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  • Writer's pictureDavid Wolfe Bender

The First Notebook: Sixteenth Grade


A statue of Herman B. Wells is seen in front of the Indiana Memorial Union (Photo Credit: Indiana University)

The four months of May, June, July, and August could be viewed like the tide of an ocean.


In May, life is in full swing. If final examinations are not under way, they are surely approaching. Even once final examinations end, the rush to put summer plans into operation brings much stress and concern; the waves of the metaphorical ocean slam into shore one after another. The month of May in our family was busy. My brother graduated from Park Tudor School, my alma mater. (He is already off to the Georgia Institute of Technology; as my 2020 commencement ceremony moved to a different format amid the COVID-19 pandemic, his commencement ceremony was our first opportunity to properly celebrate an upper school commencement).


June and July bring a different ambiance. Life calms back down; the tide rolls back as the waves gently roll into shore. The summer brings some relief and comfort: a sense of relaxation. I spent much of my summer working, but I also spent a lot of time relaxing and meditating on the fact that little time in my undergraduate education remains.


Then August hits. The tide of the ocean is back to full strength, and it comes time once again to brave through the storm of challenges that August brings. Notable among those challenges is getting prepared for another year of school.


In a tradition that dates back to 2017 (skipping the years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021; can I even still call it a yearly tradition?), I write down a series of thoughts and goals for the school year ahead.


I published one last year for Grade 15; this is the update for Grade 16.


On campus, I'll continue working with Indiana University's chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society — a foreign policy group. I will continue to assist in the organization of educational events, book clubs, and speaker series with nationally renowned speakers. Additionally, I'll resume my role as Chairperson for the American Enterprise Institute's Executive Council at IU. Similar to AHS, we bring policy experts from across the political and ideological spectrum to speak to students at IU.


Off campus, I will return in November to serve as Tournament Director of the Speedway Signature Event. This will be my second year in the role and fourth year as part of the event. Competitive robotics played a major role in my development in upper school, and I'm excited to use that experience to help create the best event experience possible. Interested in attending? It'll be held November 16-17, 2023, at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway, Indiana. Interested in volunteering? Contact me.


Also, I'll continue my work with the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation as a Regional Support Specialist. I started this role just over a year ago; I help assist robotics teams and events throughout Indiana. I look forward to seeing so many robotics teams compete for their chance to make the 2024 edition of the World Championships.


In the academic world, I'm registered for another 18 credit hours for the Fall semester. My coursework will revolve around Indiana state politics, real estate law, journalism history, inequality, and religious history.


Additionally, I will be working as a Research Assistant in the Maurer School of Law. I will be working for Professor David Gamage researching tax law. Professor Gamage is a distinguished tax law professor, and I'm so thankful for his guidance and willingness to allow me to pursue this opportunity.


My time as an undergraduate student is fading away quickly, but I plan to make the most of it. Follow along with me on my blog. And I'll see you on the other side.

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