Personal Statement - Ryan S.

Not many people like to feel uncomfortable. Modern society is just a convenience, and while we like to think learning something new, or traveling, or making friends is outside of our capabilities, it really isn’t. It has just become rather inconvenient. As we race up the steep slope, we congratulate ourselves on our effort and perseverance, not giving a thought to the faces of the people we step on below. On the summit, you turn only to find the mountain was just a small hill. Depressing, for sure. Then, looking up more, you see a falling star… no, a rock. A very large, hot, rock. Pretty. You walk on. This poorly developed, insensible dream of climbing a mountain and seeing rocks was the byproduct of a long slog of research into the political and socioeconomic landscape of education. In my middle school speech and debate class, the world was seen as a needy patient, and the debaters were surgeons, arguing for and against a most invasive surgery. Moral questions abounded, and often much of your preparation and research undermines your own beliefs. I only realized there was a boundary on my so-called comfort zone when I was on the other side. In my research, I found this. Scientists have framed a huge picture of global catastrophe, yet the world languishes in squabbles and gossip. No one can see past their own phones. So that's where science took the portrait, and that's where, finally, I saw it. There was no criticism, not even in the opinion crawling posts and papers. No one even seemed to notice it. A dull backdrop to the grand stage of global drama. To paraphrase Shakespeare, ‘All the world’s a stage, and men and women are merely players’. Ironically, Shakespeare’s own Globe Theater burned to the ground. Dark humor and bad puns, for sure. But true. So if the portrait of the great beyond is true, where are the throngs of people to see, to change the bleak future it paints for us? That was when I realized where education came in. While some districts, schools, and even teachers work their hardest and try their best, the system itself is not as proactive. Not everyone makes it up the hill to see their own landscape. And even at the finish line, all that was left for the ‘ungifted’ was participation trophies. Staying with the pack was normal, and running ahead was not. I realized this was how the educational system dealt with all walks of life, as a turtle that took its slow and steady pace out of school, and into the world. Never able to change its course until one day, we will all be on the other side of our own line, with no way to go back. That thought made my very, very uncomfortable.

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