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My experience has taught me that there are numerous ways to learn. I have always been inclined to learn independently, following my grandfather’s own pursuit of knowledge. It is because of this influence that I have succeeded academically and have been enthusiastic about my interests outside the classroom.
My maternal grandfather was born in 1912. He was forced to abandon his education to help his family. He only attended school through the sixth grade. Despite this, my grandfather became somewhat of a scholar. He was a man who not only read all the classics but also sought to constantly improve himself through self-help books. I was lucky enough to receive the benefit of his knowledge during the time he lived with my family. With his help, I quickly learned how to read. He read to me every day and even made flash cards to help me study. His love of reading is shared by my whole family and its effect can be seen throughout the house – there is not a single room in my home without a book. My teachers have always been impressed with how well-read I am and I know that my love of literature originated from my grandfather.
My grandfather also instilled in me a love of languages. By his 80th birthday he could speak fluent Spanish, German, and Yiddish. He had also studied French, Polish, Italian, and Latin. I am proud to be in my sixth year of Spanish, but I still have more to learn. My grandfather’s example inspires me to continue learning, whether in school or in my personal time.
My grandfather’s love of learning was not limited to academics. He was also willing to learn new skills and to try new things. I will always remember the summer my grandfather decided to learn how to cook by working his way through all the cookbooks in the house. Each day he prepared a new dish. Not all of them were successful; even when his recipes turned out at as planned my grandfather’s cooking was not always appealing. He would focus on a section of a cookbook for weeks at a time, resulting in pork chops for dinner four out of seven nights a week. At the time my family may not have appreciated his culinary exploration, but in the end he became an accomplished cook.
By inspiring me to read and pursue my own areas of interest my grandfather has indirectly also motivated me to write and learn as much as possible. An independent spirit is the soul of my writing. I believe I inherited this spirit from my grandfather, as well as the determination to achieve my goals. Through writing I hope to share my enjoyment of life’s experiences with others, just as my grandfather did with me.
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