1/19/2009Written by Ron Centeno
When I came to America twelve years ago, I could barely write a paragraph, much less, an essay. I needed to find a job quickly and landed into some odd ones that did not require writing at all. So what the heck?
From downtown Los Angeles where I worked to Pasadena where lived, I had to commute using the Metro Bus. One of my last remaining stops would be in front of Border’s bookstore along Lake Avenue. Alone in my rented room, I had to while away my time at the store until 11:00 p. m. That routine became a daily fixture.
Inside the bookstore, I got hooked with books on American and World History, U. S. Government, U. S. Foreign Policy, World Economy, and all things about America and the rest of the world. Three years later, oozing with false confidence, I found myself seated in the political science classes at the California State University, Northridge. Eventually, I earned my B. A. degree leading to International Relations as my concentration. The following year, I went to University of Maryland, University College to earn my MBA degree in Management.
Throughout those years, writing has been an integral part of my daily existence. For the most part, however, the early part in particular, I dreaded the thought of having to write about anything. I recalled the last time I grabbed a pen to write some sentences were a decade earlier prior to my initial stint at Northridge. Without recourse, I had to force myself into it only to satisfy the college writing requirement. There was no turning back, I thought - and the agony was simply irreversible.
I had to work at night and go to school during the day. The bus became a convenient mode for my reading. For more than an hour trip from home to work, the bus became an extension of my study room. Short of English vocabularies, a dictionary became my constant companion. Having to memorize as many words as I could was not enough, however. Putting those words into correct form was daunting. The newspaper editorials were my most invaluable resources that helped me reach my academic goal.
I do not claim that I have perfected the art of writing. That’s absurd to even imagine. And I am far from being one. To this date I tussle with the complexities on how to write correctly. One the one hand, the need for constant practice might perhaps work wonders to at least provide some necessary betterment.
Today, I can insist with enough fortitude that my long trepidation in writing is now put to rest. Well, not totally. But unlike my earlier semesters at Northridge, I no longer dread to write.