Katie-Rose, Student and soon to be Software Engineer, CA

The main purpose of school is to give kids opportunities to do things they care about. Choices.

Imagine your child (or one you care about deeply) is now in their 30s – out of school and starting into adult life. What do you hope for them about their life?  What would make it a ‘good’ life?

I hope that they are a compassionate, good person. I also hope that they feel a sense of independence and financial security, and general security in who they are and their circumstances.

I believe a good life means being personally satisfied and fulfilled.


Do you think everyone agrees with you about what a good life is?

No. I think different people see, at least success, differently. A lot of people measure it as financial, or the amount of respect other people give you for your position. But, for me, personal satisfaction is the only thing that really matters.


What role do you think schooling should play in achieving that ideal good life?

I think that school should partly give people opportunities to find out what they care about and how they can make an impact. School should give them both the background and the skills to do that. It should give kids options, and make them capable of doing the things that they want.

And, from a moral aspect, I think it’s important for teachers to set an example of good behavior, and teach lessons about respect.

But, the main purpose of school is to give kids opportunities to do things they care about. Choices.


Do you think schools are currently playing that role?

I think that schools have a lot of really really hardworking teachers. But it is virtually impossible for them to fill every expectation, particularly with such high teacher-to-student ratios.

Where I grew up, I think it did. But in some areas students aren’t given opportunities for success. They need more than teachers are often able to give. Also, the money spent on each respective school is the opposite of what is needed.


Is there anything about your schooling experience you wish you could change?

I went to Gunn High School (a public school in Palo Alto), and my school experience was really stressful. My baseline stress level in high school was way higher than as a CS major at Stanford. The pressure on kids to get into college can be detrimental to students’ health. Getting 3 hours of sleep or crying after a test was not abnormal.

I wish more kids had an understanding about what actually happens in college. It's not the end all be all.  Just because I got into Stanford doesn't make me smarter or better than anyone else.