Spring, and other fascinating topics

I think Spring is, hand’s down, the best season ever. Everything is green and fresh and just being outside fills one with boundless joy.

I titled this post “spring” but I’m mostly going to be talking about what’s going on in my everyday life. My life slowly plodded along in the winter, but with the dawn of spring came a renewed burst of energy. Hurrah!

I finally have something to do every afternoon, Monday through Friday. And let me tell you, I love being busy. Especially with my own little car to zip around from place to place in. Especially since it’s spring.

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday there is After School Program for the kids who live in the trailer park behind my Aunt and Uncle’s Church. Let me tell you, those Hispanic kids just burrow their way into your heart.

I don’t know if you remember my post on Andrea a couple weeks back, but she is one of the ASP kids. She still has struggles. Often she absolutely refuses to go where you tell her to, and sometimes I find her crying by herself in a corner. It breaks my heart.

Tuesday and Thursday, from 12:30-2:30, I help teach English as a Second Language to Arabs in the area. Sometimes I do assistant teaching, sometimes childcare for children of the students. This also takes place at my Aunt and Uncle’s church so I just stay there when I’m done, and around 3:00 people start arriving for ASP.

Wednesdays there is a Backyard Bible Club at Merryweather Hills, which is an apartment complex in Harrisonburg where many immigrants live. We have kids of all backgrounds that come to this Bible Club, but it’s harder to get close to them cause I only see them once a week, as opposed to the ASP kids. However there are two girls, Dania and Julia, that I know very well because they come to English as a Second Language classes with their mothers quite often.

And Fridays…drumroll please…I have begun tutoring!

Sandy, the lady in charge of the After School Program, approached me the other week wondering if I could tutor a little girl who was flunking kindergarten. The girl, Jehirah, goes to the after school program but I hadn’t spent a lot of time with her previously.

So last Friday I took her to the library after school and worked on letters and colors with her. She was really scared at first, but by the end I was her best friend. Now she attaches herself to me at ASP.

“I have a lip,” she told me the other day.

“You do?” I asked, a bit confused as to her meaning.

“I have two lips! Wanna see?” she said, tugging at my hand.

“Sure,” I said, as she led me over to her backpack.

She pulled out two tubes of lip gloss. “See? Two lips!”

Mornings are still very bare, but I’ve been using that extra time to study for an SAT! My biggest dream right now is to go to college, and of course the first step towards that goal is doing an SAT. I signed up to take it on May 1, so now I’m working on it an hour a day.

However, today it was over three hours that I worked on it. My  SAT study guide has a diagnostic test that you give yourself so that you can see what your areas of weakness are. It takes about three and a half hours to do, but I hadn’t done a quarter of that before it was glaringly obvious what my area of weakness was: math.

I was pretty good at reading comprehension and writing skills, but my math skills were virtually non-existant. Often I would look at a problem with little to no idea of how one would go about solving it. Sometimes I solved the problem using lengthy round-about experiments, while other times I just had to skip them.

I seriously haven’t done math for three years. Yikes.

But hey, I have so many empty mornings, what’s to keep me from studying math now?

I want to go to college so bad.

So there you have it: an account of my day-to-day schedule. Although it’s all volunteer, so I’m still very much financially dependent on my parents, there is something lovely and satisfying about having the opportunity to devote myself to volunteering.

10 responses to “Spring, and other fascinating topics

  1. so cool Emily. Just so cool


  2. All that activity sounds like a lot of fun! (And will give you valuable experience to put on your college applications.)

    About the SAT test–if you don’t have time to learn all the math, don’t guess when you take the test. Instead, for every answer you aren’t sure about, check a pre-determined letter (like only A or only B, etc.) Statistically that gives you a better chance of getting a few correct than if you randomly pick an answer every time.

    And remember, you can always retake it later if you aren’t satisfied with your first score!


  3. Yes, that is very cool that you get to help with all that tutoring! Excellent experience…and very satisfying…and awesome opportunity to invest in people’s lives and point them to Jesus!

    I’m happy for you!


  4. Good for you, Emily! Your time with the children sounds very worthwhile. They will treasure these times with you.Good luck on preparing for your SAT! I hope your dream of going to college comes true! Praying for ya.


  5. Naomi, I don’t follow your reasoning. If there are four choices and Emily determines to choose A on every question she doesn’t know, she’ll have a 25% chance of answering correctly. If she randomly chooses one of the four answers, she has the same probability of success. This assumes that 1) the correct answers are distributed evenly across choices; and 2) Emily is a good randomizer (that she will choose any of the four choices with equal probability). Am I missing something?


  6. Bryan,

    Yes, I’m assuming #1–that correct answers are distributed evenly. Obviously the test designers may not use that model; however, it’s a test-taking strategy I’ve read about in test prep materials. I think of it like two hikers being separated in the woods: if one stays in one spot, there’s a greater chance of being reunited than if both are wondering around.

    Of course no strategy beats actually learning the material.


  7. But I did the calculation, and the probability of a correct answer is the same either way.


  8. Hmm. Interesting.


  9. Byran,

    Consider the fact that human tendency goes into creating tests. You tend not to want to put the correct answer where it will be easily discovered. As a result, most tests have more B and C correct answers, than A and D correct answers. For years, C was overused as the most likely answer. People became aware of that, and now B is the new C. Many public school teachers and folks like that will tell you this. Statistically speaking, you were right. Realistically speaking, I have my doubts. Clear as mud?


    • I think I’ve heard that too, about C being the most likely answer. But I’d be surprised if a standardized exam like the SAT had answers distributed unevenly; maybe it’s true. I guess the bottom line is, if you have no clue at all, it’s certainly not a bad strategy to always guess the same letter. That will give you as good a chance as any.


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