Newspaper alumni throwbacks to high school

Natalie Larimer, Guest Writer

What is up JHS?? It has been far too long. For those of you who do not remember me, I graduated from Johnston back in 2015, though I am sure that you have all been briefed on my historic presence in J-Town. After I graduated, you were so kind to have built a new high school and moved across town, gotten a new principal, and ditched the lanyards my class hated so much.

However, you are not the only ones who have changed. I am a lot different than I was in my high school days (thank goodness).For one, I have much better hair now. I am better at French and pretty much anything else I have ever attempted, as well. The only thing I still really suck at is calculus, but there was never any hope of me improving at that.

So where am I now?Well, I attend Drake University in the big city and study Political Science, Sociology, and French. I originally majored in Chemistry and Entrepreneurship with a minor in Journalism, but it did not take long for me to realize that none of that was right for me. This year I’m a senior, and after this I plan to get my master’s in Library and Information Sciences and eventually become an academic librarian.

Now to the burning question; how did Johnston help (or hinder) my entrance into the glamourous life of adulthood? Well, for one, the amazing teachers and staff members really helped me figure out what I wanted to do and study, as well as how to be a decent person. In fact, the influence from the world’s best librarian, Ruth Thoreson, inspired me to get a job at the Drake campus library, which in turn influenced me to seek out librarianship as a career. On top of that, the advice and encouragement from the English department and Shipp over in journalism got me to continue writing after high school, which has helped me earn some good grades in my writing-intensive classes, as well as make some money writing for the Drake paper. The only hindrance I can think of is Oldham being such a good chemistry teacher that he fooled me into liking the subject to the point of majoring in it for a year. He should either be fired or promoted, your call.

While I have never had shortage of complaints about Johnston, such as the school-issued iPads that I absolutely hated (and still do), in retrospect, it was really the best school for me to have attended to prepare me for college. I think the main thing is that I learned how to learn. I am not saying that I am perfect, but I work better under pressure and stress than some of my classmates here. My advice to the teachers at Johnston is to stop trying to scare us about how hard college really is and work with college professors in the area to see what we lack when we exit high school, making college less difficult and ease the transition for us. My advice for the students is to stop resisting the ideas of the adults in your life, specifically your teachers and administrators. If I would have listened to them when I was at Johnston, I would have avoided a lot of dumb ideas that I have had in the past four years.

In terms of how Johnston otherwise prepared me, I will refer you back to a column I wrote on Jan 15 of 2015 about a senior meeting held by then-principal, Brent Riessen. I wrote, “At every mention of graduation, we applauded obnoxiously until kindly told by Riessen that we were soon to enter upon the “adult world” and life only gets harder from here.” He was right. Life did get much harder after I left my safe little bubble that was Johnston Senior High School, but I think I had learned enough in that bubble to where it was not anything I could not handle.