Our Wildwood, Winter 2017, Volume 40


by Lilly W. ‘17

I ARRIVED AT WILDWOOD JUST BEFORE MY JUNIOR year began. I had attended many schools over the years— four in the past five years alone. Only one thing remained constant between schools, and that was my love of school itself. I spent most of my time simply enjoying my classes and teachers, only momentarily pausing when asked what my favorite subject was. The answer depended on the year and could change at any time. Around 8th grade, conversations move away from the lighthearted, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” to the more serious, “What do you want to do with your life?” When you have no answer, the next question is usually, “Well, are you a math and science person or a humanities person?” These questions formed an assumption in my mind that I soon accepted as a truth: Eventually, I would have to give up half of what I had learned in school and devote my life to studying just one or two subjects. I went on enjoying my classes and viewing them as individual entities; each had their purpose and lessons, but their weight did not go beyond the class itself. It was not until I arrived at Wildwood that I began to worry about my lack of passion for anything but education in general. Junior year is not an easy one. On top of the workload, students start to think about college. For most, this means narrowing down the list of what they may want to study to help them decide where they should apply to school. Art schools, research universities, liberal arts colleges, and dozens of different specialties that schools boast, force students to think about where their passions lie. On top of this, I was a new student at Wildwood, slowly working my way in and adapting to (rather begrudgingly) the eclectic and progressive approach that was very different from the traditional, straight-laced schools that I attended in the past. Wildwood’s approach to learning was not something I

Wildwood’s approach to learning was not something I was used to. It does not cater to individual subjects; instead, it centers on learning for the sake of learning. “

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was used to. It does not cater to individual subjects; instead, it centers on learning for the sake of learning and Habits of Mind and Heart, which I initially didn’t understand. As new as the approach was to me, and hesitant as I was to accept it, Wildwood helped me come to a realization that I might not have otherwise: School subjects are not just isolated categories that I can simply toss aside and expect to be happy doing so. Through the interconnected and interwoven classes at Wildwood, and one particular 20-page history paper last year, I finally understood that maybe I’m not meant to choose, but instead supposed to fight for the act of learning. For the first time, I felt like it was okay not to exactly know what I want to do and that whatever I choose, I won’t have to give up important parts of myself. Wildwood taught me that deciding on my favorite subject, whatever it might be at the moment, is not as important as the ability to apply everything I have learned to fight for something I am passionate about—learning itself. “

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