Senior Column: Mia Salbego


Mia Salbego, Senior writer

Reflecting on the past four years is difficult… not because it’ll make me super emotional, but because I actually don’t remember. If you know me, you’re familiar with my awful memory. If you come up to me with a “hey remember this?!” moment, chances are, I won’t. While I might not remember all the little things that happened in classes, I do remember the big things, important things, and realizations I made over my high school years. 

Realization number one: it’s okay to be alone. I promised myself that I wouldn’t talk about COVID for more than a few lines, but hello, the pandemic was pretty relevant in our sophomore, junior, and even senior year. Staying COVID-consious meant staying home—away from friends and your social circle. Prior to COVID, I couldn’t imagine spending time with myself and enjoying my own company. When that became a necessity, it sort of scared me. The things I found out about myself when away from everyone and everything in life helped me understand myself on a different level. Being able to be content alone is honestly a skill. 

Realization number two: a small circle is lit.

Realization number three: the “nothing matters” mindset isn’t it! It’s easy to escape the stress of a big exam with the whole we’re floating on a rock in outer space and none of this means anything mindset—trust me, I know. And yet, the unmasking of this mindset was one of my greatest revelations. The truth is, if nothing truly matters, the only things that matter are the things you award meaning. As my close friend Nietzsche once said, “everything matters, nothing’s important”. The things you find value in are the things that you put energy into. All that being said, that one math test actually doesn’t matter at all. 

Realization number four: nobody cares about you (but in a good way)! As worried as you are about yourself, your actions, your appearance… everyone around you is feeling the same exact way, and too concerned about their own life to pay you too much mind. AND, if they do care enough to say something nasty to you, that’s awfully embarrassing for them. 

Realization number five: some teachers are really cool. Having teachers you connect with is sort of a game-changer in high school. And so, to a few of my own. 

Mr. Cummings—I know you’re well aware of what a cool person you are, so I won’t overboost your ego any further. I hope you appreciate the number of em-dashes throughout this column. 

Ms. Rodriguez—You’re incredibly dedicated to be teaching from your living room (dining room? kitchen? we never got a virtual house tour) for the past year, and I hope you know how much we appreciate you. You grew my love for Spanish and culture and learning in general, and I’m so thankful.

Ms. Duffy—I can’t thank you enough for putting up with all my talking, gum chewing, and sporadic opera singing. I wouldn’t love choral music, or singing in general, half as much as I do if it weren’t for you. I can’t wait to tear up when singing A Parting Blessing with you for the last time. 

Like I said, some teachers are cool. 

As for the future, I’ll be attending UW-Madison next year, planning on double majoring in English and Spanish. I can only hope that sticking with my two favorite subjects leads me down the path of knowing what I want to do with my life because we’re not there quite yet! Being a part of journalism here has been so much fun, and whether or not it works itself into a career of mine in the future, I’m glad I know how to do it the right way. I suppose that I’ll remember a few important lessons that come along with journalism, too: Ask questions, and question authority—asking questions and digging for answers is important. Be ethical—it can be hard to be respectful about things you really care about, but being respectful gets you respect. Trust yourself, and be confident—this goes for everything, I suppose, but believe in yourself and your abilities.

Thank you Oshkosh North and The North Star, for leaving an impact noticeable enough for my weak remembrance skills.