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New Basics

Through the years, what I learned in the years before was built

on and made stronger. As people grow, we become more aware

of ourselves and the world. At least, that is what’s expected. The best part of learning and growing is that we get to surprise ourselves. I know that when I started mucking around on blogs when I was 10, I did not think I would learn HTML or develop any type of interest in any type of coding. When I sat in Algebra 2 a few years ago, I did not think that I actually would like learning about MacLaurin’s series in junior year and spend hours doing a problem set for a college class. What I definitely could not have guessed was that I would take two English classes at the college in one semester, and that one of these English would actually focus on health and nutrition.

It came into my life at the right time. I had just read an article in Time about how much worse sugar is than scientists had previously thought and on the first day of class we were assigned to read a list of the possible health problems that come with having too much sugar. Through english, I was able to improve my overall well-being.

One of the great things about ACLC is that there are many chances to speak. I found my first outlet in the Speakeasy student paper and have stayed there to this day, running it to share the joy of writing that I had felt. During LLC’s and in-class presentations, I practiced public speaking skills. Because of these chances, I know I will not have to be frightened when I speak. ACLC helped me stand and speak comfortably.


Thinking and Reasoning Skills

The abundance of opportunity at ACLC allowed me to expand my thinking and problem solving skills. Learners are able to take advantage of many leadership positions. In many classes, presentations are required and so is leading a discussion. This requires quick thinking, which is learned as time passes. Non-traditional projects such as the physics roller coaster require using both understanding of subject matter and grasp of creative thought. When planning projects such as these, I had to visualize the end product before drafting a sketch. The problem-solving approach to learning is employed in many of the school’s science classes. For instance in biology, we had to apply problem-solving skills to case studies and act as an advisor for a fishery to decide its next environmentally responsible action. In leadership, difficulties with leading small groups and CCC assemblies constantly arise. To discuss this productively, the class applies Robert’s Rules of Order to our proceedings. Students in the class such as myself can then think on the discussion to create new solutions.


Interpersonal and Collaborative Ability

Diversity is one of the most important concepts to me as a learner. Without a rich environment, I find it difficult to think of new ideas. A mind has to be open at all times in order to generate fresh thinking. The wide range of personalities at ACLC helped me be sensitive to others needs and pick up on tensions in the situation. If a discussion becomes strained in leadership class, for instance, it is then my duty,  as the Leadership Co-Chair, to ease this tension and steer the conversation back on track. I always attempt to do the same in Socratic seminars for English class. When I notice that someone hasn’t spoken, I tend to ask them what they have to say on the current topic. During the discussion when I give my input, I phrase my thoughts without declaring them absolute. This not only shows my will to change my own mind, but encourages others to speak without putting anyone on the spot.



While ACLC is not the wealthiest in resources, we try and make good use of what we have. Without the Electronic Music class, I would never have learned how to make spacious soundtracks using nothing more than a regular keyboard and mouse. This gave me confidence to learn other programs such as Photoshop on my own. My reliance on technology at ACLC for assignments helped me in my college classes as well. English 1A was the second college class I ever took, but because it was a hybrid course, I had to stay up to date with all my work electronically without much help from a facilitator. I also had to use online programs for both of my calculus courses and am currently using one for my general chemistry class. During my internship, I utilized different modeling softwares for chemical structure and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy results.


My time at ACLC has been very valuable. I am always aware that if I had gone to a different school, these opportunities would not have been available. The warm encouraging atmosphere ease me out of my shell and be comfortable in different positions. As I look forward to the future, I know that my experience here has helped me discover my own abilities, and gave me a community that supported me.  

Personal Qualities, Work Habits, and Attitudes

I did not have a “can-do” attitude when I first came to Alameda Community Learning Center. My attitude was closer to a “must-do.” I did not feel that my days or my actions were significant. The few friends I had were the ones I was content to stick with, but after a week or two at the school, I realized I was not happy. Slowly, I tried to reach out to my classmates, hoping I could find more companionship. Being more open became easy after some people who were new to me accepted me and I became more comfortable working with others. In retrospect, it wasn’t difficult to gain other people’s friendship, I just held myself back, At the time, I did not realize that I was doing the same thing I had done so many more times before in my life: adapting. Moving between schools is not easy, but it was never a slow process for me until I came to ACLC. The school is very unique. With the exception of free periods and LLC’s, everything was new to me. It took me a long time to learn all the traditions at ACLC. I asked older learners for clarification and eventually got up the nerve to speak more often. In class, I tried to participate more in discussions and I became less afraid of talking to facilitators. Whenever I struggled with work, I felt comfortable strolling up to a facilitator or learner in the center and asking for help.

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