Ms. Ray: Baby Boomer
What year did you graduate high school?
What are the main things you remember about your high school education?
I remember… I decided in high school that I thought I was a science person, and I wanted to go to medical school. That’s what I thought my whole growing up and then in high school I realized that that wasn’t my interest or ability, so I came to realize that I was more of an arts, humanities, English sort of student.
What was your level of focus on academics and grades?(how much of your life was dedicated to school?)
Probably for me, it was pretty decently balanced, I was active outside of school, I was a theater kid. I think I was pretty good about using my time at school to get the homework done as much as possible. Back in those days, we didn’t have the distractions you guys have. We didn’t have computers and phones. So when you sat in study hall, all you had was books, and, so frankly, I think it was easier to get the homework done because there was less distraction.
Do you notice any significant differences between your high school experience and your students?
The technology is, for sure, the biggest difference. And I don’t mean that as a negative thing, in many ways it fosters great creativity. It can save a lot of time, technology. We didn’t have this constant demand of the phone buzzing and feeling that you had to be on it, all the time. You couldn’t see what everyone else was doing. The world seemed a little smaller.
How would you describe the focus/stress levels of St. Mary’s students? Would you describe SMS students as overwhelmed, stressed, etc.
I actually think that sort of “pressure cooker” mentality has gotten better of late. I’ve been here a long time, I’ve been here 26 years, and I think that we have managed that stress a great deal since that time. I also think that it’s not just true at St. Mary’s, it’s true of all students these days. I think that, we probably not just as a school but as a culture, waste more time now online than ever before. And if that causes stress to rise, then there you are. But I think the school itself has more realistic expectations. I think the expectation to go to a certain kind of college is less, and I think that helps.
What do you think would fix this?
What my advice would be to students? This comes from my own upbringing, so you can’t really separate yourself from your own upbringing, use your time wisely at school. Put everything down, do your homework, if you have trouble with a class see that teacher. Be honest with your own abilities, like me – I was gonna go to med school, but then I realized “I don’t like science! I don’t wanna study it what I really wanna do is read books!” Be honest with yourself, make reasonable expectations for yourself, I would tell my students and I do tell my students all the time to try to quit comparing yourself to everybody else, and I think social media makes that worse, that comparison.