Tuesday, January 17, 2012

High School Without the Homework

Calmly molding clay as Ms. Cardone's soothing voice calls, "trust your instincts!" I think:

Gee, I should have taken Ceramics in high school. It would have been so relaxing.

The thing is, it probably wouldn't have. I would have been stressing over studio time, clambering to get my pieces in, and hyperventilating over my grade. 

I'm Ratna Gill, and no, I'm not repeating twelfth grade. I graduated last June and am taking a gap year to enjoy the things that are truly interesting (like Ceramics) and important (like service) to me. Between one internship for Sasha Bruce Youthwork in DC completed and another coming up with a government official in Mumbai, I've been spending time at Flint Hill over the last few weeks, volunteering with some of the teachers who have been so crucial to my intellectual and personal development. 

When I'm not helping to coordinate the Empty Bowls fundraiser (slated for February 11th) or assistant-teaching AP US History, I enjoy dropping by classes such as Symphonic Choir and AP Vergil. As Mr. Chang puts it, I'm basically "auditing Flint Hill." 

In other words, this is high school without the homework -- and it's joyous. I'm not always hungry, I don't only breathe during passing time, and even when I'm exhausted, it's not that "Friday-night-after-a-cruelly-and-unusually-long-week-and-I-have-so-much-homework-this-weekend-that-I-need-to-start-it-tonight-are-you-freaking-kidding-me" kind of exhausted. 

So now is the part of this piece where I don't really know what I'm getting at. As a member of the View staff, I wrote an article my sophomore year called "A Love of Learning," espousing knowledge for the sake of knowledge and other such lofty ideals. And as a student, I told myself I was in each class for my overwhelming passion and verve for the material covered, but (ahem, higher math) was that really the case? Probably not. It'd be really great if mere love for learning could carry us through the week, but, practically speaking, that duty falls more under the job description of drinks such as Monster and Red Bull. 

But what I do wish I had been able to see was where I am now. While you can't really relax about the college process and senior year until you've been through it all and are looking back, it just would have been nice to know that not every pop quiz in sophomore World History was going to determine my future, and eight hours was a bit of a long time to spend studying for a Chemistry test. 

Would I do it differently if I could do it over? Again, probably not. Going at the pace pushed upon punctilious pupils by pedantic pursuits, it would have been hard to take Ms. Kotey's advice to "slow down!" seriously. I wouldn't change all that much about my time here: all I'm inviting you guys to do is take a second while busting your butt getting from second lunch to English to enjoy the little things. Slow down to smell the roses -- or the clay. 

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