Another Letter To Mr. Kreinbring

Another Letter To Mr. Kreinbring

Don't post pictures of the eng wing if you don't want sappy letters in response.
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Dear Rick,

(Am I allowed to call you Rick to your face yet? Sorry, sorry.)

Dear Mr. Kreinbring,

I think I've written you too many letters already, and I'm sure you're tired of reading them. But I saw the picture of you and the eng wing dressed up for Halloween (minus a few faces) and I just couldn't help getting nostalgic. Like Tanya said, the eng wing never fails to disappoint. Never.

God, I miss you guys. I miss your class. I miss our discussions and our design thinking. I miss talking about feminism and religion and language. I miss the way you would teach us and essentially blow up our minds and then send us on our way.

Mostly though, I miss the way you grounded us. Since being here on campus, I've somehow forgotten the most important lesson you ever taught me: to give up the race for grades and follow the pursuit of knowledge.

College is insane, needless to say. The competition here is fierce. Every kid is the brightest, smartest, most talented kid. Everyone looks like they have their shit together, even if they don't. And classes are tough. (By the way, thanks for teaching me how to research so I'm not entirely lost with these 12,912,839 research papers I have to write by the end of the week. Also, thanks for teaching me how to write; that's a skill I've capitalized on beyond reasonable measure.) But yeah, college is intense. And somehow, I managed to slip back into 11th grade mentality, back into the Cave. You know, with the insistent push for GOOD GRADES and DON'T MESS ANYTHING UP EVER!!!!!!!! I started looking, no, obsessing over my GPA again. Oops. I know, I know, I'm sorry.

Seeing your face in the Addam's Family costume reminded me to take a step back and gain some perspective. Today I realized that I am literally at a place where I am surrounded on all four sides by information. For the next few years, any question I have, ANY question at all, I can get an answer to if I just look hard enough. That's what amazing resources I have at my finger tips. I'm here to learn, not to race. I remember that now. You've reminded me of that.

Sure, GPA matters and all, but oh my god, no it doesn't! What matters is that I'm learning things, things I'm probably not going to have such easy access to ever again. I can learn anything I want to. I don't need to be scared.

I remember you once agreeing with Mrs. Allan that you hated the whole concept of open letters, because they're just irritating and not ever well-written and are just an excuse for people to sound self-important. Yikes. I'm sorry I chose to make this an open letter, but I think that more people need to hear the things that you're teaching at Avondale, especially a lot of my peers.

Ben Zaremba, just a few days ago, said something like, "We don't even realize the impact that Avondale had on us. We had diversity and Rick's class," and those two things taught us more than any number of AP or IB courses ever could have.

Damn, I wish I could bring you and Eng Wing with me wherever I go. I wish you could always be there to spread your wisdom (yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes). But I'll just keep your lessons in mind. I'll remember the things you've taught me. I'll be grateful for where I come from and the memories I'm taking with me.

Even so many miles away and so many months later, you still continue to inspire. That's powerful.

Thank you for everything, again, because I'll never stop saying thank you.

Riya

Cover Image Credit: Vipul Gupta

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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How Much Freedom Do We Actually Have?

Lying in a job interview, aiming to be more selfish in 2019 and being fed up with exams

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Whenever I am tired I am very blunt and sincere, to the extent that I come off as rude sometimes. A couple of weeks ago I was in a job interview early in the morning, and the interviewer asked me what my dream was. This being in the middle of the finals season of a very tiring semester, my first thought was not this.

Although I do like studying and reading and find both of my majors extremely interesting, I am not a fan of being pressured. I don't care for the argument that pressure makes you work to the best of your abilities, or that it is a part of life. I don't like being pressured, and during that interview, I realized that my dream was to not be pressured to do anything ever. I want to live a relaxed life: I want to sleep eight hours every night, read books without worrying about memorizing their details for an exam, have time to exercise every day, have time to really talk to my friends and family, simply to have time to do things at my own pace.

Of course, I didn't say this to my interviewer but opted instead to give him a polished and made up answer about how the job I was applying for would help me advance my career and make the world a better place in the process. After the interview though, I kept thinking about why I changed my answer. My conclusion was that my dream made me seem lazy and not particularly driven. Isn't it absurd though, that to want to do things at your own pace makes you seem lazy? That to want time for yourself during such a short life as we have, is seen by many as selfish or the result of lack of motivation?

Up until now, college has been the time in my life in which I got to choose the most aspects of how I live, and I have found this freedom addicting. Isn't it crazy that I find it a privilege to be able to choose the time of my classes and consequently my meals and bedtime?

Another facet of my made-up answer was my desire to make the world a better place. It's not that I don't want to contribute to global progress because I do, but is it so wrong that this isn't my dream? Isn't my dream supposed to be about me? I think that nowadays many people see doing things for yourself, even the smallest things, as selfish. If it is selfish to take time for yourself, to choose to stay a night in watching your favorite T.V. shows instead of going out, or choosing to stop being close to someone that brings you down, I think we should all be selfish. If taking care of myself is selfish, then my goal for 2019 is to be as selfish as possible!

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