Influence of a Lifetime // Tess Ryan

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 3.44.54 PM

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” – John C. Maxwell.

In my most recent college essay, I was required to complete an experiment that in some way changed my writing style. I found an interest in the inclusion of quotes to spiff up the writing and change up the format. Through my first year of college, I have found that random silly or relatable quotes have brought me comfort in place thousands of miles from home. There are quotes about love and friendship, quotes on the roughness of life as well as the goodness, and quotes on random facts that if you investigate deeper often have some profound message. 

On an afternoon scrolling through Instagram, I stumbled upon this quote by John C. Maxwell. At the time, I thought little of it besides the words that flutter on my eye lids when I blinked. But as I looked deeper into it, I found a connection between the quote, my first year of college, and my semesters of critical reading and writing.

Every English class I’ve taken has been a requirement in which we study the grammatical structures of the language, the correct way to write, and the format papers must be in. I have dreaded every day of these classes as I had never been particularly adept at writing or even the thinking for that matter. However, in my two quarters of English at SCU, that all changed.

Day after day I would attend class with fear that I would say something incorrect or fear that my writing would be below all expectations. English class became a dread, and the situation did not change when I came to SCU. My first day of class was still filled with fear, and the next after that, but as days continued something changed. We began class with a concept I had no relation to: vegetarianism. In my entire life, the thought of becoming vegetarian never crossed my mind, but class after class of discussing treatment of animals, processing of food, and sustainability of the process the concept slowly began to register and develop. This was one of my first classes that the subject matter, which once had no relation to me, became a commotion of interest and opinions. I had begun to realize that my fear and mentality of English classes prevented me from formulating my own opinions and analyzing my thoughts; I was changed from a person who based my opinions on the thoughts of others to a purely autonomous person. In relation to the quote, Santa Clara University’s critical reading and writing classes changed something so simple as independent thinking, which lead to a change of my entire life, by introducing me to the creative, complicated issue of vegetarianism and forcing me to formulate my own opinions on the issue.

“By eating meat we share the responsibility of climate change, the destruction of our forests, and the poisoning of our air and water. The simple act of becoming a vegetarian will make a difference in the health of our planet.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

Through all the discussions in class, the readings, and the horrendous videos watched, it is quite clear that eating animals is not beneficial for anyone; despite how the issue is presented, there is little to argue against vegetarianism.  Hanh, in the previous quote states several of the reason against meat eating including, the disasters it leads to in deforestation, the contamination to air and water, and the disastrous effects it has on climate changing (“Quotes..”). These don’t even account for the toxins it puts in one’s body or the corruption in the animal agriculture industry. While these ideas were presented evidently in class, I was able to hear the other sides and ideas during classes based on mainly class discussion. Encouraged to voice my own opinions, I gradually began talking and developed what I found to be right and wrong. I was once a person who found vegetarianism ridiculous, because I was unaware to all the issues it effects, and I began to mature into a person who tries to eat very little amounts of meat. I took the opinions I was able to formulate and incorporated them into my life for the better.

You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.”

Paul McCartney  

The first few days of class seeing these animals shoved into tiny, highly populated areas of factory farming land and discussing the process these animals go through to end up on my plate wanted to make me regurgitate every piece of meat I had ever eaten. Then, after class I would continue on with my life, maybe grab some chicken tenders for dinner or nice cheeseburger; the information was going straight one ear and out the other. It took weeks of classes to fully digest what it meant to be eating these foods, but gradually it began to change my life. I had been daily eating animals that were inhumanely treated and tossing toxins into my body with each chew. But yet, every day after was a moral decision between eating meat or sticking to a vegetarian diet, and every choice was just as hard. I knew it was bad and wrong, but I knew it tasted good.

Months later, the commitment finally set in and became easier to picking the vegetarian option. While I’m not completely vegetarian, I am proud of the progress I have made and continue to make. I am even more proud that I took such a large idea, formulated my own opinion, and applied it to my life.



“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney once stated his opinion that if these industries had glass walls and people could see what occurs meat eating would end, and I completely agree with him. In fact, I would believe that if everything food related had glass walls people would be appalled at what they digest every time they eat. People would feel the need to grow their own food and stick to the gifts from the earth, or at least I certainly would. The whole concept of eating would change, and people would be so much more grateful for clean, unprocessed, healthy foods. People have to “change something [they] do daily” (“Quotes”), change their eating habits, change their mentality, and change their lifestyle; however, the benefits would be as bountiful as the amount of fruits they would begin to consume.

This critical and writing class changed my opinion on many things, and even more so developed my opinion on several massive topics. It changed my way of thinking, my development of essays, and the things in which I fill my body. I am forever grateful for such a random, but influential class to begin my college journey. Go be vegetarian, develop autonomous opinions, write with your heart, and never forget the gift of this world.

Work Cited

“Quotes About Vegetarianism (159 Quotes).” Quotes. Goodreads, 2017. Web. 14 June 2017.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s