Mercedes Ordonez Senior Column

Mercedes Ordonez

     Apparently, we’re supposed to learn things in high school. Yet I can barely remember any of my Pre-Calculus or Biology lessons. I do remember, however, the life lessons – the things that I’ll carry with me throughout college and the rest of my life.

     The very first thing I learned was how to procrastinate. I learned that my sleeping habits will not return to normalcy for a very long time. I learned how to avoid doing homework by online shopping and Facebooking until midnight, and then I learned how to wake up at 4 AM to finish said homework. Even though procrastinating might have cost me scholarship money to my dream school, I know I had some of the best conversations at 5 in the morning with my fellow slackers, and I also know that no matter what, I’ll always be able to figure it out (whatever it is)…even if it’s at the last minute.

     While I did my share of slacking, I also learned how to be truly dedicated to something. First with lacrosse and then with newspaper; when I first started both of these things, I overwhelmed myself with them. I immersed myself so deeply into these things, I almost began to despise them. However I learned that loving an activity doesn’t mean you always have to like it; loving an activity really means you’re willing to stick with it through both the tedious and the fun times. Both of these programs taught me that dedicating yourself to something will pay off in the end. You’ll not only have the pride in knowing you made it through those rough times, but you’ll have irreplaceable memories with the people you met along the way.

     Sometime at the end of my sophomore year, I learned my third lesson – That I will never, ever be cool. I will never have the cute girly handwriting, the motivation to dress trendy every day or the personality that draws everyone in. I will, however, be comfortable with myself. I will laugh as I act like a five-year-old, be satisfied with a Friday night spent on my couch and I will know that the friends I do have are awesome and won’t ever expect me to set any trends because they know and like me, just the way I am.

     And those friends who accept my un-cool ways taught me something else – how to be a good friend. Friendship wasn’t about who was the most entertaining or who had the nicest house, but about who was there for you. I learned that the best conversations happen at the least exciting times, that it’s important to stand up for a friend even if it’s uncomfortable and that to have good friends you have to be a good friend. Even if my friends didn’t go to all the parties, I know that I can count on them to sing Tik Tok at the top of their lungs with me while we make a late night trip to Berry Cool.

     The final thing I learned in high school might be the most important. Ms. Michelle Iskra, famous for her astounding vocabulary and pristine mannerisms, finally taught me how to write a thesis statement. To me this was more than just part of my introduction in every paper I wrote in her class, but a symbol for defining and recognizing my thoughts and opinions. Before this class I was not able to articulate my beliefs in an intelligent way. The thesis statement taught me to say something with meaning and evidence, something I plan to carry to all vocal and written aspects of my life. If something has no real meaning, it’s worthless. And so give meaning to the sometimes redundant, mind-numbing thing we call high school, I’m carrying the lessons that I learned here with me for the rest of my life.