Hi. If you’re reading this right now, then the first thing we want to do is thank you for clicking the link that brought you to our project. It’s our most sincere wish that you enjoy what you see, and come back for more.
To be honest, it’s hard to describe what Thirty-Eight Minutes is at this moment. It started as a desire to blog about (read: force myself to research) education in all of its aspects, from policy to implementation. I had struggled to keep a personal blog before, and I really wanted this journey to be something long term since I’d like to go into education policy one day, so I had the idea to ask a few friends if they wanted to keep me accountable by joining along. Before we knew it, the idea became something much more than a means to do research. We envision a site that is serious enough to talk about the bigger issues we face, but relaxed enough to still be considered a blog. While we want to educate people about the topics that are closest to our heart, we also seek to make our readers comfortable in engaging in a grander conversation with us and each other.
You might have a few questions.
Who is this “we” you keep referring to?
Good question! As of this moment, Thirty-Eight Minutes consists of five core contributing bloggers:
There’s me, Ernest. For the sake of brevity and my pride, here’s a small list of things I’ve been using to describe myself as of late: Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2006, novice freestyle rapper (Hot Ice Tea in many circles), aspiring educator and education policy influencer, former person of importance, current regular guy, resident cool kid.
This is David. There are few people I know that can express themselves as well as David, which was the primary reason that I was excited to ask him to participate in Thirty-Eight Minutes. He is definitely the most famous blogger of us all (featured on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed and asked to write posts for several other blogs, including Rotary International). On top of those accolades, he also has a TED Talk on general education in college.
This is Lester. Lester is the first person I approached about Thirty-Eight Minutes for a number of reasons. The first and the foremost is that he’s incredibly insightful and intelligent. He knows a lot about how to express his opinion while being both respectful and encouraging to those who might disagree. To put that into perspective for you, I’m fairly certain this guy had at least 75 likes on every Facebook status he posted in the first two years that I knew him.
This is Lorenzo. Lorenzo has been a mentor to me since close to the beginning of my college career. He is passionate about the pursuit of equality in educational opportunity and currently serves as a Teach for America Corp member. He’ll (as of this moment) be attending Vanderbuilt to pursue a Masters degree in Education Policy, so he is essentially living out my dream and quite literally what I want to be when I grow up.
This is Aaron. Aaron is my best friend, and also happens to be married to the woman that I believe is responsible for connecting me with 60% of the people I’ve ever met. But Aaron also holds a Masters in Speech Pathology, and is a Speech Pathologist in the Oklahoma City Public Schools system. On top of having a pulse on the realities of education, he is an incredible writer who critiques and reviews music and films on his personal blog.
Why is this blog called “Thirty-Eight Minutes”?
As mentioned earlier, our blog’s shallow history is deeply rooted in the topic of education. As four part-time bloggers who came together at an institution of higher education, we recognize the important roles–both academic and general–that education has played in our lives. We also, however, wanted a name that would speak to what we would seek to do with the site: a name that would be symbolic of both the brief history of the blog and its intention.
The title 38 Minutes comes from a study led by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, which confirmed over-stretched guidance counselors are providing an average of just 38 minutes of college readiness and admissions advice per high school student in their traditional four years of secondary education. There are a number of reasons why this statistic is problematic for the the pursuit of education in the U.S. (a more detailed post on this issue coming soon). But perhaps the most obvious is simple: 38 scattered minutes over a four year high school career are not enough to adequately encourage college readiness and preparation.
While a couple of meetings between a guidance counselor and a high school student might be enough to begin the conversation on college readiness, they aren’t enough to dive deep. They aren’t enough to talk about the intricacies of getting and keeping scholarships, prepare a student for the ever-changing higher education landscape, or make sure students have realistic expectations about what it means to be away from home. But most importantly, 38 scattered minutes don’t represent enough time to turn plans into action. And just as 38 minutes between and guidance counselor and a student should be the beginning of a grander conversation, Thirty-Eight Minutes’ exists to get the party started.
We want to give a voice to the issues–good and bad, big and small– that we believe are relevant to the world today. But we desire to be the beginning of a grander conversation that leads to action. After all, as H.E. Luccock once put it, it takes an orchestra to play a symphony.
In the faith of this pursuit, while Lester, David, Lorenzo, and I task ourselves with keeping Thirty-Eight Minutes current, we encourage you to be an active part of the blog’s content. We implore you to read our articles and give us feedback by rating them, leaving comments, and taking part in the discussions that are sure to start.
We know enough to know that we don’t know everything. Join the conversation by sharing our articles, liking the ones that interest you the most, and commenting on the ones that move you to share your opinion.
Sometimes, we are going to share opinions that might not be popular. There are times we might even come across as controversial. We hope that when these moments arise, they occur earnestly and in the steady pursuit of education and inspiration. We also hope that you will show us patience, and engage in the conversations that might not be comfortable. We believe that it’s in discomfort that we tend to learn the most.
That being said, whether you’re planning on being a frequent commenter or a casual reader of Thirty-Eight Minutes, you are appreciated all the same. Let’s begin.