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The Warrior

Taking the Lane less traveled by and that has made all the difference

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Opinion

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My first spirit day at Lane in 7th grade, a senior screamed “1-2” directly in my face as I was walking to first period, and I promptly responded “glad you can count,” and sprinted down the hallway with my backpack that weighed more than I did, bragging to my friends in first period about how I just stood up to a senior.  

Oddly enough, this moment has stuck with me as sort of a metaphor for my experience at Lane, and as my time here has been a series of making mistakes and learning from them.

I’ve been at Lane for six years. I’ve been here through five principals, had 41 different teachers and spent way more time in this building than anyone probably should. I have met people from parts of the city and parts of the world that I hadn’t heard of before I came to Lane. I’ve learned a hell of a lot since I’ve been here, whether it’s in class, in the hallway, at Mariano’s, or at a friday night Football game. As I wrap up my sixth year at Lane, there are a few things which I wish I knew on my first day in seventh grade, and through the rest of my high school as well.

Lane is a strange place, and you need to embrace the traditions, from International Days, to the unspoken rule of not wearing your gym clothes on spirit day, to the senior parades (which really are a fire hazard), and to every other unique event/rule/way of life we have here. It may be hard to dive straight into the culture of Lane, but once you’re sucked in, you can’t get out.    Embracing the school for all of its quirks is the best way to really get comfortable here, and is the best way to meet people and really feel like a Lane Tech student.

And speaking of people, be open to new people. Lane is diverse as schools get; somehow, somewhere you will find your niche of people. You will make some of your best friends in your first few weeks of school, and you will also make friends that you may not talk to after a few weeks. You’ll make friends your senior year which you wished you’ve had all throughout high school. At times, you’ll feel on top of the world and that your friends with everyone, and at times you’ll feel like you have nobody, and that’s all OK. It all works itself out, and you don’t have to have it figured out by the end of your freshman year, or even by the end of your senior year for that matter. Be open and don’t write people off.

There is no perfect equation on how to have the perfect Lane experience. You don’t have to join X number of clubs and go to Y number of games and be in Z number of activities. Every person makes their way through this school differently. This shouldn’t be the best four or six years of your life, but make it through the best you can. While you’re here, take advantage of everything you can. Join an International Days Club or any sort of club, meeting and becoming friends with upperclassmen as a freshman (or 7th grader) is one of the best things you can do, and this is an easy way to do it. Take a class you can’t take at any other high school in Chicago. Just take advantage of as many of the resources the school has laid out for you as you can.

One of the most important pieces of advice is forge actual relationships with your teachers. Seriously, the wealth of knowledge, advice and help I have gotten from the adults at Lane is priceless. You never know when you will need a last minute reference or recommendation letter, help editing a paper the period before it’s due or solving a math problem you don’t understand the day before the unit test, or just having someone to vent and complain to about school work and life. They’ve all been there, and they understand. I haven’t had a teacher at Lane who I felt doesn’t truly care about their students and their wellbeings. They want you to succeed at Lane, and further out. I’ve been lucky to have a multitude of teachers go above and beyond to help me over my six years here, (seriously, just to name a few, Ms. Ulmer, Ms. Sears, Ms. Shannon, Ms. Sebestyen, Ms. O’Malley, Ms. Milsap, Mr. Minor and Mr. Strom, you all don’t understand how appreciative I am) and I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without them.

Ultimately, Lane isn’t perfect, and my experience here hasn’t been either. The size of this school and the fear of getting lost among the crowd probably promotes cliques and groups more than anyone would like to admit. As a school, we preach inclusivity, but I think everyone at times has felt parts of exclusivity that is unintentionally manufactured by the 4,200 students who are all trying to find their place.

And while I don’t believe Lane is a competitive place, I do think as a school we have an environment where everyone feels the need to constantly better themselves, and at times, that can turn into a hostile environment. No one comes to Lane to be cutthroat and put others down, but as people see the constant successes of others, they inherently want to do anything they can to get there themselves.

Lane really is a large dysfunctional family with “cousins” you may not meet until you’re way past graduation. We all fight for and against the same things and rally around each other when we need to. Whether it’s the “Friday Night Lights” of a football game, a performance, or any game against Taft, people are always there to cheer for each other and bring each other up.

Finally, treasure your time at Lane. Obviously, this school has had a profound impact on me. There is no place like Lane, and as much as I am ready to move on to the next chapter of my life, it does hit me every day that I won’t be walking through these halls every day next year. I’ve spent a third of my life as a Lane student, and the experiences, relationships and knowledge I’ve gained here will forever shape the way I think and act. So to Lane, thank you, for the good times and the bad, the highs and the lows, and everything in between.

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The student news site of Lane Tech College Prep
Taking the Lane less traveled by and that has made all the difference