Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Tariq Zubhuza: "If you're eleven years old and you're drunk, it's a problem."

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My name is Tariq Zubhuza.

Im twenty years old and I

grew up in Nashua, New Hampshire.

I grew up with my mother and two brothers and a sister...

one older brother, one older sister,

and one younger brother.

I was about thirteen when I started getting in trouble.

My mom was really focused on

trying to keep us out of, like, poverty...

whatever...you know, like...‘cause it was just us.

I got diagnosed when I was

really young...like seven years old...

with bipolar, anxiety, anger, and all that stuff.

And I started taking medication.

I was really, really angry.

I had to go to a mental hospital

when I was seven years old, man.

We had a Boys and Girls Club and that was cool.

Growing up, it was a big influence on

a lot of things that we were doing as kids.

But that Boys Club, like,

became uncool at a certain point, you know...

around like thirteen years old.

We had a...like a little group of friends...

probably like four or five of us.

And, you know, then we start, like,

drinking alcohol and I dont know, man...

I guess my family has...

I have a, like, strain of alcoholics in my family.

You know, Im in...

Im in school in seventh grade drunk in class.

I mean, if youre eleven years old and youre drunk,

its a problem already, you know what I mean?

I dont know how the teachers didnt really know.

I mean...but you cant so much be focused on one kid

when you have thirty of them in front of you,

and know that this kid is coming in drunk,

unless hes acting out.

I wasnt...like, Ill sleep during class 'cause

Im drunk or just stay quiet.

But when I hit the hallway,

thats when Ill be drunk and Ill,

you know, roam around grabbing butts

and starting fights and stuff like that.

Ive never been in trouble sober before in my life.

Ive never been arrested sober before...ever.

Anytime I ever got in trouble I was drunk.

You suspend me from school,

Im gonna just do whatever I want.

All right, Mom...Im sorry.”

But then shed go to work the next day

and I dont have to go to school.

My little brothers off to school...

my older brothers off to school.

Id sleep in. I get to sleep in, man.

I get to watch cartoons... whatever, man, you know?

Wed go play basketball.

A lot of other kids are in school,

but theres somebody

else whos suspended or

somebody else whos skipping school.

And if somebodys not skipping school,

Id get somebody to skip school to hang out with me, you know?

And um...Id get a girl to skip school with me

so we could have sex...whatever.

In middle school, I started getting arrested

and Id get arrested maybe once a month...

sometimes twice in a week.

And every time Im arrested, its for the same exact thing...

possession of alcohol and resisting arrest.

Im resistingcause I have alcohol.

I know I have alcohol and I dont want to get caught

with this alcohol, so Im running and Im wasted, man.

I mean, I was arrested probably like eleven times

between eighth grade and ninth grade

for possession of alcohol...resisting arrest...

internal possession of alcohol...

going to school drunk.

I ended up going to a placement in ninth grade.

You go to these places and its, like,

just a little school that you cant leave. Same kids...

you know what I mean? Were all bad kids...

whatever. So now who can be the baddest?

Even as kids, you know what youre doing is wrong.

But its like the risk of losing that reputation...

Id rather risk going to jail at that...at that time.

I mean, I went freshman year zero credits...

sophomore year maybe a credit and a half...

you know what I mean?

So I went to Guidance. And I told her...I said,

Listen, Im not coming to school if Im not graduating.

And Im not coming to school just to come to school, man. I

want to drop out of high school today.”

And she...she helped me out...that woman.

I dont remember her name. But she was like,

Wait a minute. ” Like, “Pause.

Lets not, like, just jump there first.” She said,

Let me see if I can find a way to get you,

like, an alternative learning plan, so you can graduate.

And if I do that, will you...

do you promise to do thewhatever it is?’”

She got me into a work study program,

so I got credits for working. I had a full time job.

I was working at Circuit City.

Every, like, certain amount of hours that I worked,

I got a credit for school.

And then she got me into a night class.

And I ended up graduating,

and that was a good program for me at least.

I mean, a lot of kids...

I think that a lot of the people that

I grew up with would have succeeded in that program,

but a lot of them got...

just get kicked out before you get there.

I ended up coming to prison because I never stopped.

I never stopped drinking and using drugs.

If youre drinking and youre doing drugs...

just drugs alone...youre probably in a bad atmosphere,

you know what I mean? And you...

I basically was around people that

I would never be around

and placing myself in situations that

I would never be in.

Im around prostitutes and crack fiends

and coke heads, and its just, like,

this is obviously going to turn out bad.

So, Im in prison for five years for criminal threatening.

I didnt hurt anybody...I didnt rob anybody, you know?

I just kind of got stuck in a bad situation

and got sent to prison.

Well, my plan while Im here...

Im studying a couple different languages and

studying, like, self-studying psychology.

My plan when I get out is to

stop kids from getting this far a lot earlier.

Like, I mean before high school when this kids drunk

in middle school, were going to stop that

before he goes to high school,

cause its only going to get worse.

Nobody wants to say, “I go see

a counselor”, you know?

But, like, if I had...afterschool, you know...

five minute sessions with a person, you know...

that I could connect with, you know?

And we had just a short conversation about how

the day was and what I plan on

for the rest of the day, right...

and then leave. And then thats a person that I know

I can go to in school and talk

to when Im really breaking apart.

And if Im not...you know, if Im just not talking to them

because I got this anti-social personality disorder,

well, its a person that I have to see at the end of the day.

So that little intervention...

I could either fall apart in front of them and they

can help me figure out what I gotta do next.

And if I had, like, somebody before I got to that point to,

like, just explain, like, you dont need to be cool.

Like, you dont need to just do things that everybody

else is doing. Lets work on this. Lets work on that.

This is a problem so were gonna do that.

Youre doing great in this area so lets keep focusing on that.

Then obviously it makes a difference.

I mean, these arent, like, hidden secrets.

Like, this is obviously gonna make a difference

but we just dont have, I guess, the manpower or time.

As a kid...even as an adult... like, people just dont

do things just to do them.

They do them for a purpose.

They do them for some type of reward.

Right now, as Im getting older, learning is a reward to me.

To speak three languages,

I think, is a great thing, you know?

And knowing...just knowing things that I didnt know

or that I wouldnt know is a great thing. But then,

as a kid, it doesnt matter. I dont need to know this stuff.

As a reward, I mean, it could be...it could be anything,

I guess. I couldnt say, like, “Student of the Month,”

cause if youre from where Im from,

you dont care aboutStudent of the Month.”

It would have to be more than, “Go to school because

youre gonna need this later on.

Go to school because youre gonna get paid

more if you have a diploma. ” It would have to be,

somehow, the cool thing to do. It would have to be what

people want to do, you know? Like...more, like, influences...

more older role models. Like,

if the older guys that we were

hanging out with were like, “Go to school.”

You know what Im saying? Like, we were gonna go to school.

Its finding what is gonna be important for each kid,

because theres not...theres not one person in the world

who nothing matters to. Maybe not a lot, but not nothing.

The Description of Tariq Zubhuza: "If you're eleven years old and you're drunk, it's a problem."