Narrative 2


Lyrical Essay: Sun

There was always a part of me that was trying to listen to people when they were talking, but I still haven’t figured out why I’ve never been able to do it. I mean really do it though, thoroughly. Like listen to people when they’re talking to me. What can I say? I am a teenage boy with a short attention span. Ever since my dad died, it has just been my mom and I and staring at our phones all the time which was apparently my new favorite thing to do. My mom is always telling me that I am young and need to live my life in the real world. What does that even mean? How is the real world different than what’s on my phone? Whatever, I’m a bit too tired to linger on such an insignificant topic. Just as I put my phone down and started my homework after school, I heard a knock on my door.

“Hi Jake, it is time for your appointment with Dr. Miller!” my mom said.


My mom’s friend managed to get me a therapist that only talks to a few clients but was willing to work with me at a cheaper price because of our connection and so of course, my mother could not resist.

“Jake, it’s time for your appointment, go straight down the hallway and its the third room on the right.” the nurse said.

My mom was chatting with me about school, or at least she was trying to. The therapist walked through the door.

“Dr. Miller, how are you?” my mom asked as she was elbowing me to put my phone down.

“I’m doing well….and Jake, how are you doing?” the doctor asked.

At that moment, I just started to lift my head to make eye contact with him.

“I’m doing pretty well, thank you for asking.” I said with a smile on my face.

“Do you want your mom to stay or to go?” the doctor asked.

“Yea, she can stay, it’s not that big of a deal.” I said.


Well I guess this was a mistake because later on my mom intervened into the conversation and spilled the beans about what was really going on in my life.

“Okay doctor, here’s everything you need to know about son. He’s feeling a bit stressed lately because of school lately but he seems to always be on his phone.” my mom said.

“Hey mom, I am a little uncomfortable with you spewing out all this information about me to a person I don’t even know that well, do you think I could actually be alone for this session? I asked.

My mom left the room, I was intimidated because I was talking to an actual doctor.

“What would you like to discuss with me Jake?” the doctor asked.

“I just feel like my face is buried in my phone all the time and I can’t really enjoy what is going on around me, you know….. in real life.” I said.

“I understand.” the doctor said.

After the session was over, I was a bit frustrated because the therapy session wasn’t very effective. I didn’t actually feel better.


Later that evening, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and after a while, my eyes started to become heavy and I thought about sleeping for a moment, that moment diminished quickly though. I put my phone down and gazed out of my window. The midnight sky took me by surprise. The stars blinking on and off like a turn signal on a car. I looked away from the window because the midnight sky started to bore me very quickly. I glanced at my phone again, but I knew, subconsciously, I wanted to stop. I needed to stop. I forced myself to turn it off completely, tossed it down on my nightstand as if I were in the midst of an intense match of hot potato, slammed my eyes shut, and fell asleep.


I drove myself over to the therapy place early and waited for my appointment with Dr. Miller to start.

“Jake, I’m sorry to inform you that your appointment will be slightly delayed, can you wait twenty minutes please?” the nurse said.

“I mean yeah I guess.” I said.

This made me feel better because I wasn’t actually sure what I was going to talk about with Dr. Miller, I had some serious butterflies in my stomach. I knew that there would be more time to look at my phone.

After about half an hour passed by, I was starting to get irritated. I asked the man at the front desk how much longer it would be before my appointment was going to begin.

“I’ll get a nurse for you sir, sorry for the inconvenience.” the receptionist said.

“Hi Jake, sorry about this, your appointment today is cancelled, however, if you’d like, there is a group therapy session starting right now, it’s for people of all ages! You might find it to be pretty helpful.”  the nurse told me.

I said yes to the appointment only because I wasn’t supposed to be home for another hour and so I thought this would be a good way to pass the time. The nurse walked me to the room where the group therapy session was happening and she was not kidding when she said there were going to be people of all ages at the session. The room was kind of bleak and lifeless. In the center of the room there were several chairs that were all set up in a way that created a circular shape, kind of like a socratic seminar. As I looked around the circle, I noticed several women that were middle aged and were all dressed similarly, twin brothers that were probably about twenty years old or so, and an old man, about seventy years old, who had a neutral expression that masqueraded his emotions. Even with a cold, hard expression like his, I could still detect wisdom shining through the nooks and crannies of his face. When the conversation initiated, and I don’t want to sound rude, but the women went on and on about their problems that just didn’t interest me at all. While they were talking endlessly, the only thing I was thinking about was either when they were going to stop talking or what notifications appeared on my phone. After what seemed like forever, the twin brothers started talking about their problems, I didn’t really know how to respond to their problems though, something about taxes and a ghost or something. I don’t really know, and I didn’t really care. My turn began and I was still unsure of what to say. Well actually, that’s not really true. I knew what I wanted to say, I was just too afraid. I didn’t want to confront my problems, I wanted to keep running away from them. However, I knew that I had to say something and I wanted my problems to go away, so I cleared my throat two times, and just started speaking.

“Hi everyone, my name is Jake and I am in high school and I’ve been distracting myself with technology so that I wouldn’t have to be so bored all the time. However, I have become a bit obsessed with my technology, going on my phone is one of the only things that keeps me from getting bored and I don’t know how to navigate it.”

After going on for a little bit about this issue, everyone in the circle seemed to validate my problem, but they didn’t really know how to respond or give me constructive advice. The most frustrating part of it though was that man, that old man who was the only person not saying anything and making me uncomfortable. I had made up my mind about all of these people that I never wanted to see them again, but this old man meant the least to me out of all them. I couldn’t wait to launch out of my chair and never see his face again. That piercing, judgemental, stare. I could barely shake it off. When it was the old man’s turn, I was honestly so unsure of what he was going to say. He sat up straight and captured the attention in the room.

“Hello, everyone, my name is Quinn Cooper. I served in the Vietnam War back in the day and I am experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

I felt pretty bad, I made a judgement about this man before I knew anything about him. But still, the Vietnam war, wow. I don’t think I would’ve been able to handle that at my age. After the therapy session, I started walking to my car and since it was pretty loud, I wasn’t sure if I was hearing this properly, but I could’ve sworn that I had just heard a voice in the distance.

“Jake!” the voice repeated.

I looked around the parking lot and Mr. Cooper, the old man from the therapy session approached me.

“Hi sir, can I help you? By the way, I would like to thank you for serving in the Vietnam war, I can’t even begin to imagine what that was like.” I said tentatively.

“Thank you Jake, it was pretty horrific. But that isn’t why I came over here. I wanted to inform you that I can help you with your problem.” Mr. Cooper said.

I had forgotten about my minor issues for a while after hearing Mr. Cooper talk about his experience in the Vietnam war. I mean, not to compare, but my problems involve my ability to look away from my phone, but his problem at my age was having to worry about staying alive during one of the most tumultuous times in American history.

“I’m confused, how can you help me?” I asked

“It would require us to drive around for a little bit.” Mr. Cooper said.

I was a bit freaked out, Vietnam war veteran or not, this guy wanted to get in a car with me so we could go for a ride? I don’t think so.

“I would love to sir, but I have so much homework and I need to get home.” I said.

“Look kid, I’m not a crazy psycho-killer if that’s what you’re worried about. Mr. Cooper said.

There was a look in his eye that was too sincere to pass up and so I reluctantly agreed. We got in my car and started driving.

“Okay kid, lets get on the highway.” Mr. Cooper said.

I wasn’t sure where we were going but I just went with it. You might be thinking that this was a bad choice, looking back though now though, I have absolutely no regrets.

“Alright kiddo, we are just going to drive for a while and I’ll tell you when to exit. Before we talk about you, I’d like to share my experience. For starters, when I was in high school, I had vastly different problems. For starters, I was drafted and shipped to Vietnam shortly after my eighteenth birthday and for the most part, I was scared to death but I knew that I was serving my country and that this was an honorable thing to do.” Mr. Cooper said.

“Wow Mr. Cooper, that’s amazing, I don’t think I would ever have the courage to do something like that. You’re a hero.” I said.

“Yes Jake, thank you, thing is, I don’t really feel like a hero. I watched a lot of people I knew in the war get shot and killed in front of my own eyes. It was a time in my life that I will never be able to unsee, no matter how hard I try. The worst part of it was that so many young lives were lost on both sides and all of it for an unworthy cause. It sickens me to this very day.” Mr. Cooper said.

Mr. Cooper talked about his experience serving in Vietnam war for a while longer and for the first time in a while, I really wanted to listen. When he finished his story, I was so fascinated and amazed, but I was also wondering why he was telling this to me while I was driving on a freeway. Inevitably, I had to ask….

“So Mr. Cooper, I am so happy you shared your story with me, but I have to ask, why did you ask to share with me?” I asked.

“When I heard your story about not finding purpose or value in life, I felt that it was my duty to help you solve that because before I got drafted for the war, I thought about the same things you do. In life, Jake, to find meaning, it is so important to stop pining after the things you don’t have and start appreciating the things that you do. Like this sunset thats descending over the horizon right now.” Mr. Cooper said with a cheerful smile.

I looked at the sunset in front of me, it was really was beautiful. One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I was so happy, I felt like my life was about to begin.

We drove back on the freeway and I dropped Mr. Cooper off at his grandson’s house where he told me to. I never saw him again, but I can say without a doubt that after that day, I never looked at life the same way again.

I pulled into my garage and parked.

I turned off my phone and went right sleep.


Social and Civic Responsibility Research Paper: The Effects of ADD

The Silicon Valley is the technological and innovative hub of the world and raises the brightest thinkers in the world. For someone with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), growing up in this environment can be especially challenging given the competitive nature of this area. Given this high level of competition, it is critical that ADD be correctly diagnosed; however, more often than not, doctors are incorrectly diagnosing the learning disorder by over diagnosing it and not providing proper information about how to cope with it. This misdiagnosis has led to a widespread misunderstanding of what ADD actually is. In fact, some people don’t even believe it exists. Before going forth, ADD is a spectrum of mental disorders with symptoms that can include poor concentration, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The amount of research done on this topic is highly underwhelming. Though society has come to realize that mental health is becoming more important, the topic of ADD is still highly misunderstood. In helping further our understanding of what ADD is and how to cope with it, the question needs to asked… where do doctors go wrong when it comes to diagnosing ADD and what are steps they can take to gain more accurate research about the learning disorder? Upon gaining accurate research, how can doctors more effectively approach diagnosing ADD properly in patients? In answering this question,the main purpose of my research is to find how to spread awareness of ADHD through advertisements, in the workplace, and on social media as well as well as figure out a way to properly diagnose the disorder. The 21st Century social and civic responsibility of this topic is to primarily spread more awareness about ADHD since it is such an overlooked topic.

As time has moved forward, more and more people have been diagnosed with ADHD and there is more awareness of the disorder. However, there is still much more research to be done. The truth is, the majority of society doesn’t actually know what ADD is and so the first step is to clear up any misconceptions about the disorder as there are many that still exist. In the United States, approximately 11% (6.4 million) of children from ages 2-17 have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The disorder has been classified into 3 different categories: inattentive type, hyperactive-impulsive type, and combination type. The symptoms of inattentive type include missing details and becoming easily distracted, difficulty following instructions, and slow processing of details. (ADDitude) The symptoms of hyperactive-impulsive disorder type include fidgeting, content mobility, and impatience. Combination type symptoms are a fusion of inattentive type and hyperactive-impulsive type. In 1942, ADHD was first described as just a “Brain-Injured child”, yet over the following years the perception and treatment of ADHD has changed drastically. Eventually after the discovery of these “brain-injured” children, psychologists Maurice Laufer and Eric Denhoff decided to define the illness as as “Hyperkinetic Impulse Disorder” in 1957. Consequently, studies began on the effects of methylphenidate on disturbed children 6 years later. After further research symptoms of the disease were defined as inability to sustain attention and to control impulsivity. Finally, in 1980, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defined the difference between ADD and ADHD, claiming that ADHD can be distinguished by hyperactivity and impulsivity.

As a result of the sociocultural perspective of ADHD, people have begun to not take the disorder seriously. Specifically, many parents believe that ADHD is not a real thing and is just an excuse for being lazy, apathetic slackers. This issue that would be cleared up if there was more research done on ADHD. However, many children grow up not being aware of their own ADD. Due to this, they continue to struggle with the disorder for most of their life and develop self doubt because they aren’t able to focus and they don’t really know why. The truth is that their inability to focus is not their fault, it is a lack of dopamine in the brain which is the chemical that keeps people feeling motivated. So far, there have been various methods to deal ADD.  In my own experience when I was in grade school, I had a variety of teachers that would get frustrated with me because I was too smart for my class and should move up a grade. My parents were very sure that I was super smart and an amazing student based on the positive comments I had received from teachers over the years, however, when I was in third grade, my teacher explained to my parents that I was having trouble remembering things and that she was worried about my cognitive functioning. To my parents, this seemed preposterous because all my life I had been remembering things perfectly. However, despite my parents denial due to my history of exceedingly excellent intelligence, my focus and memory problems in school persisted and so my parents considered the possibility that I might have ADD/ADHD. Although in my earlier years of preschool and elementary school I can’t specifically recall any triggers that lead me to believe I have ADHD, I remember some unpleasant and frustrating experiences I had later on in grade school. The disorder really started to hit its stride by the time I was going through middle school and especially at the start of high school when everything you do “counts” for college. I recall some of my teachers in grade school to have me take tests outside and give me more time than the other kids which caused me great anxiety because I did not want all the other kids to think I was special or stupid. Another trigger I can remember from grade school based on a behaviorist perspective was that I knew my parents had informed my teachers about my disorder. As a result of this, often times my teachers would catch me staring off into space in the middle of class and would call out my name in front of everyone so that my focus was pulled back in which made me realize I had the disorder mainly because she would never yell anyone else’s name in the class which isolated me. The symptoms were rather harsh on me since I was always in school and had to focus for a majority of the day and for an ADHD child, there is nothing worse than that. I recall different symptoms such as inattention which entailed not listening to basic instructions when spoken to directly, and avoiding assignments in high school that requires a sustained amount of attention. Another symptom I still struggle with is hyperactivity and impulsivity which entails leaving my seat in situations where staying in your seat for a long period of time is expected, and talking about something for a long time without comprehending that other people in the conversation might have something to say too.

The most common form of treatment for ADHD, Adderall, is becoming more popular among students with and without prescriptions alike. In a study among students, 30% reported using Adderall without a proper prescription in order to help them study, as a result of this overuse, people believe that it’s not a real disorder. Students have seen how Adderall affects people medically and they have been abusing the drug in order to perform better in school. Another study stated that 27% of all students reported taking adderall during finals week that were not prescribed to them in order to compete with other students. Students are beginning to conform to their social-cultural expectation to be a perfect student which is leading to increased competition. This supports the statement about over diagnosing ADHD because people with the disorder actually rely on the drug to be successful in their everyday activities while those without it are taking advantage of Adderall to get a leg up on their peers. Adderall would have probably helped me by making me more confident about the ideas I had instead of shying away from a topic due to the fear that it is incorrect, my level of productivity would be greatly improved due to more focus for an extended period of the day which would allow me to feel better about myself, my accomplishments, and in social situations.

Other methods of dealing with ADHD are behavior therapy, which claims it will increase the patient’s ability to pay attention and sit still in a public environment. However, after many consults, it seems that medication is the best option at the moment, and that behavior therapy should not be implemented unless it is profoundly necessary or until the medication does not help. One common program that supports ADHD is Chadd, an inexpensive yet effective solution to ADHD. Since 32.2 % of students with a form of ADHD dropout of school it is essential that they receive help immediately. In addition, they are at least 11% more likely to not enroll in any form of college, which is a growing problem that Chadd addresses through their program of treatment and advocacy; indeed, and their main goal is to spread ADHD advocacy while providing treatment and group support for people with the disorder. Another possible coping mechanism that is recommended for ADD is the combination of medication and behavior therapy. According to an article from ADDitude, the National Institute of Mental Health observed that both medication and behavior therapy resulted in the greatest improvement in children’s ADD symptoms. This combination of treatments improved multiple areas of children’s lives such as their interaction with their school work and social lives as well. The benefits of behavior therapy in kids with ADD is that it is a way to organize their schedule so that they develop sustained attention as well as follow daily routines more effectively and sticking to them. Although this is a difficult task for ADD children, parental support will make it easier when simple strategies of dealing with it are just too challenging, which they often are.

Although researchers have a long way to go before completely understanding and treating mental illnesses, there have been massive improvements being made for people with learning disorders such as ADD which include medication and behavior therapy. Mental illness is a complicated topic that is still misunderstood by society as it has been shunned away for so many years and has only recently been acknowledged. In order to continue our progress with this, we need to be open to recognizing our mental illnesses and feeling comfortable enough to reach out to someone that is able to help you. By doing this, even children with learning disorders of any type will feel like a piece that fits into the puzzle rather than one that feels out of place.


Digital Media Projects

Laser Mandala


Colored Mandala

Mandala Artist Statement:

By creating these mandalas, I didn’t realize the freedom I had in how I could make them. The fact that I had so many ways to create them was a thought that was soothing to me. Specifically, in Illustrator, the various brush strokes I had access to showed that there was no limit in creating my art. The possibilities were endless. In addition, I valued the guidance we had in creating the mandalas from Mr. Flo’s tutorial videos. In fact, without those videos, I don’t think I would’ve gotten very far with creating the mandalas on my own. Lastly, these mandalas were proof of how far my work in Freestyle has come throughout my career here. These mandalas elegantly showed me that change is possible through progress and hard work as well as expression. Before starting at Freestyle, I had trouble with details in the work I had submitted in my regular classes, however, my work at Freestyle, these mandalas in particular, have shaped my mind to be as detail oriented as possible and care about the work I turn in.

Graphic Design Projects

Citizen Photography Project

Japanese Stab-binding Book with Macro Photography and Digital Watercolor Technique:


Movie Package Minimalist Project


Movie Poster: 

Movie Poster Artist Statement

A wizard named Clyde is walking along a long, stone pathway. This is unusual for Clyde because he usually takes the cobblestone path to get to places. But today Clyde decides to take the stone path. Clyde’s goal is to be the best wizard of all time. However, the overwhelming amount of spells to remember has kept Clyde from reaching his full potential. Clyde is part of the School for Wizardry alongside many other wizards and enjoys learning about new spells and incantations. One day, Clyde finds himself cleaning the library at the School of Wizardry and comes across an orange book. The book says… “Do not open.” Clyde, who can be devious, decides to disregard the message and open the book. Inside the book lies a certain spell, Clyde recites the spell and the whole world around him started to glow in orange. Clyde finds himself waking up and realize he has warped through time back to the beginning of his day. Clyde realizes the unique power he has gained is his way of becoming the best wizard. By being able to repeat his day over and over again, Clyde becomes armed with the knowledge of his prior mistakes. With this power, Clyde realizes there isn’t anything he can’t do.

The poster, packaging, and movie ticket all effectively express what the story is about and includes a lot of clocks which represent Clyde’s ability to travel back in time to the beginning of each day and be able to do fix his mistakes. By being all powerful, the clock represents the time travel portion of the story that Clyde is able to hone with his powers.


Movie Packaging:


Movie Ticket: