My English teacher requires that all students who she agreed to write recommendation letters for, fill out this questionnaire by June 15th (today) so that she can write the letters over the summer. It’s a pretty typical list of questions that includes the basic “What was your most valuable experience at Blank High School?” and “What are your most redeeming qualities?” You know, everything you would expect.
However, question number 5 is really different and interesting and it just totally stuck out to me. It asks, “What is a quotation that describes you as a student and why?”
I’ve never been that big on quotes. I hear quotes but I never know who said them and I definitely don’t really have a journal filled with famous quotes that I can just look through to answer this question, like one of my best friends does.
But I loved this question at first glance nonetheless.
Naturally, I did what I assume everyone else who had to fill out this questionnaire did, I went on the ol’ reliable Google and straightforwardly searched, “quotation about being a student.” I went through about 5 or 6 different websites and read lists and lists of quotes that just didn’t quite seem good enough for me to use. Then, I got desperate and started looking through Pinterest, but Pinterest tends to be filled with justgirlythings quotes that seemed a bit too cliche and teenagery to use.
This went on for days. In between binge watching Bob’s Burgers and waiting for the popcorn to finish popping in the microwave (my summer life), I would search and search on the internet for quotes and I would write down some of them that could maybe work, but were really only adequate enough to be backups.
But then, somewhere during this process, I found one quote that just was it.
“I am part of everything that I have read.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 1906
The moment I found this quote, I just stopped scrolling and read it over and over again, until the words almost started to look funny and not like words anymore.
This quote describes me as a student because it is the very reason why I work hard and I study. This quote puts into words what I think is the beauty of education. This quote inspires me.
I will never be that annoying kid who interrupts Calculus class to obnoxiously ask, “When are we ever going to use derivatives in life? Like, seriously. How is this useful?” Honestly, I just want to smack that kid. Could he/she be any more rude and close-minded?
Yeah, the calculus textbook is so huge and a pain to read, and really there’s only so many pages one can handle that talk about the Riemann sum, but the information inside is so absolutely relevant to each and every one of us. Maybe that kid really isn’t going to ever have to solve derivatives outside of his high school calculus class, but at some point in his life he’s going to have to think in numbers and his skills with derivatives is going to help.
Everything that we read is about us, even if it’s not plainly stated. Everything that there is to learn and read is going to benefit us in some way, shape, or form and teach us something about ourselves that we didn’t know before. Maybe it’s the law of gravity and how that affects us (physics textbook) or maybe it’s how you’re really good at derivatives (calculus textbook.) Maybe it’s how human nature makes us populate quickly because we like to have so much sex (world history textbook and biology textbook.)
Thank you, Theodore Roosevelt, for saying all of this in one beautiful sentence and giving me a quote to use to answer question number 5.