In the movie Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Admiral Kirk teaches Starfleet cadets and students that, “We learn by doing.” One of the many reasons why I loved being at Indiana University High School’s online program was because I, myself had learned by doing.
My parents and I chose IUHS four years ago instead of a more traditional school environment because despite my good grades and earning the United States President’s Award for Educational Excellence, the schools around me were not suited to me. I enjoyed learning more independently. Many times my public school teachers had used class time for propagating their own agendas instead of helping students achieve their goals, from making political speeches that were unrelated to our lessons to using personal social media during class time instead of teaching the curriculum. I felt like the focus of the schooling was not about education but more about performances on standardized tests.
IUHS was an entirely different experience. It may be a distance learning school, but there is nothing distant about my learning. I felt more connected to my teachers and to the material at IUHS than I did at my local schools. These are some reasons why I will really miss IUHS after I graduate and why I am happy my parents chose IUHS for my high-school education.
First, I enjoyed how the curriculum was flexible. For the most part, I was able to choose the sequence of what classes I took. There was a wide variety of courses to choose from, including classes about art and literature, film and theater, as well as economics and the natural sciences. I learned about the importance of making a schedule and sticking with it as I worked through my classes.
Second, IUHS offers both practical and theoretical education. Some of my favorite classes were ones that gave me practical information about topics such as health, budgeting, and how to use computer software and spreadsheet programs. For example, I thought I knew how to use Word until I learned a great deal more about what computers and software like Office could do with a FACS class I took. I learned about nutrition and how to write a resume with other classes. This was something my public school almost never did: teach me practical life skills. One of my favorite classes was Interpersonal Communications because I got to think about my own goals and experiences.
Third, I learned a great deal about my society and the world. IUHS classes taught me about local, state, national, and global issues. I also discovered my love of accounting because of the math and economic classes I took at IUHS and earning a CPA is now my career goal. Even though I am uninterested in a natural science career, I loved my Chemistry and Physics classes, due to the fact that they explained everyday phenomena, such as how eyeglasses work. The labs were fun to do and my teacher Mr. David Schuth was supportive.
Fourth, speaking of my teachers, they are another reason I appreciate IUHS. I felt more alienated in a class surrounded by 20 other students in my traditional school than I ever did at IUHS. The teachers at IUHS made me feel like I belonged and I know they cared about me as a student. Dr. Rebecca Itow has book clubs and online meetings. I even got to chat with fellow students and receive feedback from them in my English classes. Teachers like Ms. Courtney Gaylord and Ms. Christine Hitchcock inspired me to be a better writer and student. I am now almost 120 pages into writing my first novel called Lound because of the encouragement I received at IUHS. Ms. Andi Bartels helped me appreciate works of art more and because of her class, I have entered several photography contests.
Most importantly, I feel confident that the education I have received at IUHS will help me be a successful college student and I hope, one day, a successful accountant and finance consultant. I want to help people plan for their futures the way IUHS helped me plan for mine. Like Mr. Spock says from Star Trek, “There are always possibilities” and IUHS helped me realize mine.