This I believe

My name is Adam Al-ibraheem and I believe in reading.

I believe that reading is the key to learning whatever one wants or needs in order to achieve almost any goal one sets for him or herself.

When I was younger, my father came to visit me from Kuwait during the summer between my sophomore and junior years in high school. My father would call me in the morning and request that I pick him up from a bookstore around the Dayton mall area. Usually later on in the afternoon, I would show up at Barnes and Noble or Borders, in order to meet up with him for the day.

I would always find my father in the café drinking hot tea with a stack of books he had found within the store. Meeting him like this went on for a few days until finally I asked him: “Why are you always at the bookstore? That’s so boring, why don’t you go to the mall or see a movie?”

My father responded “Oh my son Adam, I love to read; I read all the time. Did you know I have my own personal library that has the biggest selection of books in Kuwait?”

I told him that I did not believe him; he then asked me what I was interested in.

I told him that I wished I wasn’t so shy, and that I was more outgoing and able to talk with anyone effortlessly.

My father laughed and then said, “My son, the bookstore offers all kinds of different books from physics to psychology, to astrology and such. Did you know that there is an entire section of books on how to communicate more effectively?”

I was shocked and told him that I was unaware of this.

My father then said: “A bookstore has all kinds of different books to choose from and you can learn all kinds of different things. I know of a good book that I believe may help you to become a better communicator, I believe it is called ‘How to Win Friends and Influence’ or something like that…let us go and see if they have it.”

The book my father was talking about was actually Dale Carnegie’s, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

I began to read that book and devoured it in one night. I think I read the entire book three more times within one week.

My father left a few weeks later, but left me with one of the most valuable lessons: the joy of reading. Because of that small event 10 years ago, you can now find me at the local bookstore with a large stack of books as well.

Since I learned about the joy of reading, I have utilized the knowledge I acquired from books, I am no longer shy and can communicate to strangers in a relaxed manner. I, too, also have a large collection of books in my house — just as my father said he did. I will never forget that experience he shared with me 10 years ago.

My name is Adam Al-ibraheem and I believe in reading.

 

Students are welcome to submit their own “This I believe” writing pieces.

The Clarion is open to other student-written opinion pieces that may have been written for a class. 

If interested, submit your piece to [email protected]

If submitted, we reserve the right to edit the writing piece before it is published. Students should also keep in mind that submission does not guarantee publication.

This I believe

This opinion piece was contributed by a Sinclair Community College student who is currently enrolled in a public speaking class.

 

My name is Kristi Castle, and I have learned to believe in forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not an easy task to do and it does not come naturally to many people. I have been through some rough times in my life, and before learning to forgive, I held on to the anger that loved ones had caused.

Growing up, my mother was an alcohol and prescription drug addict.

I could stand here for hours telling you how embarrassing that is to admit, and how embarrassing it was to live with. I know she did not do it to embarrass me, but that she had other issues that she was running from.

A week before my high school graduation, I moved out of my parent’s house because I hated my mom so much for what she had done to me my whole life. She missed sports games and didn’t pick us up from school, among other things that she didn’t do because of her addiction.

My mom was not the only one in my family that caused me great anger. My little brother got addicted to drugs in his teen years and created much turmoil. He stole anything that was of any value from me, including some jewelry that my late grandmother had given to me, all to support his drug addiction. I will never see those things again, and for years I resented him for what he had done. He went to prison for four years and for the first two years, I did not go to see him because of all of the anger I still held on to — all the things I would not forgive him for.

It was two years ago when my dad fell ill and was in the hospital that I learned to forgive. See, my dad forgave my mom and brother every day. He didn’t like the things they did, but knew that he still loved them and it was worth letting go of the anger.

My mom quit drinking two years ago. Since then, I have forgiven her and my brother for all they have done. I learned that this life is too short to hold grudges over stupid things like anger. After letting go of the bottled up anger and resentment, I now feel so much happier as a person. Today, I can say that they both are well and addiction free and our family lives a much happier life together.

My name is Kristi Castle, and I believe in forgiveness.

 

Students are welcome to submit their own “This I believe” writing pieces.

The Clarion is open to other student-written opinion pieces that may have been written for a class. 

If interested, submit your piece to [email protected]

If submitted, we reserve the right to edit the writing piece before it is published. Students should also keep in mind that submission does not guarantee publication.

Fighting tooth and nail

Commentary

 

October is not only known as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it is also Dental Hygiene Month. To some of you, that may not mean anything in particular — but to me, dental hygiene has taken on a whole new meaning, evoking a lot of determination in the past 11 years of my life.

I have always had trouble with my teeth. When I was young, one of my front baby teeth never came in and almost all of my teeth were crooked and were in places they did not belong. My mom had always wanted me to have the perfect smile that most strive for and so I was sent to my first orthodontist appointment at the age of 11.

One of the first things my orthodontist said to me when I met him was, “This is going to take a lot of hard work.”

I did not know then that by hard work he meant more than a decade’s worth.

In the beginning process, I had to get six teeth pulled out before I was even able to have braces put on. For some unknown reason I decided to have this done one week before Thanksgiving. I was excited about having braces at a young age and I wanted them on as soon as possible.

But after about a month, a week or so before Christmas, I went through what most go through when first getting braces. The nasty taste of metal in your month, the newfound pain of headaches from your teeth moving to places they have never been before and the intensive brushing ritual that I have perfected over the years. But for some reason, that was not enough to make the process shorter.

I was never late to my appointments and I did all that I was instructed to do. I was content until I started noticing that my other friends from school were getting their braces off within two years or less.

I went through multiple surgeries where I had to have teeth brought down from my gums because they were not moving quickly enough and transparent teeth (teeth switched in position) on the bottom and yet I still, after more than half of my life, am going through the process of getting all the gaps in my teeth taken care of.

After 10 years with the same orthodontist, he suddenly quit.

I was not only enraged, but also let down. I now have a new orthodontist who seems knowledgeable and more than willing to have me as a patient.

A lot of people I know question me on what I will get out of this experience besides a perfect smile. My answer is that I have acquired a newfound determination to question everything and make sure I am getting the best for myself.

One thing I do want to know after all of this though — is 11 years of patience considered to be a virtue?

 

Teaching inside the Dayton Correctional Institution

Did you know you could make a gun out of a bar of soap? Or a usable key from a tuna can? No? Neither did I. But these are some of the first things I learned when I went to prison—well, I wasn’t incarcerated, but I did visit twice a week.

In the fall of 2010, I jumped at the chance to teach interpersonal communication, a common general education course, at DCI. I have certainly learned how to bend the course material to fit inside the prison barbed wire fences. The facility has a limited number of classrooms and even more limitations in the computer lab and library, but it has been worth every adjustment. Sinclair students at DCI are much like our students on campus: interested to learn, struggling with personal issues, and surprised to learn so much.

I was elated when most of the spring quarter students excelled in a difficult writing assignment. I mentioned it to colleagues and friends only to hear them laugh and say, “Well, they should! They have lots of time to study and read.” But the reality is that’s not true. These women—some young mothers, some grandmothers—work eight-hour jobs, take more than one class and stand in lines to use a computer just to type an assignment. We believe it’d be a long day in prison, but the most active inmates are working and volunteering and exercising and attending chapel services, as well as participating in the required classes for their rehabilitation. Every interaction requires standing in a line: buying food from the commissary, eating lunch, drying laundry, accessing medication, requesting a sweatshirt for cooler weather, making a short phone call, or visiting a loved one.

Despite the large number of women incarcerated at the facility, interactions between the women are friendly. But the women hide most emotions since a tough exterior is required to live a decent day inside the walls. However, when I develop trust in the classroom between the women and myself, I am delighted to hear them share stories of their personal life, their self-concept, and their determination to leave and not return. This kind of talk is not typical and is kept quiet. These students do not take this opportunity lightly. They appreciate all the time devoted for a faculty member to get into the gates, understand “the system” and become familiar with the environment and jargon.

Some may ethically believe inmates should not be able to benefit from a college course, but until someone meets them and believes the mistakes made by the prisoner could have been their own, they should reserve judgment. I will continue to teach at the prison; it has been rewarding in ways I don’t experience on campus. Maybe it’s because I see them wearing the same outfit day after day or because I know they have not seen their family in years. I can see their entire campus from north to south from the parking lot, but I sense the course concepts are running strong through their minds. They will use the skills from the course as they are released back into the world with $75 and a box of belongings, hopeful to use their time for something more valuable than carving soap and making illegal keys.

To increase the speed limit or not to

Ohio lawmakers propose to increase the speed limit to 70 miles per hours on interstates –five miles per hour above what the speed limit is now.

Why should icreasing the speed limit be so hard? Today, drivers typically drive five to 10 miles over the speed limit anyway.

As students we should be elated about the speed increase, we can get to our destination a lot quicker without having to worry about being tremendously late.

We don’t have a problem with getting to where we need to be a lot faster. Plus, we can navigate around those pesky slow drivers.

With the speed increase, many will take advantage and still drive way over the speed limit. Those who are hesitant about the increase cite that car crashes will increase, but no matter what speed you are going fatalities of the road can still happen.

The problem arises when a driver is going 70 and another is driving 60 miles per hour. The risk of crash-related fatalities increases because of the slower driver, so if everyone is traveling at the higher speed, there’s less risk of suddenly coming up to a slower car and plowing into its rear end.

But accidents do happen.

And so when you’re coming up on a slow driver, we suggest moving into the adjacent lane and passing him or her. There is no point in risking someone plowing into your bumper because of that slow driving 90-year-old.

Many students feel that the speed increase is necessary in certain areas, mainly Interstate 75 due its high level of traffic, but not within the city or local traffic area.

Others have expressed concern that faster speeds means that brakes and tires have to be in optimal condition because the faster you go the hotter the tires get. Not only will having perfectly good tires be a problem, but also an increase in fuel consumption will ensue.

A bill that would raise speed limits on Ohio Interstate highway passed a State House committee with bipartisan support. A similar bill stalled last year in the Senate.

For now, we all have to suffer and drive 65 miles per hour, until the bill is passed.

But always remember, regardless of the speed limit, you will receive a ticket for going 10 to 15 miles over the limit.

The smaller things

Now that the holidays are over, the joy that we often feel dissipates. The Christmas tree gets put away; some presents go unused and life returns to normalcy.

But the Clarion wonders: are joy and happiness fleeting or are they something that we find within ourselves? And if joy and happiness are fleeting, how do we gain it for ourselves?

For the Clarion, we find that it is the smaller things in life that brings the joy and happiness back into our lives. It may be the wide toothy smile from a child, a call from an old forgotten friend or admiration from a mentor. All of these possibilities can cause us to have a better outlook on the day because it brings a smile to our faces.

Think of the times in your life when you have been the happiest or you were having a bad day and something out of the blue brought a smile to your face. It could have been the kindness of a stranger holding the door open for you, inviting a new student at Sinclair to lunch or merely giving someone paper and a pen to write with.

All of these things are small and are quite inexpensive because it doesn’t take much to show someone who may be having a bad day some kindness.

Appreciating the smaller things in life may not be included on your new year’s resolution, but try it out for a while. It will prove very beneficial because not only are you improving someone else’s life, you are improving your own life as well.

Just recently, one of us at the Clarion forgot his wallet before buying food. An employee of the Main Street Café said that the food could be eaten, if the money was brought to pay for the food later.

It was this simple act of sympathy that was needed to get through what seemed like a bad day.

What better gain in this world than somebody who can cheer you up when you’re having an off day?

I implore of you to communicate with someone who seems upset or saddened, share your notes with a classmate and say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when someone does something nice for you.

Who knows you may be the only example of kindness that person will see that day. And in the midst of your darkest days, you will think of the kindness you’ve shown to others and possibly, smile.