At the conclusion of a four-day tour of Boston and a teaspoon of Mystic, Connecticut, our tour guide thanked us for being a great group. (I mean, how could a bunch of band kids away from home be a bad group…) He explained to us that this tour was fast-paced and not really very deep, but the reason why they give these tours is to give us a little taste; to show us new places and inspire us to travel again, in a smaller group or alone, and dive deeper into a city, town, country. As I near the conclusion of high school, I can’t help but think that idea might apply to our six/seven years of secondary schooling.
I know most kids ask themselves (and perhaps verbally ask a teacher) at one point in their school career, “Why are we learning this? I doubt we’ll ever use this again.” Yes, certain courses and chapters within those courses teach more critical thinking than life skills – and that’s way important! But I think most classes in middle/high school are a quick taste; a sampling. (Well, “quick” in the scheme of things – it doesn’t feel quick to sit through 12 years of mathematics if you just want to be an artist…) Think about it: even AP and college-equivalent classes that one can take in high school only usually amount to the introductory course in college, so one can’t call himself a master critic after AP Literature.
The secondary school curriculum gives an introduction to the basics of what someone can major in in college, or make a career out of. If a student hates all of it, then there’s an answer: do something else! If a student loooooooves English, then she can try Journalism! Teaching! Novel writing! Travel writing! Technical Writing! Etc.! If you’re lucky, your high school has cool electives that you could try, too, like Media, Sci-Fi, BAND, and stuff that you wouldn’t get out of an academic curriculum.
This idea satisfies and dissatisfies me. As someone who wants out, it frustrates me to still be among the “basics” if I know what I want to do. (Why do you think I blog? I can’t write this for school!) And, for seven years of my life, I have only been learning the basics? After two AP Englishes and ravenous reading, I’m still only a basic English major? I would like to argue otherwise because I do, in fact, write and read outside of school. That doesn’t show on my GPA; it shows on my face, when I’m really tired in the morning/whole day…
The satisfying part of it is that it’s over. I can call myself versed in the basics. I’m excited to move on to the harder and more interesting stuff. I can’t wait to read the classics (because they are too hard for me to understand alone…I’ve tried) and write stuff for critiquing, and dive a little deeper than a high school class allows in history or language. I know it will be hard, but it is a welcome challenge. I just want to experience it because the suspense is killing me! (For anyone who watches The Big C, I’m like Paul when he gets his key FOB; I just gotta know what it feels like!) I’ve heard so many perspectives; one friend got a terrible roommate, one friend launched a website, one friend has great roommates and new friends, one friend did a co-op, one did this, one did that… And while that doesn’t seem satisfying – anticipation and suspense seem like the opposite – for me, having something to look forward to and muse about is satisfying. I’m a Sagittarian archer that has shot another arrow somewhere and is going after it, but I’ve gotten my leg temporarily stuck on the vine of graduation.
Touring Boston gave me a nice layer of understanding. Of myself and the city. Maybe that’s what the tour guide was looking for: a little taste of understanding to take home. In my case, I got that little taste, but also a heaping amount of pictures to take home and to the blog as well! In addition, I realized that they are very proud of their city; so so so much historically happened and lots of “firsts” and “oldests” are there. They are wicked smaht there; lots of prestigious colleges around Boston, and according to one walking tour guide, Massachusetts has the highest percent of people with college degrees. And they generally support one another; the sheer amount of “BOSTON STRONG” written everywhere was impressive; even on our Duck Tour, when we quacked at other duck boats, the quacking was occasioned by the driver shouting, “Boston Strong!” Unrelated sightings included an enormous number of people carrying guitars, a fair amount of hipsters, a clean city, much awareness of food allergies and dietary needs, and hollow sidewalks.
Happy Sunday, and happy travels, whether it be to the grocery store, or to Germany!
Bahston: a photographic journey. Click through my adventures. (not necessarily in chronological order.)