Shortridge is important to me because of what the young writers there have to share with me. A lot of them have told me that they self-identify as the weird kid, the outsider, the loser, that they feel too many feelings and care about too many things.

Feelings are hard. Having feelings, hurting feelings, lacking feelings. However you want to spin it, feelings are a challenge that everybody has to learn to deal with. Despite the ubiquity of the challenges that feelings bring with them, some people are still affected by them in a way that makes everything in life about sixteen times more difficult.

I happen to be one of those people who feel a lot of (too many?) feelings. You’re probably thinking, “Oh, a sad poet, how original,” but it is what it is. Sometimes it can be so overwhelming that I just want to scream. And that is where poetry comes in.

I am constantly in awe of what the students at Shortridge can express through what they create. The written word is a powerful thing, and those students with whom we get to spend extended amounts of time are well aware of that. Seeing a student sit, scowling, scrawling lines and lines and lines of graphite words on college-ruled paper is something truly beautiful. Most of these students are not afraid to fully express themselves within the walls of room 238 on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, and that is perpetually inspiring.

Seeing these students’ outpourings of feelings onto the page and often into the classroom during open mic is something so courageous. Whether they’re writing about video games, Nikola Tesla, or their one true love, these students’ feelings are spilled out for anyone to see. They scream through their poetry onto the paper and into the void of an uncertain world. But they still make their art, and they still scream, because they know it’s something worth hearing.

Ella Paul is a senior English major.