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edu180atl: sarah zoellick 8.24.12

For students and faculty alike, today marks the completion of our first full week of school for the 2012-2013 school year. The members of the class of 2015 and I are sophomores this year, a term derived from the Greek sophos, meaning wise, and moros, meaning foolish. When my parents first informed me of this a few days before the start of school, and when I was reminded of it once again by my school’s Dean of Girls earlier this week, I laughed, joking about just how low an expectation the term “wise fools” seemed to set for my class members and I. But then, I started to think.

While it is true that our brains are not yet fully developed, and that sometimes we make foolish decisions without a thought spared as to the consequences, I do not think the fact that people my age can sometimes be fools should negate the fact that we can just as often be wise. True, our prefrontal cortexes might not be all there just yet, but I have heard amazing revelations and surprisingly deep thoughts from my peers as often, or even more often, than I have heard them from the adults in my life. I have peers who have accomplished, and will continue to accomplish, amazing things, and I truly believe that people my age should be accorded the same respect as anyone else for their accomplishments.

Sarah Zoellick is a student at The Westminster Schools. She is enthusiastic about an inordinate amount of things, and spends the majority of her time trying to balance as many of them as possible.

Photo reproduction of painting:  Stańczyk by Jan Matejko. The jester is the only person at a royal ball who is troubled by the news that the Russians have captured Smolensk in 1514. Wikipedia.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you for this good reminder as we start the year.

    August 26, 2012
  2. Sarah, I too remember when my mother explained the term “sophomoric” to me as I bounded off to college for my 2nd year. It was kind of a bubble burster! But, the way I have conceptualized the term is that sophomores are wise… there has been a lot of learning. Yet, there is so much left to learn. I think the “moros”, or foolishness, enters in when we are tempted to be so caught up in, and proud of, all we know. This can leave us unable to reflect on all we don’t know; it can leave us unappreciative of the many lessons around us. To your point about the wisdom of youth, I have these thoughts: the prefrontal cortex does many things. One of those things is that the prefrontal cortex serves to INHIBIT(or put brakes on) the rest of the brain. Maybe one reason youth are able to generate fresh ideas, see things differently, and offer new insights, is that their prefrontal cortices don’t yet always apply the creative/ thoughtful/ processing “brakes” like that of an older brain. So, press on! I can’t wait to see what wonderful things the Class of 2015 will contribute this year.

    August 26, 2012

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