"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle."  Abraham Lincoln

Synthesis Essay

posted May 22, 2013, 9:44 PM by schier@pdx.edu   [ updated May 24, 2013, 12:14 PM ]


    I cannot say I am one of those students whose work ethic has been completely redefined by Senior Inquiry, as I have always studied and worked hard  in school to earn good grades. Going into the class I felt prepared for a challenge, but at the same time I did not know what to expect. I soon found out that the class was a lot more challenging than high school classes, but no impossible to succeed in.  If someone simply compared my first semester grades to my second semester grades, they would not see much change since I never got completely terribly grades to begin with. My grades might not show drastic improvements, but my skill levels and way of thinking have grown as a result of the new things I was exposed to this year.

    I  am normally fairly confident that I will figure out any unit or assignment when the time comes, and I don't spend too much time worrying about it. However, the economics unit was different. I honestly feared not being smart enough to understand it. Hearing seniors last year complain about failing every single reading quiz combined with my unfriendly relationship with math was enough to make me panic. I even waited until the last minute to buy the book Naked Economics because I wanted to put if off for as long as possible. But then we took the first chapter quiz and I got an A. Then the second, third, forth... we got to chapter 7 and in spite of doing well on all the quizzes, I was still not convinced that I could understand economics. That situation really made me think about the silly limits and barriers I set for myself just because new things sometimes intimidate me. After that experience, I have more confidence in myself that I will be able to succeed in new subjects and fields, not just the ones I am already used to.

    The unit I loved and probably would not have gotten to study in a regular English class was the Ethics Unit. I really enjoyed learning about all the ethicists and their views. It was so interesting to me that there are people who dedicate huge parts of their lives to coming up with these ethical frameworks that have solutions for almost all troubling situations. How radically different some ethicists were from one another was also very fascinating to me because it really proved that a single, perfect ethical model does not exist.  Before this unit, I had never considered the importance or implications of a solid ethical framework. I pretty much thought ethics were dictated by what your parents taught you at home and how good  of a person you are. I do understand now that some kind of model to follow is good to have because situations may occur when a person is too emotionally invested in the problem and might not be able to make a decision properly. Although I never completely agreed with any one ethicist, I took away valuable things from each of them and I now feel more prepared to examine a situation from different perspectives.

  For me, the most difficult part of Senior Inquiry this year was dealing with the spacing of assignments. It seemed like there were always two extremes: either we had nothing to turn in or we had two big assignments due the same week. For example, the second research paper was due around the same time as an innovation assignment. Usually I would have picked the most important assignment of the two and spent more time on it, but that was not the case in that situation. I couldn't get an A in the class without doing very well on the research paper, but the innovation grade was equally important since there were fewer opportunities for that category. However, because the work load was not spread out, I improved my time management skills. I learned not to waste the little time I had between school and sports and get my work done. During lacrosse season, I always had either Naked Economics or Hot with me to read on the bus, then take notes during the JV games. This year I have definitely learned to use my time more efficiently and at least try not to procrastinate.


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