Roving Teen Reporters: Promising Futures

by Natalia Mochernak | Torrey Pines High School Senior

I finished my last ever AP exam yesterday (May 13) and it feels surreal, so surreal that my mom and I had to celebrate with Yogurtland and a major dance party (probably induced by post-froyo sugar high).


I think the sum of my high school experience could be summed up pretty perfectly by this past weekend: one spent at prom, celebrating my wonderful mother for Mother’s Day, and prepping for my AP Calculus exam on Monday. My mom curled my hair as I reviewed integration formulas, and I somehow figured out a way to utilize my friends’ recent gossip as a memorization tactic for the different series tests. I’ve never been much of a party girl, and my post-prom shenanigans consisted of milkshakes and fries at the local Denny’s with friends. And there’s absolutely no other way I’d want it. High school has taught me what it means to have a million things on a to-do list and figure out a way to laugh about it, rather than drowning in it. It has taught me that with the right people, you will never ever feel uncool. It has taught me that no matter the circumstances and the stress you may be facing, if you go through life with gumption and love, everything will turn out okay. And it has turned out more than okay.


I am incredibly elated to divulge that I will be attending UCLA in the fall (sorry Kathryn but boo Trojans). While I am still currently an undeclared major in social science, I am so excited to be a part of an institution filled with like-minded, intellectually curious students. I mean come on, UCLA has a “Jane Austen and peers” literature class – basically my version of heaven. I am also a very proud recipient of the Junamici Scholarship: a completely full-ride awarded to students who have shown passion for foreign language.


While being unapologetically myself has meant losing people along the way, I treasure the beautiful life it has brought me with every fiber of my being.


by Kathryn Reese | Torrey Pines High School Senior

I remember one particular day in the 3rd grade which I believe sums up my relationship with the future quite perfectly. I was picking four leaf clovers on the field with my friend, and as we scoured the grassy floor, I chatted her ear off about what color scheme I wanted my future dorm to have (bright teal and black, as was all the rage in teen magazines at the time). I distinctly remember the bewildered look on her face as she gently said, “Kathryn, calm down. We’re still in elementary school.”


While it’s silly to think about that younger version of me prematurely dreaming up a future that was so far in the distance, the memory serves as a reminder of my excitement toward college. In fact, I’ve been ready for college for quite some time. I put up posters of college basketball teams on my walls at 8. I opened a college fund at 10. I started writing drafts of my Common App essay at 13.


It was only this past year that my steadfast readiness for college began to falter. Or maybe I simply began to reanalyze my priorities. As my final year of high school was drawing to a close, I realized how much I’d been taking this step for granted. I told myself to slow down and appreciate this phase of my life– to look to the future less and live presently. I am proud to report that over these past few months, I have done just that. I’ve attended football games and taken late-night runs to Denny’s. I’ve been more social in my classes and joined new clubs. I’ve allowed myself to be a high school kid, not a college fanatic only looking to pad her resume. As that once far-off future now draws steadily nearer, I can confidently say that I am not only ready, but I also enjoyed the process of getting there.


I am excited to disclose that I am tentatively planning to attend the University of Southern California– where my dorm’s color scheme will be light green and baby blue. I plan to double major in journalism and political science, two majors that will bring me one step closer to being a foreign correspondent in the future– a future I dream of, but not before appreciating the journey to get there.


Ed. Note: Natalia and Kathryn – From all the Sandpiper editors and readers, thank you both for your exceptional contributions to the Sandpiper. We wish you all the best at UCLA and USC, and in each of your futures.