Column: Inside Michelle’s Mind

Senior Goodbye: Michelle Szul

When thinking back on what the whole experience of high school was, it’s quite weird to look back at myself as a freshman. I’ve learned so much in four years; it almost feels as though I’m not the same person. In terms of education and knowledge, I know I wasn’t always the best student. I can tell you that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, but I wouldn’t necessarily understand how to apply that information. 

High school is four years of back-to-back learning and gathering so much knowledge every day that it feels like your head is going to burst. Speaking as a senior, I know that not every single lesson or every single class I sat through is going to be valuable to me. When I think back on the most important lessons I learned in high school, I would say that they were the interactions I got to share with my classmates and teachers. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be going to college if it wasn’t for my education and hard work in class; but I think I learned what was most important of all – finding myself. 

While I’m not in theatre anymore, Mrs. McConville freshman year taught me to get out of my comfort zone and use my voice. I used to be quite shy, but my classmates and teacher taught me that it was okay to be more outgoing. Mr. McKenzie and Mr. Nicoletti were the first teachers to show me a different classroom environment, where I could laugh and joke around while still learning. I loved history, but I loved the interactions I had in that classroom more, and knowing I could come to either of them with any trouble made me feel safe. Mrs. Smith taught me about how rewarding it is to use your voice and let others hear what you have to say, whether that be in a newspaper or out loud with friends. Mr. Rogalski was the first teacher to show me how enjoyable science was, and Mrs. Bristow taught me how powerful women were in history. Even Señor Rocha instilled some great life lessons for me during Spanish. 

The list can go on and on with so many memories for each subject. The best part about all of my teachers was knowing that they were going to be there if I had something to say. If I needed an adult to lean on, or even shed a tear with, I knew that I could walk up to them without judgment. 

You change a lot from freshman year to senior year, even just in simple terms of maturity, and I’m so proud to see how much I have grown. If it wasn’t for all of these experiences and memories and laughs and even tears I had at Grayslake North, I don’t think I’d be the person I am today. I’m starving for some independence and freedom and exploring the world, and North gave me the opportunity to grow into a woman who can chase after that confidently.