Roberto Plascencia
College Writing II
Margaret Garcia
Reflection Paper
The 1936 essay made me reflect on what I would consider the definitive year that stands out in my mind. I chose the year 1993 as the year that probably shaped my life. I was still in grammar school but it was the first time I was really introduced to a lot of things. Up to that point, I think I was really ignorant in many ways.

This was the year I started hanging out more with my cousins, especially the ones who were involved in gangs. I started to learn more about gangs, the differences, the streets, and other such details. I got more interested in these things and started to act like one. I started wearing red more often, the color of Nortenos. I would say things like Puro Norte and was ready to fight Surenos, the rivals of my cousin’s gang. I thought I was down for whatever, basically I thought I was a bad ass.

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I started to use words like Scrapas and Rataz, which our derogatory words for the rival gangs. I was stupid and knuckleheaded, not really thinking about my future. My parents started getting madder and madder at my attitude and the way I was acting. I started to drink and stayed strong from smoking, until I finally gave in. Then I started to have run-ins with the law. Luckily nothing was ever put on my permanent record.
My life was heading in a downward spiral; I was basically *censored*ing up. I probably would have ended up in jail or dead by now if I hadn’t changed when I did. I saw my cousins and friends, one by one start going in and out of jail. Some of my cousins were strung out on drugs and that really didn’t scare me. Then came a definitive moment in my life, my cousin was shot in the back during a driveby. He survived fortunately, and is fine. But that one moment scared me beyond belief. Then a friend of mine was killed in retaliation of the death of a rival’s friend. This was the final draw, I decided I needed to change my ways.

If it weren’t for these definitive moments in life and the fact that I had a strong supportive family, I don’t know where I would have ended up. Thanks to this I shaped up and decided I need to make it. By make it, I don’t mean make it rich or something superficial. I mean by making myself a success story, being a good role model for my brothers and children. And everyday I thank God that he let me have a second chance.