10,000 Hours Is A Long Time to Spend Doing Anything: How My Life Experiences Changed My Writing

10,000 hours is a long time to invest in something. I personally have invested thousands of hours already into playing video games (a sad truth, some would say), though maybe not ten thousand just yet. It is through this investment that I can learn the controls and mechanics of any video game in a matter of minutes, as compared to those who might not have as much experience and thus would take longer to get over the learning curve. This is quite different from my literacy skills due to a lack of emphasis on the honing of those skills.

There were a few events that influenced my writing life today that happened fairly recently, when I was in my high school years–mainly, my senior year. A friend of mine is currently studying to be an English professor; his writing skills at the time of our senior year were beyond what I could have ever expected from any high school student until then. His passion for writing was my motivation for improving my own ability, and so I would ask him questions and request his assistance when he was able to give it. This very friend taught me quite a bit about writing which I still implement in my everyday writing experiences.

I still retain most of my grammatical knowledge because of the extent to which I studied it in my four-year Latin program. I started my Latin program when I was a freshman in high school; because my aunt and older brothers had taken the course (both of my brothers only completed two years), I wanted to follow their leads. During the second and third years my interest faded–until I was offered the chance to attend the FJCL (Florida Junior Classical League) State Forum in Orlando, FL. My mother had only one son of four to attend this state competition, so she was very ecstatic to receive the news that I had been invited. For the next three months until April, I studied more Latin derivatives than I had ever studied before, taking numerous practice tests and meeting up with a friend who now studies Latin at FSU (he placed first in the state in his category, with a score of 49 of 50 correct). With his help and the support of the entire state team, I gained knowledge and experience of cooperation, hard work, and loving what I do.

If I had never asked my friends any questions, if I had never accepted the invitation to the State Forum, if I had given up hope in either of my language studies programs, I would most likely not have been accepted into UCF. I would have continued to work a food-service job for $3.25 an hour, living with my parents and attending part-time college for nursing or some degree other than computer science. I would not be in Orlando, studying the most widely-used technology on the second-largest campus in the United States. I would not have these profound opportunities to succeed.


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