|(Yes, I know it looks like Hogwarts)|
The Taft School.
There's a reason I saved this place for its own blog post - it's kinda important.
As you may know, I transferred from the public school system to the private in 8th grade, first attending the junior boarding school Rumsey Hall then eventually The Taft School, a rather prestigious boarding school in the United States.
It's time to be honest - the only reason I was able to attend Taft was because my stepmother works there. Truth is, Taft is probably manageable for most high school students, my self included, but first you have to get accepted. That is really the hard part. There are typically over 1700 applicants and they only select roughly 100-150 students. If you've never taken economics, this is what would be called a competitive market. Not only are there an insane amount of applicants, most of them sport resumes with incredibly high GPA's or star studded athletic careers - and sometimes both. Taft is an intimidating environment for a typical academic or athletic student, to say the least.
Without my stepmothers influence, I truly do not believe I would have be able to go to Taft and it is something I wish I could thank her for every day. Never have I told her this because I know she would say something like "You did it by going to Rumsey first and getting your self familiar with prep school". Sure, I did do that, but let me tell you Pilar, it didn't mean shit when it came to Taft. You, my mother & father, a select few members of the Rumsey faculty, and the man who checked off the accepted box are all people who got me to where I am today. Some credit is due my way, but most of it yours.
There's not really a way to say how Taft impacted me. It had its pros and cons like any high school. The pros of Taft are the relationships you can build with faculty. While I find my self at odds with many of Taft's faculty, the one's I have relationships with are some of the most important influences in my life - namely Pam MacMullen, and Ken Hincker.
Pam is an incredible person. Pam teaches English at Taft, but more importantly she was my advisor for 3 official years (but she's really been one the whole time I've known her) I'd known them prior attending Taft because I became good friends with their kids - Johnny and Tom - at Rumsey Hall School.
Pam MacMullen was the person who was there for me...all the time...no matter what. Taft was not an easy place for me to adjust to for the reasons above - I just thought the kids were better than me. It was the only time in my life that I was on the brink of being legitimately depressed, missing the friends I'd made at Rumsey and the friends I grew up with. I don't know what it was about her as an advisor and friend that helped me, but she was able to calm me down and focus my thoughts. I remember starting off my Taft career with a C overall. However, every semester thereafter, my GPA rose, even if it was by a single .1. This was a direct effect of Pam MacMullen constantly encouraging me. There are some people in life, excluding family, that care for you, want to see you succeed, and will sacrifice time out of their lives to do so - that's what Pam and the MacMullen family as a whole did for me.
(((Mrs. Mac, I know I've told you this many times before, but you deserve to hear it every day: You're a wonderful, caring person who I owe much of my success too - both in my academic career and life in general. Thank you for being there for me then and today still.)))
Ken Hincker was an English teacher at Taft and he really opened my eyes about literature. Prior to my senior year, English class was not one of my strong suits and in fact, I'd say I had pleasure in hating it the first two years there. Ken taught my senior elective "Dystopian Literature" where we read books like 1984, A Clockwork Orange, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This class was so damn fun. I'd never known the different levels of meaning and interpretation literature could have until this class. That's what attracted me - how you can read the same chapter a few different times and every time it can have a new meaning depending on the perspective you chose to read it in. How awesome is that? Ken is the man I owe my major choice too - it's because his class that I study English now. Go ahead, ask me what I'll do with that degree like every one else...
(((Thanks, Ken. You truly did help mold me into the student I am today. Had I never taken your class, I don't know what I'd be doing in college. I'd probably just being a business major or something super generic, but I'm not. I'm doing what I like because you helped me discover that.)))
Then there's the kids. Man, I miss those guys. I don't mean to leave anyone out, but Remo, Flath, Simonds, Kenyon, McCellan, Nej, Valle, Wesson, Sperry, the Junior boys and a buncha other classmates...what the hell would we have done had we not had each other? I mean for real, think about Taft without your friends. We'd be talking about something completely different...hell, actually. The friendships I made there mean just as much to me as every thing else I learned academically. I still talk to most of you, but for those classmates that I don't talk too anymore or were never friends with in the first place, thank you. Because without you guys, Taft would not have been Taft.
I just want to reiterate how much this experience meant to me. I am Peter Linn because Taft and the people there helped me do this. I have many regrets, specifically that I didn't apply my self more, but I will always look back on Taft as one of the most important periods of my life. By the time I finished, I was no longer intimidated, I had tons of friends, I bettered my self, and ultimately I succeeded. Though Saint Michael's College wasn't my first choice, far from it actually, I don't believe I would have came here had Taft not been a part of my life. My so far great college career directly relates back to my time at Taft, which is yet another reason I appreciate it so much.
While we (the Taft student body) all have very strong feelings about the school, both positive and negative ones, we can certainly agree that it was an important time for all of us. I miss it for sure, but I couldn't be happier where I am today.
Oh yeah... Since this blog is supposed to be for Ireland and I've written 3 posts already but yet to step foot there, I'd suggest to keep following. While in Ireland, thats all the blog will be about, but when I'm not, it's gonna be a different story...