Life Academy Perspectives: The Lessons We Have Learned

By Rattana Sot, Sophomore

To listen to the audio: Soldier Run

Soldier Run

Fingers slick with perspiration, I continue to rush through the harsh rocky terrain as the whistle of bullets echo past me. Struggling to get into cover, I dive into a prone position and crawl toward my battalion. I can hear my heart beating through my ears as mortars bombard the hard soil. I make a run from the bullets. I make a run from the blood, the pain, and the suffering. Suddenly, a message appears indistinctly in my eyesight. I focus closely and find out that it says  “ Controller one needs to be recharged.” As I turn off my PS3 and end my day’s worth of Battlefield 3, I think to myself, “ Am I really going to go around putting bullets into people? Am I really going to fight in a war when I’m grown? ”

Ever since watching movies like Full Metal Jacket and Black Hawk Down as a little kid, I’ve always wanted to be a soldier in the marines. It was not only because I’d have a gun to shoot the bad guys, but because I’d be a hero. I’d be the soldier rushing through enemy lines, leading the battle with courage. With the movies and video games we have, what five-year old boy wouldn’t want to be a soldier? To me, it was everything. War sounded easy like Call of Duty and Ghost Recon. At least that’s how it used to feel.

As a kid I would always ask my mom how her life was back in Cambodia during the war. “ War is the devil’s playground,” She would say, reminiscing about her past. “ I’ve seen so many people die. Everyday people died. Babies stabbed and shot. People suffocating and dying a slow painful death. It was my own people killing each other. Killing is not a game son.”

I know now that war is not a game. People are not fighting to be heroes. They’re fighting because they have to. People fight to protect their families and their way of life.

So do I still dream about putting bullets into people and fighting in a war to take the lives of people I’m ordered to? No I don’t. Now when I play Battlefield 3, I have a slightly different outlook. I know that when I’m firing my gun, I’m not really firing a gun. And when I’m providing cover for my squad, I’m not really providing cover. Most importantly I’ll know now that war is not a game.

With a perspective, I’m Rattana Sot

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By Alexys Pelayo, Sophomore

To listen to the audio: Man’s Best Friend

Man’s Best Friend

It’s true what people say, “dogs are man’s best friend.” I once had a mixed rottweiler that grew just a little bigger than your average chihuahua. His name was Sparkles because of his fur being all black except for a little white spot on his chest that looked like a spark from a firework. I took him in when he was no more than three weeks old, but still brought him back to his mom to be fed every day in summer. The second he walked into my house, I knew that he felt like it was home because he started wagging his tail and wanted to run around.

Sparkles was what any man would call, “the ideal dog” because he would wait for me to come back home from school every day and jump on me to show that he missed me. I would hear him cry every morning when I left for school, so it was hard for me to leave. I would take him to the park every weekend to go play and run, but he would always stay by my side. He followed me almost everywhere, even to the bathroom!

When I came home angry or sad, somehow Sparkles knew, and he would try to cheer me up. But when it came to my parents or my little brother, he would only turn around and flip his tail. He was my best friend.

That friendship all changed in one day. Right after school, my mom came to pick me up to take me to a family party, and my dad brought sparkles. I guess my dad forgot how energetic Sparkles was and let him off his leash.

Sparkles saw me coming and he ran across the street toward me through the oncoming traffic. BAM! The car hit my best friend and he didn’t even bother to stop and check. My best friend lost his life right in front of me and my smile died with Sparkles.  The feeling of seeing my little friend that was once so energetic become as active as a rock told me that it was true-DOGS ARE MAN’S BEST FRIEND.

With a perspective, I am Alexys Pelayo.

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By Lucero Pelayo, Sophomore

To listen to the audio: Just Get Back On

Just Get Back On

 “Hold on! Hold on!” is all I hear as the horse under my saddle begins violently bucking me off.

I was only 10 years old when I got a horse named Hippy. Hippy had just come down from the mountains; he didn’t know how to be around people so he would attack when anyone got too close. He had what people call in horse jargon, a pig’s eye, where you could see the white part around the eye. Horses don’t usually have eyes like that so it looked creepy. He was dirty with really long tangled hair, which is why he was named hippy. Hippy was a beast.

When we started training Hippy, it was a fight every single day. My dad would spend two hours just trying to saddle him up and calming him down. The first time he was ridden he nearly killed my god brother.

When my dad told me to get on Hippy, I was terrified. I got on this beast and immediately he started bucking. I wanted to get off but my dad said no. That first ride with Hippy was a battle to not hit the ground.

After a while, we began gaining each others’ trust. He trusted me because he believed I wouldn’t hurt him, and I trusted him because I knew he never meant to hurt me. I have to admit, I was still scared when I fell, but it got easier.

I must say that I fell off Hippy a lot, but falling is part of becoming a better rider. Every time Hippy bucked there was someone telling me to hold on. I may have gotten scared, but this horse taught me that if you fall off, you just brush yourself off and get back on.

With a perspective, I’m Lucero Pelayo.

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By Laura Martinez, Sophomore

To listen to the audio: Blushing

Blushing

Pointing out the fact that I’m blushing doesn’t help at all. Whispering, “Look she’s blushing” to your neighbor makes it worse. I realize I am blushing and yes, it happens very often.

In books, girls blush and it’s “cute” because someone compliments them. But it isn’t cute because I’m sure that the girl wasn’t expecting it and was totally embarrassed. When I blush, I can feel all the heat rush to my face and I cannot hide it. My hair cannot be swept over my face, and I would have to put on many layers of makeup on to hide the crimson of my face. If I put my hands up to cover it, it will only draw more attention to me, which will eventually make me turn an even darker shade of pink.

I hate how my emotions are on display for everyone to see. I am already hesitant to share my feelings with others, but with blushing people can figure out pretty quickly how I’m feeling. When one of my friends asked me about my topic on this perspectives piece I responded “Blushing” and automatically felt my face get hot. “You don’t like blushing?” he asked. “No,” I quickly answered, but I didn’t even need so say that because it was clear on my face how I was feeling.

I feel like blushing really holds me back. If I never blushed I would consider a career in entertainment. I would be an actor or a comedian because I love to talk and make people laugh, but of course, I get nervous. And when I get nervous I blush. I may feel shy and embarrassed but people wouldn’t have known if it weren’t for the signs all over my face.

My teacher also blushes and she told me that it gets better with age. I also heard of a surgery, which cures blushing. It cuts the sympathetic nerve responsible for blushing. But even as I write this I realize I am silly because blushing is one of my unique characteristics. As Charles Darwin said, “Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions.” So when I blush I have to remember, I am only human.

With a perspective, I’m Laura Martinez.

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By Jovilynn Macaraeg, Sophomore

To listen to the audio: Memory Killer

 Memory Killer

I remember the uneasy feeling at the door, the crying face of my mom, the looks of pity on the faces my aunts and uncles. I remember my older cousins holding my shoulders guiding me to a chair. I remember the ominous feeling in my gut, telling me something really bad had happened. I looked at everyone confused and afraid as I sat down on my black leather couch.

“Anak,” my mom said in a shivering voice as she walked near me. “Your dad has cancer and…” She paused, searching my face for my reaction. “He is going to have surgery next month.”  A million emotions flooded me – I pictured an end to all the memories I had with my dad. The small moments he and I had shared just laughing and talking. I remember my dad carrying a sleepy 4 years old from the car into my bed and tucking me in. I love the moment of him cooking lumpia on my birthdays. I still recall him teaching me how to ride a bike. All the memories would stop if he didn’t recover.

The small yell from my brother broke me from the swarm of memory. “Where is Dad?” I asked quietly, looking down.

“He’s in his room,” my mom replied. As I jumped up to see him and remind myself of the man behind all my memories, my mom gripped my arm. “No, give your dad some time,” she warned.

I changed directions and went to my room, avoiding the sad looks my family gave me. I crawled into my bed, hoping everything was just a bad dream.

It’s amazing how fast everything can change.  Just a minute before, I was enjoying my walk home from the park with my iPod, free of cares. The summer trip to San Diego changed into a stay home vacation with visits from far away family. My martial arts classes were canceled to spend time with my dad. New healthier food came into the fridge. My dad takes surveys on how he is doing and carries a medical device on a strap around his waist. Today, my dad is recovering, slowly growing his hair back. Now I’m thankful that new memories are being made, the memory of him teaching me how to drive.

Memories are meant to be made with everyone; you never know when you might lose them until they are actually gone. So make the best on how you live and live life to the fullest.

With a perspective, I’m Jovilynn.

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