Coming from a very small private school in the UK, I vividly remember feeling very overwhelmed the first time I went to Shortridge. I was shocked by the immensity of the building, the sheer number of students and how vivacious they all were! As difficult as it is for me to admit now, I went into the high school with a preconceived notion of what my experience would be like and how the students would act. I was prepared for the challenge that they might be unwilling to learn and find it difficult to write poetry. However, I can safely say that I could not have been more wrong, and I am slightly embarrassed by my own ignorance.
Every time I go to Shortridge, the incredibly imaginative and high quality pieces of writing that the students produce so quickly never ceases to amaze me! I have read an eclectic mix of poetry and prose, ranging from highly comical stories about the adventures of a pet turtle, to an incredibly raw account of the loss of a first love. I have learned to appreciate everything that each student has written to ensure the work receives the praise that it deserves.
The most rewarding part of this course thus far as undoubtedly been the tutoring before Exclusive Ink. It is precisely here where I have been shown that these assumptions that so many of us make are so wrong. Whilst these students are challenged by the traditional rigours of academic life and the standardized testing, they are quite possibly the most imaginative, friendly young adults I have encountered. In fact, they possess far greater communicative skills than several of the students that I went to school with in the UK!
I am so grateful for this opportunity at Shortridge. Not only have I found a love for poetry and using writing as a form of therapy in general, but it is providing me with a unique opportunity to interact with and learn from such a diverse group of intelligent and incredibly friendly students.
Katie Good is a graduate student in the MA English program from Manchester, England.