To The Teacher Who Challenged Me

To The Teacher Who Challenged Me

It was difficult at the time, but thank you.
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To the teacher who pushed me past my limits,

I entered your class early in high school, still bright eyed and ambitious. I had always done well in your subject and was excited. This did not last long. My favorite subject soon became the one I dreaded the most. This began when I received my first essay back from you. I received 65. Never in my life had I expected to see a grade that low on a piece of writing, because writing had always come easily to me.

Then we had our first vocabulary quiz. That grade was a little bit higher, but not by much. I teetered between a C and a B minus all semester. I went from a straight A student, to a student struggling to maintain that C all semester. I did not know what I was doing wrong, but at that point I lost all ambition to try because I felt like no matter what I did, I would receive a low grade. For that, I am truly sorry.

I am not just apologizing to you, but also to myself. I know that if I put the effort in, I would have enjoyed the class and done well. In a sense, this class taught me more than the classes I excelled in. You did not just let me skate by with halfway decent work. You saw me reaching the next level that I did not even know existed. I was able to get through classes in this subject without even trying before, but you wanted more from me.

I used to be able to write a paper about an article or chapter that I had not read, but that was not the case in your class- more than I deemed myself capable of. I remember how excited I got when I earned a B plus on a paper. It was the highest grade I received on a piece of my writing in your course. I think it was at that moment I realized that I could turn it around and I earned a B for the semester.

I struggled, plain and simple. I lost all ambition to study or try on assignments. Quizzes that could have been easy A’s were B’s and C’s. Out of all of the challenging upper level courses that I enrolled in during high school, none of them met the level of difficulty that this one did. It did not make sense to me. Those classes contained harder content, but this one challenged me the most. I do not think it was the class. I believe it was the fact that I did not believe I could do well. You did, and your comments on my assignments were geared toward me improving, but I never took advantage of them. I went into the next level of this subject the next year with a sense of fear, but I left that course with a high grade. That also made no sense to me at the time.

Even though I did not put all of my effort into this course, I learned more than I could have ever expected. I learned a lot about myself. Sure, this is a course that had come naturally to me for many years, but I could not just skate by. There is always room to grow and improve if you are willing to try. This lead me to try harder than ever before the following year. I applied your critiques and words of encouragement. It might have been a year late, but I did it. My senior year, I enrolled in the AP course and earned college credit for my freshman year of college. I owe it all to you. It was not the lessons you taught me about the course itself, but rather, the lessons you taught me about myself. I am able to improve and the limit of my abilities is boundless. With a little bit of effort, ambition, and confidence, I can do anything.

Thank you,

Your former student
Cover Image Credit: Clip Art Fest

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Behind-The-Scenes With TIM VO

A behind-the-scene look on what goes on during my shoots— from start to finish…

Tim Vo
Tim Vo
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After a long day at school, I usually get home around 3PM and the first thing I do once I get back to my apartment is pop open my laptop and pull up all the files that I need to edit. By "editing" files, I'm not talking about editing that rough draft essay for my Philosophy class (that is due in two days). Rather, I begin my process of selecting the best 50 images from a roll of 2,000 shots that I took from a recent shoot. Once those special 50 are picked out, only about 2-4 (if I'm lucky) will be featured in a professional model's portfolio book…

That's a day in the week for me (in a nutshell), however, the real question is where and how do I even begin the process! To be very candid with you, it can be hard and very grueling at times especially if you're trying to complete a full-time course load and complete those darn GEs left. To save y'all the huge paragraph on what goes on in my collaborations with modeling agencies, I just decided to systematically list out the steps on what planning a TEST shoot entails:

1. I reach out to the model agency agent via email to ask them if I could collaborate with their new face development models (basically new girls who were recently signed and need images to boost their portfolio)

2. The agent kindly provides me with a model in need of shots and from there, the work and planning begins!

3. MOOD BOARD: This is the first piece of information that I send and it is usually a compilation of inspiration pictures that I would like to integrate into my shoot. Whether that would mean the location, outfits, or makeup— the whole point of a mood board is to give everyone participating in the test shoot a very clear idea/ direction on the shoot.

4. CALL SHEET: The last and final piece of information that I send, which is basically a PDF file that contains the location/ date/ time/ and participants of the shoot. In other words, it is a formal information sheet that condenses everything everyone needs to know for the shoot!

5. Good luck on shoot day! Most importantly, have lots of fun and make the most out of it!

Tim Vo
Tim Vo

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