Ms. Huber: Gen Z Cusper
What year did you graduate high school?
I graduated in 2017.
What role did technology play in your high school experience?
We didn’t use a lot of technology at all, only in sophomore year English, and a lot of people used that [technology] to cheat, when we had to write essays they would just look at Shmoop, a website that you use if you need to quickly look at a book and learn things about it. Other than that, technology did not play a role at all, like here when I’m teaching we’ll use like graphing software and stuff- we did not use that in high school.
Did you feel there was a distraction?
I was on social media a lot- freshman year the app flappy bird distracted me a lot. I mean it didn’t take long to keep up with my streaks, so other than that, no. There was no TikTok, which draws you in, and [today] there’s just continuous scrolling.
How do you think that’s changed for your students?
There’s a lot more- for example Bereal, you check it throughout the day, every day because you can only see it once, we didn’t have that. Once you caught up on your Instagram feed, that was it, it was over. But now you go into reels or look at stories and that wasn’t the case when I was in high school. It was more definite, and now it just goes on forever. I think it’s easier to get sucked in now than it was when I was in high school.
What are the main things you remember about your high school education?
I took an IB program, which was similar to AP with standardized classes, I mainly remember taking 2 year long classes in depth.
What was your level of focus on academics and grades?
I had a high level of focus on grades, or at least on academics, I made it a priority.
What effect did that have on you, did you often feel overwhelmed or stressed?
I think it had a positive effect, like if I got a bad grade, I didn’t take it personally, and I kinda just knew from experience that my teachers weren’t gonna let me fail and that everything was gonna be fine. So my focusing on academics brought me closer to my classmates who were also studying and it gave me something to do that was productive, but I don’t remember stressing- but I know a lot of my friends were worried about grades.
Do you notice any significant differences between your high school experience and your students?
So I didn’t stress about college because I purposefully only applied to 3 colleges, but I intended on only going to 1. So that’s my biggest difference between me and the students that I teach, it’s just that level of stress about college, I did not have that. But my peers did, so I might be a bad person to interview. (laughs bc it was a joke) Again I don’t think I represent my generation, I mean my other classmates were applying to like 15, 20 schools and crying over it, and I just remember thinking to myself like “Oh I’m so glad that I’m not worrying about that.
One similarity that I recognize from my high school experience is for exams, calculating what grade you need to have and aiming for that grade, instead of studying to get a 100 you study for the bare minimum of what you need, and that’s just interesting to me. People that I went to high school with, like someone was compiling like “I was 1 point away from an A, which meant that I could’ve just tried to get an F and I would’ve still gotten a B.”
What do you think the personal/academic balance is for St. Mary’s students?
So I played a lot of sports, similar to St. Mary’s girls, but I feel like now students who are athletes tend to play club sports. A lot of my friends and teammates were not doing club sports, and just school sports- so I think it’s harder now that student-athletes are so concentrated on their sport, which I think requires a lot more focus and effort.