invaluable. It allows me to do complex series, but also for simple tasks such as allowing me to rename all the files on a computer into hexadecimal (the april fool’s day prank I played on my family). Another example of a practical class in school would be Band. As stated in my previous essays, I love music, not just hearing it but also being able to play it. Since I’m in a band class, I practice playing my instrument every single day, and it’s truly a benefit to keeping me occupied. School also provides a very subtle blessing in disguise that most people don’t exactly want to think about. If I’m in School throughout the day, I’m being kept occupied and in an extremely safe environment, such that if I wasn’t in school during this time period I would resort to doing anything to keep me entertained. While this is obviously bad, there are so many levels as to how wrong this could go. The most harmless would be me teaching myself, the only real loss is that I don’t have standardized testing, and I don’t have any safety. But the worst possible scenario of me not being in school, is for me to resort to committing crime or doing any other bad activities to keep me entertained. I’m truly grateful for School to do this. In conclusion, school has played an amazing role as an influence in my life. It has helped me (and is still helping me) interact with the world in ways I’ve never seen before, and has limitless practical applications. Since I’m able to choose my classes in school I can choose exactly what I want to do, therefore making it a lot more enjoyable. My education also isn’t just ‘by the book’ and follows strict rules that are completely unfair; I’m given plenty of opportunities in class to talk and hang out with my friends. It also keeps me occupied throughout the day, preventing me from doing any sort of ‘bad’ activities. Overall, it’s played a key role in my life and without it I’d literally have nothing else (save a few exceptions) to do.

53: Me and Eddie were messing around wish circuits in Physics - the leniency of Dr.Mason is amazing.

54: Influence 8 - My Friends

55: Of all the people in this world that I can call “close”, it would have to be sorted into two categories: my family (those who I keep extremely dear to me) and my friends (these are chosen over time, and gradually become closer and close to me). My family influences me every day, as seen in all of the essays beforehand; however my friends influence me the most. First off, what is a friend? In my definition, a friend is someone who you’ve been talking to, whether it is for a long or short period of time, that you can express with freely. Friends don’t judge, and they don’t decide whether you are right or wrong, they are there to help you get through what you are doing. Of course, this should be a mutual respect. They are your allies at anything you do, and you can count on them to support you for what you want to do. Most importantly, they can hold secrets and give good advice. Obviously, the next question would be, “where do I meet these friends?” Well as a student, I spend 99% of my time in School, and do all my daily interactions (for the most part) in school. Therefore, for the time being, I’m constricted to meeting every single of my friends in school. When one thinks about it, this isn’t really a bad thing; if I spend all my time in school, and I meet a friend there, I can count on them to take the tedium out of school and actually make it more enjoyable. I personally even got luckier than that, because my friends actually not only make my life more enjoyable, but also influence me – that is, teach me lessons and guide me throughout whatever I have to do.

56: I met my first friend when I came to the United States in 2001 (right after 9/11), I couldn’t have been more than 6. I started First Grade immediately (I had argued to skip kindergarten, as my education in India had proven to be far superior than in the United States), but it dawned on me immediately that I was the odd one out of the class. I was, “that one kid” who didn’t want to watch movies or play with the toys, rather actually learn and study. This was quite interesting to my teacher, so she introduced me to another kid who was going through the same problem, his name was Souraj. Long story short, me and Souraj had so many similarities it’s not even funny, and to this day I still talk to him. We decided to go separate ways when he got accepted into TJHSST and wanted to further his academic endeavors. Again, I still maintain contact with him, but of all the friends I’ve had, I can call him my best friend and my greatest influential friend. Back in first grade, Souraj and I always used to go to each other’s houses after school and do homework. We would help each other with any difficulties we had, and make sure that we were always in pace with the class. Because of this, he instilled extremely great work habits into me that I still use to this day. For example, when we got stuck on hard mathematics problems (back then, 3 digit multiplication was ‘hard’), he would take his finger and pretend he was moving the numbers around. Now, whenever I get stuck on some differentiation problem, by instinct I actually take my finger and pretend that I am moving the entire equation around, and not only that – it helps me solve the problem! This is just one of the examples Souraj has helped influence me, there are at least 10 more that I can remember, and they all won’t fit in this essay. I’m still influenced by my friends today, just not as much. Duy Ngyuen and Eddie Yue are the ones that keep me on track. To them, I’m the guy that likes to have fun, and they appreciate this but they do very well in making sure I do what I’m supposed to do and limit my time doing things like playing Minecraft or LoL.

57: The Class of 2013 - Who I can consider friends

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  • By: danyas s.
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  • Title: The Influences of My Life
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  • Started: over 5 years ago
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