The Harbinger Online

Senior Column: Tom Lynch, News Section Editor

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Tom Lynch

Position: News Section Editor

College: New York University

Major: Film




I blame my apathy on Judd Apatow. It was in eighth grade that I was listening to a commentary track on an episode of “Freaks and Geeks,” where Apatow said that the series was largely inspired by his own bad experience in high school. He went on to talk about how college made up for how bad high school had been.

So, I made my decision: college was going to be my window. I wouldn’t worry about high school, because it would inevitably be a bad experience. College was the time where I was going to find myself, just like every nostalgic college graduate had told me.

As a result of my attitude, I feel like I skipped out on a lot of the high school experience. The football and basketball games that I’ve gone to in the last four years can be counted on my two hands. Prom will only be my third school dance, and the only reason I’m going is because George Lucas, in a guest appearance on “The O.C.,” said that skipping his senior prom was one of his big regrets.

It took me a long time to even consider attending a clichéd seminal high school moment like prom. I started out doing only what I thought I had to. I took the hardest classes I could, although my Honors Biology class was questionably more challenging than Physical Science. I ran and was elected to Student Council as Class Treasurer. I signed up for swim team. All things that would allow me to go somewhere far away, and live out my glory days.

I did my homework — although not always at home — and I begrudgingly studied for tests. I carried out my responsibilities as Class Treasurer, organizing the float and signing all the sheets of paper that Señora Myers all the way through Señora Sieck slid under my favorite ballpoint pen from the Ritz Carlton.

But beginning in sophomore year, I began my discovery of interesting parts of school. It started when I joined the Harbinger staff. At first the newspaper was going to be another thing to pad my resumé. However, it became the first thing in high school that wasn’t mostly forgettable. I learned the typical things of course like how to write and design effectively, but those aren’t the most important lessons. Those aren’t the life-changing ones. The important ones aren’t limited to the creation of a publication.

First, I developed good taste because of newspaper. Through the hundreds of hours of writing, copy-editing, designing, critiquing and seminar-going, I have learned how to recognize what good is.

Good taste can be a curse though. Because I learned what good is, I now recognize how hackneyed and insignificant the vast majority of my work is. This leads me to the second most important thing I learned on newspaper: to never settle. The Harbinger staff has won a lot of awards. Big, fancy, national awards. I’m not bragging though, because I have very little to do with any of that. The bar is set really frickin’ high though. For every award we win, everyone’s going to feel really horrible if we don’t win it the next time around. The atmosphere is not “we’re the best,” it’s “the people before us were the best. We better not [screw] this up.” I’ve learned that it’s wrong to give up until you’re not only satisfied, but until you feel so numb and invested in your creation that you experience catharsis over something as typical as the News Briefs.

Next came junior year, when I enrolled in Visual Arts IB, because I really didn’t want another IB class with homework. That class soon became one of my most difficult. It was also the first art class — and I had taken many prior — to teach me about art appreciation. I learned how to talk about my own pieces, and about others’. I started understanding Art. And through Art, I started understanding literature. I started understanding History through Art. Sociology through Art. Believe it or not, even Math through Art. And I want to give a shoutout to Yoda and Mr. Chaffee in appreciation of their incorporation of art in teaching social sciences.

Finally, in the second semester of my senior year, I landed in my favorite class that I’ve ever taken: Sociology I. I could go on about the teacher, Yoda, but everything that could be said has already been said by a thousand others. The subject matter was something I knew close to nothing about. I’m prone to hyperbole, but please take me seriously when I say that the class was life changing. I’m a different person than I was just four months ago. This class was one of maybe two, that I’ve taken where I became very angry when I had to miss a class period, or even five minutes of a period.

Those are the three classes, which are more aptly described as experiences, that led me to the premature discovery of myself. They defied my best efforts to make high school forgettable — something to be left in college’s dust. Maybe college will still blow high school away. But even if it does, thanks to these three experiences, high school will always be a part of me.

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