Category Archives: Education

Learn these four leadership skills at a Hebrew High

English: Ronald A. Heifetz on 29 March 2010 du...

Ronald A. Heifetz: “Leadership in times of crisis”   How can you make this connection for #Jteens?

A blog I read in the Harvard Business Review mentioned all the bad habits that accrue from being part of a hierarchical and bureaucratic school system.

Coleman writes:   “Our entire education system, from elementary school to graduate school, is poorly constructed to teach young people leadership. Schools do many things well, but they often cultivate habits that can be detrimental to future leaders. Given that most of us spend 13-20 years in educational institutions, those habits can be hard to break.”

Of course, I immediately thought about how, in a community Hebrew high setting, we develop future leaders.

Mostly, we run contrary to most of the details the author wrote about.

Let’s explore four of them here, with the bad habit taught listed first, then very brief examples of how these leadership habits might be experienced differently in a Hebrew High setting:

1. Schools have an emphasis on hierarchy. Examples given are: “Teacher in front of the classroom” syndrome and priorities given to class rankings, class standings, etc. 

Teachers are often called by their first names, and when asked, share personal insights. Teachers are more often the facilitator of learning rather than the expert in a subject area.

Class rank? Often doesn’t exist in a school where some classes consist of multiple grades, with mentoring going on between students.  Coleman says it best:  “Leadership is an activity, not a position,  a distinction explored deeply by Ron Heifetz in Leadership Without Easy Answers. “

2. Schools generally teach that there are right vs. wrong answers. 

Courses in Hebrew high schools are often discussion based, where critical thinking skills are necessary. There are rarely right or wrong answers. Students delve into complex situations like Mid-Eastern politics or ethical issues, where multiple vantage and view points need to be considered.

3. Schools don’t encourage or deal well with failures.

Yet, we know that it’s precisely the activity of trying, and trying again that is part of many leaders’ accomplishments (Lincoln, Einstein, Steve Jobs, etc.).  Students who experience leadership classes or work on programming for the school deal with failure, problem-solving, and work to rectify difficult challenges presented by the student body: lack of motivation, time, interest, etc.

4. Most school reinforce the “serve-yourself’- over-others” attitude by the emphasis on individual test scores, grades, GPA’s, etc. 

The very nature of a school oriented around Jewish values is not only are you learning about core altruistic values, but you are acting upon them through school programming.

I know I’ve created a very generalized portrait of a Hebrew high experience.  All schools differ and their goals are not the same. However, in a school that develops future leaders, the examples I listed would be very typical.

So, interested in building a leader? Becoming one? The shortest route might be to head over to your local Hebrew high and sign up.

Photo credit: Wikipedia


Teens Report What Really Happens In Classrooms

Teacher

Teachers and Classroom Behavior Photo credit: tim ellis

I read an eighth grader’s blog (!) today that resonated with me, and it triggered a memory of what Jewish teens shared with me in a discussion about bullying.

Back to the blog. This young teen wrote about derogatory and mean comments that kids said in hushed tones to others in her class. What they said was either whispered, written, or mouthed out—-all while the teacher’s back was turned.

Can you imagine the effect on the ‘victims’? Just thinking about it will probably tug at your heart.

Instantaneous changes of emotion. Heads bowed. Backs rounded. The day ruined.

And then—-thoughts of a system that offers no corrective action.

The talk I remembered having with my 10th graders was similar. They experienced or witnessed as a bystander, all kinds of inappropriate behavior by teens that was not done at recess, not on the school bus, not on the playing field, but in class!

In most cases, the teacher’s back was turned. 

Want to be shocked?  The students affirmed that sometimes, the teacher was not facing the board, or doing work at the desk.

“What happened during those other times?”, I asked.

“Ugh, the teacher just pretended not to hear or see.”

Can we think of a more challenging environment for our students?

Some feel that they are constantly the ones to point out flaws, misbehavior, or teacher concerns. They’ve told me that when they’ve actually brought these incidents to the teacher’s attention, the information is not even acted upon. And there certainly is a lot of negative feedback the teens get for doing that. (The cultural pull of not being a tattletale comes to mind).

A while ago, I wrote about our schools being Safe Havens, and reading the blog today made this fact even more potent.

No one should deduce that all teachers ignore bad behavior.

But neither should we assume that the teacher is always equipped to manage bad behavior. Or that the teacher gets support from the administration on these issues.

We can rise to the occasion, be better listeners, better mentors, and better teachers of Jewish values.

But that won’t change the system.

Creating students who want to become activists just might.

Supporting their efforts as parents and teachers is what we have to do. And oh yes, we can’t let them give up.


The story we don’t tell about Jewish teens

An blue icon with a graduation cap and tassel.

An blue icon with a graduation cap and tassel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday was our commencement ceremony. I looked out in the packed auditorium at over 100 happy, smiling faces waiting to get their credentials certifying that they had spent the last 2 – 5 years in a voluntary educational program that connected them to their heritage and traditions.

Their parents and family members were beaming with pride.

Student received certificates in Hebrew Language, Jewish Studies, Youth Leadership, Teaching  (for Reform and Community supplementary schools), and some were even inducted into the Shalem Honor Society.

Awards were given for Leadership, Acts of Kindness, Service to the school, and more. This kind of commitment doesn’t get mentioned often enough in the many studies about Jewish teens.

We tend to focus on what we’re doing wrong.

Yet, yesterday, over 100 bright, young, committed and dedicated Jewish youth received their “official’ notice that they are ready to make an impact on their college and home communities.

We can ‘kevtch’ all we want about what doesn’t work, because we are always trying to do better…and better usually gets us best.

In this case though, it just makes us blind to the successes we see right in front of us.


“Please feel free to contact me…..” Advice for #Jteens and others

Zhuyin on cell phone detail-2

I want to help.

I am currently involved in hiring talent. I say talent because I’m not interested in hiring just anyone. Ideally, the person is a great communicator committed to working with Jewish teens who has program development skills— a person with drive and creativity.

There are more skills needed than those, but this is a blog post not a help wanted ad.

So, how come this is what I usually read at the end of a cover letter?

“Please feel free to contact me by phone or email at your earliest convenience.”

Really? You’re interested in an ‘OUTREACH’ kind of job, and you want me to call you? I should feel free?

For all the recent grads out there, please show your passion and interest for the job by following up.

How?

1. Offer to call to follow up. In many non-profits there isn’t an HR person assigned the task of chasing down candidates. If you want the work, do the work and make the connection yourself.

2. Suggest meeting times

3. Demonstrate that you’ve done some homework on the organization and how you can fit in

4. Keep showing interest. Yes, even if you’re NOT hired! If you’ve made it to the interview, you’ve just spent close to an hour with someone who knows you AND has contacts. What a win-win for you. Seriously, a past client of mine who I encouraged to do this was called within four weeks to let her know that the original hire didn’t work out and could she start immediately?

5. So, you never know.

Feel free to take this advice…or you can always contact me…..See what I mean?


What is the real job we’re doing for Jewish Teens?

One of the "shakes with a punch" at ...

Milkshakes taste good. Jewish education is good. But what job are we really doing for Jewish Teens?

I read an article about marketing today that focused on milkshakes. (Please keep reading, the fact that Jewish teens tend to like a good milkshake or two is not where I’m going).

The author discovered that while milkshake sellers were trying to ‘market’ according to the usual: breakdowns by demographics, flavor choices, etc….the real question to be answered was: What job does the milkshake do for you, and how can we respond to that? 

This is a very different question that may open up opportunities for those of us who work with Jewish teens.

Are we marketing properly?

The author, Clay Christensen, coined the term ‘job-to-be-done’ as a way for marketers to get into the mindset of the consumer. Doing this is essential, as about 95 % of the 30,000 new consumer products fail.

So, the question about what is the job-to-be-done re: #Jteens becomes very relevant, even crucial for our work.

What is the job we are really doing with teens? Is it Jewish education? Or is it really preparation for life? Is it honing their critical thinking skills?

Is it preparing them to take on leadership roles in college? Is it preparing them for Jewish life on campus? Is it giving them an ‘out’ for taking a foreign language in high school?

I suggest that we figure out what we are really doing, and ‘sell’ that.  Let’s drink a milkshake to that one.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia


Helicopter Parents Go to College

This news came to my Inbox today:”Today’s Campus is launching a new publication designed as a resource for the parents of the entering freshmen college class. The handbook is expected to reach over 1 million readers this summer as they prepare to take the first steps towards college.”

I experienced one of those odd moments when you find yourself laughing at something and wish you had someone right there to share the comedy.  Right now, you’re my someone.

Check out this excerpt from above carefully: ‘as they prepare to take the first steps towards college.’ Now reread the entire quote above again. Who is the ‘they’ in the sentence? The handbook is clearly for parents, so it is the ‘they’ that made me laugh as I imagined parents packing for their first dorm room experience.  But, maybe the ‘they’ is intentionally vague (doubtful).

Here are four reasons why what I read was either very, very smart, or totally stupid.

Either option by the way does not preclude huge marketing success.

Smart reason #1. The college admissions process has gotten more intense, more competitive, and financially burdensome for so many families. Perhaps there are real ways to grapple with these issues that the handbook will provide.

Smart reason #2. We know that the terms ‘helicopter’ and ‘hovering’ have been used to describe parents of incoming college students. Now there is yet something else to buy that will somehow ensure their child’s college success. Or they will read about some hints that will perhaps make them all crazier, or actually give them an outlet for their worry. Either way, smart marketing.

Totally stupid reason #3. Why give in to the trend of parents not letting their teens go? This handbook may be feeding the frenzy that I listed in smart reason #1. (I know, this gets complicated).

Totally stupid reason #4. For those savvy enough, it will be pretty self-evident that pages of the handbook will be devoted to advertising space for the best dorm room message board, the must-have comforter and sheet set, and so on.

When the Handbook comes out and you decide to buy one (pick your reason above) I’d love to hear how it all turns out.


Current Events: did your teenager’s eyes just glaze over?

taken by משתמש:Hmbr

Mention “Current Events” to a group of teens and just watch what happens.  Their eyes seem to glaze over.

As if talking about something that isn’t in a textbook is a violation of protocol.

I don’t want to be an alarmist, but to some students, reading a newspaper might seem like reading information in a foreign language.

I’m not sure how much today’s teens are grappling with the issues of the day.

How can this be?

Easy. It’s not in the curriculum.

Sure, when something really big happens, it gets some class attention.

However, the stories that are important, but not part of breaking news, are literally another story.

Where are our students getting the depth of a story?

My experience with Israeli teens has always been the opposite. They are intimately involved in the politics of the day, and those conversations happen informally: in the taxi, on-line at the movies, everywhere.

The article in the link below notes that according to a Pew Research study, 49% of people were getting their news in digital form. Good for them. But are today’s teens using their apps for news?

Try an experiment. Ask someone you know, under the age of 18, what news they’ve heard recently. Chances are it’s the new sensational story with the glitz, gore or glamour that way back, was called Yellow journalism.

So, what will change? You.

Have conversations about what’s important to you as a parent, and it will trickle down. Be broad about subject matter.

Don’t wait for a family dinner (those are in short supply). Talk about current news anywhere. In the car. On the line at Target.

Try to make those little moments count for some ‘thought’ time.

Those teenage brains need a workout, and our teens are capable of great thoughts.

Time for that may not always be part of the school curriculum, but it can be part of yours.

photo credit: Wikipedia


Teens: Got a bad grade? Work it!

Life Stinks

Image via Wikipedia

Getting a bad grade, especially when you expected something else entirely, pretty much stinks.

It’s hard enough being in high school when so much of your life seems to be defined by grades. When the grades don’t match up with your expectations or your output, it must feel lousy.

Though I have issues with the idea of being defined by grades, we’re not going there now.

So, you can either sulk or use this life event to get some feedback.

Think of this as an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with your teacher about your work. I know, it’s tough, but give it a try. You can:

  • learn how to advocate for yourself
  • begin to see yourself the way he/she does, and take the opportunity to self-correct
  • figure out what the teacher really wants before it’s too late in the year
  • impress the teacher with your willingness to engage in this type of conversation
  • practice asking for clarification of a decision, which is a skill you’ll use later in life
  • demonstrate your interest in the subject matter
  • cut yourself a break.
  • learn that despite what you’re feeling now, this doesn’t define you
  • feel great about asserting yourself!

Chanukah Ornaments? How some Jewish teens voted

A friend of mine who works for a collectibles company sent me an e-mail last week with a curious query. The company is considering developing a  a new line: Chanukah ornaments. These could be placed either on a “Chanukah Bush”, Christmas tree, or a small miniature metal ornament tree (next to the menorah, probably).

Would I (or anyone on this list serve) be offended? I wondered how a group of Jewish teens would react.

English: A bauble on a Christmas tree.
 

I thought they’d have a lengthy discussion about values, lifestyle choices, religious symbolism.  The conversation was over faster than you can say “December Dilemma.” I was ready to bring on the choices: A Star of David? Hamsa? Dreidel? No one was interested and told me they found the idea offensive.

They thought that Christmas and Chanukah were already over commercialized, so why add to the array of ‘stuff’? By the way, some of the teens who were the most outspoken came from intermarried families.

Not that I have an interest in the success of collectibles, but I proceeded to ask them what they thought about re-purposing the items…what if they would hang them from a car mirror? Locker hook? Nope.  Okay, so I just wanted to make sure.

They wouldn’t buy it. So, what do you think?

Do you agree with these outspoken teens who desire a get-back-to-basics approach?

Lest you think they are against paraphernalia, don’t kid yourself.  They are totally ‘gadgeted out’, it’s just that it seems they have their limits.   How would you respond to this question?  Would this work for your family?

Image via wikipedia


what Jewish teens taught me about family values

English: Heart Planet Earth

Last week I was figuring out a way to teach eighth graders the value of Shalom Bayit (Family Harmony–Peace in the Home).  With teens going through their own struggles for authority in that realm, the notion  of peace and family harmony might not strike the right note. 

The last thing I think they’d want to hear were clichés and platitudes about the topic and I could just imagine the yawns when introducing it.

I couldn’t argue with that.  Would anyone in the class disagree with the concept of such a positive sounding value?  As a teacher, how could you explore that further in a way that would inspire a lengthy discussion?

I needed to find a way in to this topic and create some educational tension.

So, I decided to become “MojojoBo”, an alien from another planet.  In that way, the students would need figure out how to teach the subject matter to me.  The students would need to explain teachings to this being that ‘their people’ practiced, focusing on  Shalom Bayit and family values. Since MojojoBo had a family too, it was an easy place to begin.

I began the class in character, with accent, stunted staccato speech and all.  Corny? Definitely. Campy? For sure.

MojojoBo wanted to be convinced that as a people known as “Jew” they had values surrounding family, preservation of tradition nad mutual respect. I gave more details to MojojoBo’s story so students would have a context and not get caught up in irrelevant details.

I divided the class into groups to study the textual sources. Their task? To break down the language in very easy to understand words and concepts so MojojoBo would understand what they were saying. That meant that no prior learning about the topic could be assumed. They had top break down words and concepts like ten commandments, Torah and Kavod because MojojoBo wouldn’t understand the meaning.  They went to work deciphering the texts, figuring out the best way to explain them and selecting the best ones to convey the concepts.

Taking turns, the groups made presentations. The quote “A home where Torah is not heard will not endure”  instead became: “Your home, where your family lives, needs to be a place where you can learn the teachings of your people. Not only learn them, but talk about them everyday so every one in the family understands why they are special and needs to continue being part of this people in days and years ahead. Your home is where that begins.”

I was riveted. I wish I had a video. These are today’s teens, who often get shortchanged for not being connected, being too self-centered and not always very respectful. I am hearing them say these incredible things about respecting parents, valuing tradition, being partners with God, holding back anger, commitment to Jewish peoplehood, and MORE. Their responses were stunning. I know the lesson would not have gone this way if I had used a more traditional approach.

They were teaching me things I didn’t even know they were thinking, let alone feeling, about their homes, parents, God, and spirituality. I will miss MojojoBo but will bring that dear, sweet, alien back whenever I need to learn from our amazing teens.

Image via Wikipedia


Guiding teens without a moral compass. Hint: they cheat!

English: A HTC Desire S showing a compass app

Image via Wikipedia

Picture this: a class of freshly minted teenagers, not even a year after becoming b’nei mitzvah, who attend an optional Jewish education program.

Ostensibly they come from homes where the parent/s place an importance on Jewish values. Yet, despite that, they seem to have internalized society’s penchant for abdicating personal responsiblity.

Over 90% of high school students cheat. Entire schools have been accused of tampering with test results.

These incidents reverberate beyond charts and stats–and I felt the tremors last week.

I presented this scenario to students taking a class in Jewish values and ethics:

Your teacher asks you to take home and complete a unit summary without looking at notes, any textbooks, or the internet. What would you do?

I value their openness with me. Only one student in the class said that he would not cheat. One out of 15 students. Eighth graders.

What did the other students say? Most nodded enthusiastically to this response:

It was the teacher’s fault….she shouldn’t have expected us not to look at anything. Did she think we wouldn’t cheat?”

So, what they were saying is that the teacher should have known better. She should have known not to trust them.  For them, there is no such thing as an honor system.

When I was in middle school, cheating also occurred. It’s just that we knew who would cheat and who wouldn’t. I’m not sure that’s the case anymore.

In fact, what was the kicker to my question? Three students said that their teacher just gave them a similar assignment–to complete a worksheet at home–and when they came back to school she revealed that she expected them to look things up even though she asked them not to.  So this lack of trust goes both ways.

This is the world we are all living in and this is what we’re up against. 

There were other comments by students toward the beginning of the lesson that didn’t surprise me; comments about whether ‘to tell’ on a friend who cheated or stole. That was pretty predictable. The peer pressure is so intense they admitted, that no one wants to be labeled as ‘the kid who tells’.

When I discussed their reasoning for what they shared with me, they said that it’s okay because in “middle school you don’t have to worry about anything yet” (i.e. high school then college). They  continued trying to convince me that their choice was okay: “what you do in school doesn’t really matter until you get to 9th grade, or even 10th.

I wanted to teach them a different course of action and there were many topics to explore, but the clock was ticking with little time left in the period.

I could have espoused other teachings from sages and scholars who have been grappling with these issue throughout our tradition. I didn’t think this would resonate.  Instead, I briefly mentioned the perspective of Jewish law regarding personal responsibility.

Then, I told them they are like onions. Their character has layers, and everything they do, every action they take, forms who they are.  Those layered experiences are part of them, much like the peels of an onion that won’t just disappear when they get to another grade.

And if they make choices that they will regret, those choices will be there, under the surface, but there none the less.  And it will affect them.  Guiding teens through these perplexing situations is what we can do as Jewish educators and parents. How do we begin the process with our teens?

A good place to start is by opening the door to these types of conversations. Allow your teens to share what their school environment is like, and what ethical challenges they face. Listen to what they say. They are our very sweetest onions.


Five Things Jewish Parents Should Know

Imagine that you’re on a boat in the middle of the ocean in a thunderous storm. Waves are coming fast and furiously.  Water is splashing inside and out, and luckily you’re still afloat. There is no fast escape.

How do you survive? What is the best strategy?

Just hold on–and be as steadfast as you can.

creative commons license

You’re experiencing what it’s like to be a parent of an adolescent. I can relate to your worries, concerns, problems, and fears.

You just need to hold on to your values and principles so you can stay the course.

How do I know?

I was once there.

From the many comments and responses I’ve exchanged with parents over the years regarding this period of rowboat rocking, and particularly how it pertains to continuing Jewish education, here are five points I’d like you to consider:

#1. you will have push back. Teens are hard-wired to rebel. It’s what they do. Don’t expect them to act differently.  You just need to stay the course and don’t take it personally, but see #2.

#2. the push back will most often be in the areas that coincidentally are important to you. This will make you feel bad and start to question your judgement. You may feel that everything you’ve deemed important will be disregarded. Are you active in the Jewish community? Are you a Jewish educator? Guess what, your teen may give you the hardest time when Jewish education is up for discussion (it shouldn’t be). You’re in for a ride but again, hold on and stay the course. As parents, we are like farmers planting seeds for the future. Teens are into instant gratification. You can see the challenge.

#3. be glad that your teenager is rebelling now, which is better than later, when he/she is in college and faces so many more challenges. Plus, if that happens, you will not be there to set limits, be a supportive ear, or lend in-the-moment advice.

#4. being an authority figure doesn’t mean being authoritarian. Just because you are asserting your right to make decisions for your child, doesn’t mean that you’re ‘bossy’. Parents might be too afraid of taking a strong stance, but your teen will respect you for it, even if that realization comes years later.  Remember the planting metaphor (see #2).

#5. I’ve never met anyone who said to me: I wish my parents didn’t ‘make me go’ to Hebrew High School. Granted, I interact with a select group, but I’ve heard this from both adults and teens. More education is a worthwhile pursuit. As Jews, we believe in the inherent value of study. It’s what has helped us survive through the millenia and it’s up to you to continue that tradition.  Be strong and steadfast.


The Twitter Connection

Follow me on Twitter logo

Image via Wikipedia

The world-wide web (wow, I actually enjoy writing those words as it makes me focus on this mini miracle machine that allows me to enter that world through this blog) was once a static platform.  Interactivity was minimal.

Now, web 2.0  is for the prosumer, and is an active-oriented, creative and interactive platform where even the smallest voice gets heard.

So how did the concept of a Twitter “Follow” ever stick?

I’m surely not the first person to think or write about this. I haven’t googled this to find the endless number of blogs about this topic, but for me, this has become an issue when I try to acknowledge people who are (choke)  following me.

My aversion to this word is in direct disproportion to how I feel about the platform itself, which exists on people following other people.

I am a twitter follower. I’ve been on twitter since March and have learned so much from so many well-respected and talented educators who constitute my PLN.  I’ve learned about resources, websites, tools and received ideas and encouragement.

Hashtags, chats, bitly, tweetdeck, hootsuite, twuffer, are tools that I could not do without. RT’s, MT’s, HT’s are de-mystified as I go about my tweeting.

Why then, do I literally crunch up my shoulders and cringe when I check my account to see who my “Followers” are?

Here’s my dilemma: I certainly ‘Follow’ people on Twitter.  Yet when I find out that someone has  ‘followed’ me I just can’t do what others have done.

I can’t thank them for “following” me–it feels absurd and I just can’t get the word out.  So, instead I thank them for connecting.

So much more comfortable. So much more web 2.0.


Why Do We Hate Teenagers?

The New York Times logo

Image via Wikipedia

Did this headline grab you? You’re not unique. It’s what seems to work for newspapers and television.

This is what I read in the New York Times this morning: “Raising a Teenager? What’s Not to Hate?” Not exactly what I like to read with my morning coffee, and I found the wording pretty distasteful.

What I wondered is how many click-throughs that headline got. But it got worse.

The article turned out to be a review of a tv show debuting tonight and actually said very little about teens and their parents. Except when the author made this indictment of children and teens everywhere:

“There’s nothing wrong with hating children, and teenagers all but ask for it.” 

I don’t think the writer said this in jest; the article was more serious than that.  Now my distaste has turned into disbelief and way more than dislike. I’m disarmed.

Why do teenagers seem to get a bad rep?

They are our future leaders, our creative spirits, and sometimes our conscience.  They make us think about who we are and what we represent. They ask great questions.

There have been countless times, when planning programs  in different venues, that the proprietor asked “You mean, your program is with TEENAGERS? How many? Will they be supervised? How many chaperones will there be? Are you insured? Has this been done before?

Even in the space our school shares on a weekly basis, there is an attitude that during break time ‘the kids are loud, create a mess and hang all over the furniture’. 

Break time is what I love.  There are close to 150 teenagers, all hanging out together, connecting with each other and their cellular devices…and it’s all good. 

Put that into a headline.


The 500 word college essay

600x750mm sign intended to match the specifica...
Image via Wikipedia

My blog posts rarely ever make the ideal 250 word count mark.

I read somewhere that the perfect blog contains just that amount for readability and the average attention span. 

I try, really I do, but my posts seem to hover around 320 words no matter how I shave and trim.  When editing, I habitually wince before checking out the word count total at the end of the page.  I slowly drag the scroller thing and catch a glimpse at just how off the mark I am.  Oops, failed again.

 So, I can relate to all those teens trying to squeeze meaning out of every word so their essay meets the new 500 word upper limit for the Common Application, as reported in the NY Times .  

What would you write about in under 500 words that would get you into college? Really, think about it.

What experience would you share that would set you apart from the crowd?  What would you say that would deliver just the right amount of punch and pizzazz? They have a daunting assignment.

We held a program for our students on how to navigate through the college application process.  The college consultant recommended that they not write about the obvious: trips to exotic locations, family drama, emotional trips to Israel, or Jewish camping stories.  That gives you a clue as to how competitive topic choices have gotten.

My undergraduate college essays were not that inspired. I think I wrote about why I wanted to attend that school. What I really did was to purposefully pore over enough promotional material so I could figure out how to tell them what they just told me, only more convincingly.

That seems quite lame when I compare it to the essays students have shared with me. Most have amazing and life changing stories to tell.

So, what would you write about?

Me? I’m glad I’m just posting and not putting my future on the line every time I hit ‘publish’.