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Defending My Ability to Graduate

August 26, 2015

By Janine Goetzen

Each year, the seniors at Kearny are tasked with producing a Senior Defense documenting the work we’ve done that year. Pass and you graduate. Fail and you do it again until you pass. Needless to say, it’s a grueling experience.

The basics aren’t that hard. Using our experience working for a client— in my case, my internship with the University of San Diego— as evidence, we must defend our right to graduate. We essentially must showcase the skills we have learned and how they prepare us for the real world. In other words, we have to answer the question: why am I ready to graduate high school?

I am in my school’s digital media pathway, meaning that the work I did at my internship was mostly media work, like making posters and other designs. On the surface, it might seem as if there is no academic connection between making brochures and writing essays. However, the work I have done as an intern is greatly connected to my academics in terms of the skills I have learned. Having deadlines that actually matter in a real-world context, for example, has led me to be much more mindful of deadlines for academic things like papers and projects. I also needed to log my hours and the progress I made, which got me into the habit of documenting my work process and helped me develop a stronger work ethic.

Not only did my internship help me academically, but it also helped me career-wise. The responsibility was all on me for once— not on my parents or teachers. It was up to me to be punctual, turn in work on time and call in when I was sick. That kind of experience was definitely something I lacked before my internship, and I’m glad to have gained it because I’m sure it will help in the future when I have a real, paying job.

All of these points are components to my Senior Defense. Because even though a digital media pathway isn’t exactly what people think of when they think of preparation to go out into the real world, something as simple as making things on Photoshop for a real-world client helped give me the preparation I need to succeed post-graduation.