The life of a young freshman in the iSchool

Catherine in the Student commons at 8:30 am waiting for classes to start with me and other students

Being new to a new place and environment can be very stressful from time to time. Catherine Hernandez Mendez is a freshman in high school and just like other freshmen, she has also been through stress and problems with school work. She’s a Mexican-American born in Colorado and then came to live in New York.


Catherine, Zitlaly, Sophia, and Zakayiah talking outside the Commons during module time.

Catherine is playful and funny all the time. Though when it comes to work and due dates, she does get down to work. Catherine makes us all laugh so much. It’s impossible to see her as quiet or shy because she makes so many friends. Making friends also affected her educational life. She says  “I say making friends in this school affected my education in a way that now it made me more open to the fact that theirs gonna be many people out their.  But definitely started making more less of a shy person to now a open person.”


Catherine in the student commons entrance in front of 503 in the iSchool

This young lady has been through a lot of pressure from school work and her personal life. “Well only math tests sometimes got me like so stressed cause most of it is work on the unit test, but I say beside that the work is okay but just a lot when you let it pile on or when it comes mastery being due in a date you have other work to do also gets somewhat stressful. I would say it will depend if it’s a mastery or assignments or essays being in same due date.”


Catherine running down the hall in front of the US current Events room and Art room.

Catherine is no doubt one of the nicest girls I’ve met in this school. This young lady also loves to have lots of fun with friends. There’s times I find her laughing in friend groups and of course I’m glad that she’s happy. Once we were reading a poem and she began to add on words that weren’t even in the poem and we began to laugh. She always loves seeing smiles whether it’s at school or home or wherever! “What I would do after-school would be to meet up with my friends and skateboard around her neighborhood. Or sometimes I would hang out with my friends from ischool, or sometimes go to theater on thrusdays or see my boyfriend”


Catherine and Zakayiah working outside our classroom during module time

This young Mexican American also has lots of missing work but it never means she will have it like that for long.  She surprised me one day when she said, “I finished my essay!” and I said “oh great, remember the word limit was 2000.” I was shocked when she said “Oh 2000??? Oh I have to cut it then because I did 3000.” 


Catherine waiting to be interviewed by Sophie during module time

Catherine isn’t a big fan of work but she does absolutely love using crop tops and jeans to match with it. She also loves wearing a hat on her head all the time as well as her mask. She enjoys mixing up her style and her hair all the time and of course always comes out looking pretty. Most of the time she has curly hair. 


Catherine in the Student Commons during the first week of school

Apart from being a great friend, she’s also a great therapist somehow. She’s always there for me and her friends and sisters when we feel sad or mad. Something I even learned from her is to not get mad and just talk things out. “Just move away,” she says when she sees your in a toxic situation.


Catherine and AIsha in 8am gym in the weight room

When it comes to stretching, Catherine really does know how to crack a few of her bones. She’s very flexible and goes up stairs much quicker than most of us. Sometimes I treat more like a daughter than a sister telling her to eat more and to drink more liquids.


Catherine at the start of living environment lab on the 4th floor

“The way that the school work interfere my personal life was in a way that now freshman year and it’s just the start to what I’m heading towards, what I want to accomplish towards I guess would be called my “future Job.” Just like many freshmen, Catherine is one of those that is still wondering what she is going to do in the future. One side of her says she wants to be a lawyer while the other a model. 


Catherine working during module time

Being honest, Catherine is also a phone addict. She can’t go 5 minutes without it. If she does then it would just be a miracle but she rarely does. If you see her around in class, you will catch her with one hand on the computer or her paper doing work and the other on her phone.


Catherine running down the hallway in front of art room on the 5th floor

This young little girl is nice but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a limit. For her family and friends, Catherine would defend them no matter what. Even if that means she’s going to get hurt in the process of it. If someone bothers one of her friends and bullies them, Catherine is capable of going and standing up for what she thinks is right. 


Catherine in front of the main staircase

Catherine comes in early in the morning and there’s times I find her alone in the staircase and find her on her phone as usual. Catherine loves to eat snacks during class. Occasionally, she likes to bring a piece of pineapple cake. Although I tell her she shouldn’t because it’s too early to eat that, she says a bit of sugar in the morning wouldn’t hurt. To my surprise it actually does wake her up because she did 50 sit ups before me and our friend in the 8am gym weight room.


Catherine in ilearn with me, I put my BTS hat on her green one that she has on her.

During iLearn, there are times in which she has absolutely no ideas and ends up being on her phone again. Poems aren’t her favorite thing to read but when it comes to reading about Mexico and the Mexican traditions we have, she tends to be much more alert. She’s fascinated by the Mexican folk music dancers and the girl’s long dresses when dancing. She loves anything that has to do with Mexican culture. 


Her giving me a bad look for saying something dumb

If you say “I miss him so much, I want him back”, Catherine will certainly give you a very bored or annoyed look. She says “Whatever hurts you, take it out of your life because you don’t deserve it. Don’t worry, something better will come into your life.” 


Catherine and Me in the weight room for the 8am gym. I was waiting for her to finish responding to her friend over text so we can play soccer.

Being a friend of Catherine has changed my life in some ways. I never thought I would find a friend that would support me and be there for me even if she doesn’t even understand what I’m doing. How did we meet? Well…. On Orientation day for NYC iSchool, a day after my graduation, I was sitting in one of the seats of the gymnatorium that was closer to the stage. I then saw this somewhat tall girl with black hair come and sit next to me. 

Normally I’m good with making friends, but with Catherine, I kind of felt weird on why she sat next to me. Ever since that day, we have been there for each other in everything. Even if so much time passes, I’ll never regret meeting her. Even if we have arguments, disagreements, or whatever the case may be, I’m always going to be thankful for the day she approached me. So….Thanks Catherine. This one’s for you.