At the beginning of the semester, I was excited to work with Shortridge students and hoped I could pass along my love of writing to them. I was also aware that our first priority was making sure the basic needs of the students were met. One of the things I was looking forward to the most was getting to interact with people who come from different backgrounds than my own. I wanted to see what it was like to be an IPS student and learn about how they see the world. Having an opportunity to entrench myself in the Indianapolis community in such a direct way was incredibly appealing to me. I wanted to leave Butler feeling like I had actually engaged with the city I had lived in the last four years.
The part I did not expect was the impact Shortridge students would have on me. We worked together to find a way to make writing fun, which did not happen very often when I was in high school. I was inspired by the passion and dedication students like D— and J— showed. They helped remind me why I fell in love with writing in the first place. They also pushed me to go outside of my comfort zone. I can count on one hand the number of times I had written poetry before I signed up for this class. The energy and enthusiasm everyone around me had was infectious. I found it so refreshing to come to Shortridge twice a week and just, forget about everything else that was going on, and write about whatever came to mind.
The events of this semester worked together to create an experience I will not forget any time soon. Seeing Shortridge and IPS move everything online gave me an even better understanding of what life is like as an urban high school student. I got to personally see what it looked like for multiple months and see everything that was lost when it was no longer safe for students to go to school. Through the time we spent at Shortridge and the books we read, I learned how many problems the U.S. public school system faces, particularly in urban areas like Indianapolis. I come away from this class a more informed and aware member of society because many of the challenges students face are representative of larger issues that go far beyond the educational system. The knowledge I gained about the connections between education and society is something I can apply in a variety of ways for the rest of my life.
Joshua Doering is a senior Sports Media major.