Susanna, High School Student, CA
"For upcoming freshmen, or students in general, not to worry too much about your grades. Try your best to get the best grade you can and do all your homework, but at the end of the day if you get like a B, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t get stressed out too much because you only go to high school for 4 years. You don’t have a lot of time."
Susanna is a student at Palo Alto High School (Paly). She was interviewed by a peer and one of our student Catalysts--Jenny--for the RE-ENVISIONED collective visioning project at Paly in Spring 2017. Check out other #SchoolSpotlight interviews for Paly by following #PeopleofPaly.
What are your hopes for your life? What would make a “good” successful life?
I want to finish high school strong, go to a good college, have a successful job, start a family, and then have a comfortable lifestyle. What would make a good successful life? Probably just being happy, I mean money would be nice, but like, that doesn’t make it a successful good life, so I say just being happy, doing what you like to do.
Is there anything you worry about getting in the way of achieving a good life? Anything that keeps you up at night?
There’s nothing real bad, like I want to do a job that I would like to do in the future. If anything tragic happens, like I don’t know, like don’t get into the college I wanted to go to, or I don’t get the job that I wanted to get, then I have to steer away. I try to find a different path or something like something happens in my life, or if one of my family members get sick or something, then I need to give my attention to them. So there’s a lot of things that could happen.
Ideally, what role do you think schooling, high school or specifically PALY, should play in achieving that ideal good life?
I like to think this will set you up for the future. Not necessarily if you get all B’s in Paly or all C’s or like whatever you’re not going to do well in life, but I think if you get good grades you have a good sense of determination and you’re a hard worker and that will probably carry out through life. Not that I’m saying that if you get all A’s you’re going to some like CEO or something big. I think how you act in high school is where your determination is at in life. Like if you don’t really try that hard, I don’t think you’ll do that well in life.
Do you think school, or more specifically PALY, plays the role it should for you?
Yeah because at an early age, in middle school or even freshmen year at Paly, they’ve had an expectation for everyone to do well, so I feel like they set us on a good path. I feel like I can achieve my goals with all the things Paly has prepared for me and everything that has happened at school.
Do you think people (your friends, parents, teachers) agree with you on each of those levels?
Yeah I think for the most part all my friends really care about their future and they really care about what they get in school and how they act around other people. My parents are kind of like that, they’re not as stressed as me, my parents don’t really care how I do, actually. Obviously they prefer A’s, but if I don’t, I don’t get in trouble. I’d say I surround myself with people like me and my mind set, so it’s easier for them to agree with me, obviously.
What have been some of your most empowering educational experiences? This doesn’t have to be in school - it can be something you have done outside of school.
A couple of years ago, I would go to our close family friend’s school, he has autism, and I would help him around and teach him the alphabet, numbers, and all that, so I thought that was pretty cool. Especially now in yearbook, I’m one of the baby ad editors, a section editor, so I like having that role too.
What made your teaching of your family friend so empowering? Will teaching be a career path for you?
Yeah, I really like teaching, but it doesn’t give a lot of money. I really enjoy working with kids and education, so that might be a future career goal, maybe teaching biology because I like biology.
Tell me about your favorite teacher? Why are they your favorite?
I like Ms. Szebert. I had her sophomore year for Chemistry and right now for APES, and she’s just really fun and makes the class so fun, and she’s like really enthusiastic, so it makes you want to listen to her because she’s always doing all this stuff. She’s really nice too, so that’s good. And she helps us with anything we need, if we need help on a problem or on homework, she won’t be one of those stingy teachers that will be like “go look online” or something. She gives a lot of opportunities for us to interact with each other and learn. Overall, she’s a really good teacher. Especially since this is her second year at Paly and I thought her first year was great too, because I had her first year.
Is there anything else related to your school experience you would like to share?
For upcoming freshmen, or students in general, not to worry too much about your grades. Try your best to get the best grade you can and do all your homework, but at the end of the day if you get like a B, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t get stressed out too much because you only go to high school for 4 years. You don’t have a lot of time.