Do you remember elementary school? I do. One thing I remember is that I was not part of the "in" crowd, or any other crowd for that matter. When the whole class played dodge ball, I was usually one of the last ones out. Not because I was better than most, but because it didn't matter to anyone whether I was there or not. The only time anyone bothered to throw at me was when there was no one else to throw at.
I used to think that I was somebody. That is, until one day in grade school, when I spoke to one of the most popular girls in the class. I don't remember what I said to her, but I'll never forget what she said to me. She told me that I was ugly. That did it, with just a few words she had managed to crush my third grade ego. I went into the boy's room wanting to cry, but instead, looked into the mirror and concluded that she was right. After that I became a loner. I didn't want anyone to have a friend as ugly as I was.
Although I didn't see it for years to come, this episode was the beginning of a chain of events that caused and reinforced my shyness around others. I was not comfortable sharing my ideas and thoughts with my peers and my parents. I did, however, think a lot. That's something loners do. Unfortunately, what I spent most of my time thinking about was how miserable I felt because I had no friends.
While in junior high, I continued to shy away from others. I did not get involved in extracurricular activities and sat by myself at lunch time. I didn't invite anyone to come home after school, nor was I invited to anyone's home. I kept away from people, and by now I didn't even know why. I didn't give the situation any thought.
By the time I got to senior high, I was working part time in a grocery store. Working was something I adapted to easily. I was there to work. The only time I had to talk to anyone was when a customer asked a question. I could handle answering a direct question as long as the conversation went no further. Another nice thing about working was that I could afford a car. After I bought a car, I managed to come up with a few people that I considered to be my friends. We were together most of the time. I usually managed to come up with some beer and something to smoke, and we proceeded to get stoned. After we were all stoned, we would sit in the car and stare at the sky. We hardly ever talked about anything. We were together, but that was the extent of it. At least now there were people around, but these people were just as inept at conversation as I.
I didn't realize that I had a problem talking to others until later. After taking a serious look at my life, I began to see that I was afraid to be involved in casual converation. Once I came to that conclusion, I began to work on correcting the situation. Simply being aware of my circumstance has helped to remedy it. Another help has been the realization that my fear was unjustified. There is no reason to be afraid to talk to others, after all they're just people. Although I still find myself fading into the wall at times, I am now able to talk with people if I choose.
This student gets off to a pretty good start. I like the first two paragraphs. They are rich in voice and specific detail. The second paragraph establishes a "cause" for his shyness.
But in paragraph three, the writer shifts gears and begins to talk about effects. Nothing in the Bible says that you can't discuss causes and effects in the same paper, but in short papers, it is best to do one or the other. It is often impossible to deal with both causes and effects in five hundred or so words.
In short, the paper has a badly split focus. No single impression holds it together.
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