By Editor-in-Chief Greta Forslund
For the past three years, if you saw senior Mandy Patrick passing by in the halls, you likely saw her head tipped down looking at her phone. In the midst of passing time crowds, many might assume her attention to be lost in a text conversation or social media platform. While this was sometimes the case, most of the time the true object of Patrick’s attention was her art, which she drew using her phone.
For as long as she can remember, Patrick has been enamored with the creative process from drawing to sculpture to writing. “I was that kid who would scribble on the walls in marker,” said Patrick. Now she practices her skills in a more conventional way in AP Studio Art, Sculpture and Pottery and on her digital art projects. One of her most recent projects, a bright orange paper mache starfish, is on display in the library. “We were supposed to be making giant food stuff. But I did that when I was in the regular sculpture class last year,” said Patrick. Instead of food, Patrick tied her sculpture in with her AP Studio Art concentration theme: the ocean. “I really liked sharks. And I was originally going to just do sharks. But that’s, I mean, I could do nothing but sharks, but there’s 12 pieces and I figured that I should probably expand a little bit more.”
On her own time, Patrick draws original characters or “OC’s” that she comes up with herself. One of the OC’s that Patrick is currently working on is the protagonist of the book she and her best friend are writing, called Homebound. The part futuristic, part sci-fi, part fantasy story centers around a scientist who works for a suspicious lab company and tries to reveal its secrets with his daughter. “It feels like your characters kind of just to make themselves a lot of the time, because I didn’t actively like, think I want to make a character that is blah, blah, blah,” said Patrick. “I just kind of like, character exists now, I guess.”
Reflecting on her high school experience, Patrick recognizes differences between the way she imagines her peers see her and the way she really is. “I guess [my high school stereotype] would be like that weird nerdy girl, except that she usually doesn’t have any friends, and I think that I have a lot of friends. I don’t think I fit into one specific category,” said Patrick. While she is comfortable within her social group, Patrick struggles with social anxiety around new people. “I like being around people. And I like talking to people, but also talking to people is really hard to do. I think usually once I get started, I can go just fine,” said Patrick. “I’ll be with a group of friends and I won’t shut up. But then I can’t go up to like a cashier at McDonald’s or something like that without freezing.”
Most of Patrick’s friends come from school, some of whom she has been friends with since she went to Komachin Middle School. Other friends stem from being active in gaming communities like Minecraft. At school, Patrick attends Pizza Klatch meetings held weekly. The group is a support group for members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community. The meetings are something Patrick looks forward to, where she sees friends, eats pizza and engages in conversation about recent events.
Throughout her high school career, grades have been a struggle for Patrick. With the end of the school year nearing, Patrick is working to keep her grades in the passing range so she can graduate. For now, Patrick’s long-term goals are not set in stone, and she feels some apprehension about the future. “It’s still really weird to me. I was just thinking yesterday, I’m gonna be 18 in a month, and I’m not ready for that. And I still feel like I’m 15 sometimes,” said Patrick. After graduation, Patrick plans to find a temporary job, and thinks her interest in the culinary arts may influence her pursuit of work. In the summer after her junior year, Patrick took a New Market course on culinary arts that put her into a functioning kitchen that served customers. “It’s not just like they have a stove and in the sink in the fridge and you make food the same way you do in your in your house,” said Patrick. “It’s like a professional business that they run, but you get to be part of that.”
Though she is not sure of her path post-graduation, Patrick knows that she is proud of her growth made in high school. “I think I’ve changed a lot, but I can’t pinpoint exactly how but I feel like I’m a better person and a lot less stupid than I was back as a freshman,” said Patrick. “I hope that everyone can relate to that. I think that I’ve matured and I’ve learned from mistakes.”