What really matters

Contrary to the typical image of an angsty teen who hates high school, I couldn’t be more grateful for these past four years and the teachers who have shaped them. While I admit to complaining and whining a bit too dramatically along the way, I owe them for preparing me for the next four years of my life.

Because of them, I can tell you all about how light radiation is absorbed by colored objects and re emitted as infrared radiation, only to be trapped by those dang greenhouse gases. Or how cool it is that the antiderivative of e^x is e^x + C. Or how Joseph Conrad makes a powerful commentary on imperialism in Heart of Darkness, with quotes to back it up.

Every class I’ve taken has taught me something practical. Spanish has prepared me for a globally connected world, AP Economics has prepared me to think rationally, and AP Environmental has taught me to think about the problems that my generation will have no choice but to face.

But while I’ve been given all of this information, there are very few places to show that I’ve mastered it aside from tests and quizzes. How I score on the 60 multiple choice and three open-ended questions that are typical of an AP exam is all that really matters.

The problem here lies in the fact that this doesn’t resemble the world that I’ll be entering once I receive my college diploma.

I won’t be making a choice between A, B, or C, I’ll be working with my peers to craft a solution to the task at hand–something I had the privilege of doing on a daily basis in the Inklings newsroom and Good Morning Staples studio.

I got to learn the ins and outs of Final Cut Pro and Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premier, programs that allowed me to present any given story in an appropriate and aesthetically pleasing manner.

I got to feel the pressures of meeting the deadlines of late night and ensuring that the best product possible was being put on display for the community.

I got to interview amazing people and learned how to deal with those tricky sources who were reluctant to talk.

I got to manage, or juggle, a staff of nearly 90 students for the paper and 20 students for the morning show.

I got to travel to conferences and programs and meet professional journalists who were amazed at the work I was doing.

I got to win awards and get an internship that I never could have dreamed of obtaining.

I got to interact, collaborate, and pick up lessons no textbook could teach. But most importantly, I got to see the real world application of the skills I was learning.

And while those of us who love journalism have Inklings and Good Morning Staples, there are plenty of other outlets for other interests. Those who love music or sports have the radio classes and WWPT 90.3; those who love theater have the acting classes and Players; and those who love science have ASR.

Even though each of these classes and organizations may have different end goals, they all teach similar lessons along the way.

Lessons that can’t be taught by a lecture or PowerPoint.

Lessons that made me grateful for these past four years.