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Muriel Simonson: The life of a student at Jackson College 1924-1929


Medford High School

Muriel attended Meford High School, graduating in 1924. In her senior year, Murial published an essay entitled Running on Low Gear in the "Medford High School Review 1924."

Muriel, age 17

Running on Low Gear

You know it is the easiest thing possible to shift from neutral to low gear; that is why it would be easy to run a car with the gear in that position. But there is a "catch" there - as is true of almost all of the easiest tasks. If we should drive for any great distance in "low," the engine would become overheated and consequently after awhile would be ruined. So, since we do not wish to ruin the car, we abandon the idea of running it on low gear.The next shift is the intermediate or second. There is a possibility of running the car in "second," although the best results are not often obtained by this procedure. The engine does not run as it should, and in this shift, too, becomes rather heated; therefore we give up the idea of running our car on the intermediate gear.But one shift is left perhaps two, if we count reverse. I imagine, though, that very few of us would care to go backwards for any great distance if we value our nerves. The last shift, then, is "high," from which we obtain the very best results. With the gear in this position, the engine does not get too hot, the car runs smoothly - in fact, all the parts function properly. Almost any car can climb a hill on "second," but what a great feeling of pride we sense when our car goes up and over on "high"!Cannot we compare running ourselves with running a car? After all, are not human beings machines? If we elect the easiest course to take in school and college, our powers for thinking upon real problems will be impaired, for we, no more than automobiles, are meant to be run in "low". If we elect the course that is perhaps the easiest, but on the other hand is not difficult, merely a cross between, surely we are being unjust to ourselves, for we are classing ourselves as "second-raters". No, we are not meant to be run on intermediate gear either.Let us, then, take a course in school and in college which requires real work, and which will develop our brain so that we can think intelligently. Perhaps each of us cannot be a George Washington or a William Shakespeare, but we can be the best that is in us. Success is not to be had for the asking; it can be obtained only through hard work. We receive from life just exactly what we give it; nothing more, nothing less. The man who makes a success of himself is the one who does not climb the hill of life on low or second gear, but who reaches and goes over the top "on high". -- Medford High School Review 1924

Jackson College

Muriel graduated from Jackson College in 1929 magna cum laude with a Final Honors in English. She also competed twice for the Goddard Prize, a competition which sought to encourage "the speaking of English verse" and an appreciation for poetry, prose, and drama. Entrants in the competition were required to recite set selections of classic literature for a panel of judges seated behind screens. Students were judged by voice and interpretation alone. Muriel won second place her first competition, but succeeded in taking first in 1929, receiving $40 in prize money for her recitation from William Wordsworth's Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.

Jackson College students in front of Eaton Hall, 1926