By: Gabriela Santana

Perhaps my favorite part of going to school in the United States was riding the yellow bus from West Roxbury to our old campus in Newton. Although I realize this may not have been my peer’s favorite part of the day, and it is now it more comfortable to wake up at 7 am and dash for breakfast, I think riding the bus makes a great point. Seeing the exact same houses, same forest, same signs, people, and buses, except for a slow changing season occasionally, taught me something about perspective. If I decided, I would change my playlist to the most depressing music ever composed or I could find the happiest of the 80’s and 90’s remixes. The decision was always mine and I could choose my mood for that morning and probably for the whole day. What I want to get across is that we always have the choice―or so we hope we keep living in a free society.

I don’t want to give you, the Courier’s faithful audience, a biography of my life here at CATS, but most certainly I will tell you that I never encountered so many challenges in my life before. Yes, we all share the experience of living away from home―missing the burrito nights, pasta, and in my case, the mango season―, we all have had, or not, challenging classes, or relationships with others, and with all these challenges, you will, most certainly encounter failing. And I don’t know about you, but failure is what keeps me awake, despite my desperate experiments with hot chocolate the night before an important exam. Yet, we all ought to think differently about failure.

I am not pampering anybody into believing that failure is good–it is not, nobody wants to fail, but, we must see it through different eyes. When people say that practice makes the master―I know we had heard it too many times―they do mean it, or so we hope. One thing I wish I had learned my sophomore year is that people are not inherently good at everything. My mom used to say that none of us is born walking. Be foolishly perseverant, that’s my advice. So, when you receive that next SAT score, if you want a better grade, look at the details. Ask yourself what you did wrong this time. Be patient with yourself; don’t diminish yourself, for no one learns under pressure. The value of failure is that it makes us understand the privilege of what we have now.

When I first came to CATS, on my first assignment ever, I got a C. Those who remember this incident will most certainly remember that I lost it. I was ready to pack my stuff after two weeks (I am not dramatic, right?). I did go over it and did pass the class, but sometimes the class that you think you are ready to give up in is certainly the one you will enjoy the most. Try everything, really, I never tried fashion, theatre, robotics, being a leader, calculus, economics, biology, or rhetorical analysis before coming to CATS. These amazing teachers, despite their enthusiasm for homework, tests and projects, are some of the most passionate people I have met. Their love for their subject really pours out of their bodies. Learn from them, try it all. And fail, and repeat your mistakes again, and again, until they become your strengths.

As I said, I am not pampering anybody, failure hurts but it is easy to stop and hard to keep moving. I am not an example of a highly successful and perseverant student. I am still living by my sermon, but I hope you take something out of this as I hope I have. I am sure I will get there. I am sure you will get there.

To my teachers, thank you for being there all through my endless rants, for taking time to explain, for believing in me, and trying the wildest of my ideas. To you, my friends, Class of 2017, let’s fail! -Gabriela Santana , Class of 2017