Working and struggling; finding friends; becoming myself
It’s weird to think that it has been four years since I first came to MC. I can still remember freshman orientation, not knowing a single person in attendance, and wondering if I made the right decision.
Freshman year started off slowly. The first day specifically was like being thrown into the deep end of a pool. I had never taken public transportation by myself let alone been downtown by myself.
It was also the first time I had ever been at a school where I didn’t know anyone. I was the only person from my grade school to come to Carmel, but it was a nice change of pace. I needed a fresh start,and it honestly couldn’t have gone any better.
Some of the highlights of my freshman year were Coach Nunez’s class and my first MUNI conference (Model UN at the University of Illinois Urban-Campaign ). MUNI is specifically memorable because we stayed at a Super 8 and the TV wouldn’t turn on unless the lights were on.
That year I also got involved in cross country and rugby for the first time. It was definitely fun learning the ropes of sports in which I had no previous experience.
Sophomore year was the only year in which I didn’t have any major changes in my life, and it was still before I was worried about college. As a result, it was kind of a blur.
Still, a big highlight for that year was from my second MUNI in which I was in the security council as Vietnam. I managed to create a coalition with Italy, Switzerland and Brazil in which we all were communist and aligned with China in a World War III scenario. However, we lost and for Fun MUN (which is like the last twenty minutes) we were tried as war criminals.
Junior year was fun, until it wasn’t. Winning state in football was crazy, and it was also fun being on TV. That year I decided to be a little bit more open. I tried my hand at mock trial, and I tried out for the school musical. I will be the first to say that I am not a good singer, so this is probably the only school that would put me in the cast. And to be honest, my acting is not much better.
I took a music industry class with Mr. Spakowski which was really fun. I liked it because it showed you the process which people go through in order to make the songs we hear on the radio.
March was when it all came to a halt. COVID-19 hit, and while we were told initially it would only be two weeks, it wasn’t. Online classes sucked and having to stay inside for the summer was somehow worse. The only plus side was that I got my driver’s license during this time.
This brings us to senior year. It’s been interesting, to say the least. Coming to school wearing masks was not something I thought I was going to have to do, but it’s what we all got dealt. Being able to see my friends in person was nice and being able to have a season for cross country and rugby was something I didn’t think was going to happen. The year also included college visits, filling out applications, sweating out acceptances and managing the related stress. It’s good to have all that behind me.
I will say that having this opportunity is something that has changed my life. Coming to Mount Carmel has allowed me to become someone that I wouldn’t have been if I had gone to my local public school. I found some of my best friends here and honestly, leaving will be hard.
While it’s nice that I get to begin the next chapter in my life, it does not negate the fact that I am closing a chapter, and the experiences that I have had will become memory.
Thinking back on orientation, they showed everyone the sign that said “You came to Carmel as a boy. If you struggle and work hard you will leave as a man.” I honestly don’t know how much of a man I am, but I have struggled and worked hard to get where I am.
Benjamin Fields is a senior at Mount Carmel High School. Fields grew up in Brookfield, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago and attended S.E Gross Middle School....