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Seniors of CPS: Natasha A.

What’s your favorite memory from CPS?

“I just remember walking into freshman retreat….I had really wanted to go to CPS, but then the last week of summer I just started regretting all of my choices. I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to high school, but what if everyone hates me and everything sucks and the teachers hate me and I fail and then I have to drop out of high school, like, a week into it?’ You know, as one does. But I got to the orientation and within the first 15 minutes I just remember being like, ‘Oh–oh, wait, ****, this is really cool. Everyone is really cool.’ I remember we all got into an argument about grammar. There were people talking about coming out by the bathrooms and I was like, ‘Why was I stuck in Marin my entire life?’ It was just really cool and I was like, ‘Okay, I made the right choice.’ That’s just a moment I think about sometimes.”

Who’s the most influential person in your life?

“I don’t know. I’m gonna say myself because I… I think… I’ve realized lately that I’m going to college soon and I have to be more of an adult, so I have to make more of my own choices and stop relying on my parents or my friends to show me acceptable goals, or to define what my goals are. I’ve been trying to set more of my agenda for myself.”

Tell me about your pet(s).

“Yeah, I have two cats. Do you want to see them? I’ll go grab them. I have to put away my yarn because they’ll eat it. Their names are Luna and Neville and they’re big and fluffy. They’re five or six, I think, and

 they’re kind of weird cats because they really like people and Luna really likes dogs. Luna, come here! Oh, Neville wants to be fed. He thinks it’s time for dinner, but he always thinks it’s time for dinner. They keep manipulating my mom’s boyfriend into feeding them like three dinners. There was one day that I came home and fed the cats and then my mom came home and fed the cats and then my mom’s boyfriend came home and fed the cats. They were really, really convincing about being like, ‘Wow, I’m so starving, I’ve never had any food in my life.’ They’re, like, so much cat. They’re both huge. I mean, only one of them is fat.”

What are you most proud of?

“I think I feel proud of myself whenever I’m having a good day and I feel happy. I mean, I’m just proud of my ability to be happy sometimes because historically that has not been super easy for me.”

What is something you want to leave behind at CPS?

“If I were gonna change my name when I went to college I would change my middle name, which is Rose. And it’s fine; it’s a great middle name! The problem is, my initials are ‘NRA.’ Yeah, so I sign stuff and they’re like, ‘Initial here,’ and it’s also kind of an issue when I just put ‘NA’ because then they think I just put ‘not applicable.’ And then they’re like, ‘Why didn’t you initial, why is this not applicable to you?’ and I’m like, ‘I did, I promise!’ And sometimes it’ll be forms where they’ll be like ‘Initial if you agree, put ‘NA’ if it’s not applicable to you. I’m like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ So, I feel like if I change my middle name to something less… acronymically challenged, then that would help. But that’s not really high on my list of priorities. 

I think just kind of a similar thing from when I went from middle school to high school. … I think in general with people, every day we are better–or at least less bad. So, I’m definitely a person I like a lot more than what I was when I was a freshman. I just am excited to get to know a group of people, starting off with the version of myself I am now. You should still probably put the thing about my middle name.”

What’s a story you tell that no one believes?

“So, my dad is an intellectual property lawyer and he used to work for Lucasfilm, and so I learned vaguely what intellectual property law was when I was little. I was watching YouTube videos on a Saturday morning when I was eight, I think, and I saw some guy promoting these x-wing toys and playing the Star Wars theme song that didn’t have any copyright licensing things on it. And I was like, ‘Dad, I think this guy is doing some copyright infringement.’ So, I didn’t think anything would happen, but the guy actually got sued, and apparently in the courtroom his wife left him because he went bankrupt. I feel kind of guilty about that. If this guy is out here somewhere, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to break up your marriage! I don’t think he deserved that for just committing copyright infringement. But yeah, I was eight so I didn’t really know that would happen, but now I regret it.”

What’s your favorite place in the world?

“I’ve been to Amsterdam a few times, and that’s probably my favorite city, other than New York. I love New York City but it’s filled with family for me. I think Amsterdam is really cool because it’s all these really old houses and canals and stuff and the houses kind of lean because they’re so old. And you can see priceless art from the 1600s, and the architecture and the art and the history is super present in all that stuff, but in the culture, not so much. They have a really open culture. They’re very accepting of stuff that would be transgressive or even illegal in the US, so it seems like their culture is really modern while having all this cool history.”

What’s your favorite book of all time?

“That’s a hard question. I don’t like that question. I feel like I’m a mom trying to decide between her kids and say which one I like best. Like, maybe I do have a favorite–I’m just not supposed to say it. But, when I was a kid, I did read Harry Potter all the time. Now, I don’t really have a favorite book. If you asked me this question ten years ago I would have definitely said Harry Potter

I read Hyperbole and a Half a bunch. I love that book. I also have this book called The New Way Things Work. Technically, it teaches you how engineering things work–you know, like, how does a car engine work. It also has all these drawings of mammoths, because the guy who wrote it wanted to make it fun for kids, so he drew, like, ‘Oh yes, back in 3000 BC they dried their clothes with mammoth power.’ I swear to god, I will show you–the mammoth drawings are extremely good. It’s a very good book, even though it doesn’t sound like it. And honestly, when I go back I just look at the mammoth comics. I don’t care how a computer works, I wanna see drawings of mammoths!”

If I asked you at age 5 what you wanted to be when you grew up, what would you say?

“Probably an astronaut. And then I was like, ‘No, I definitely want to be a physicist instead.’ Then I realized I don’t actually like math that much.”

What’s something you want to do before you graduate college?

“I want to pay taxes. I just want to know that I know how to do it. I feel like they’re easier than I think, but they really scare me. Just the idea of having to pay taxes scares me, but if I did it once before I’m, like, a real adult who has an actual salary and responsibilities, then I’m gonna be like, ‘Yeah, I can do my taxes’ and stuff. I feel like I’m unduly scared of taxes; like, they’re probably not that scary in real life. It just freaks me out that the government knows exactly how much money you owe but they won’t tell you, you have to figure it out for yourself. It’s like a test. Because, if you don’t pay the right amount they come and find you. But how would they know if they didn’t calculate how much you owed in the first place? Why doesn’t the government just send you a letter and say, ‘You owe this much money, pay us.’ They don’t! You have to figure it out! It’s really rude of them. The IRS would really have no ground to stand on if they didn’t calculate how much taxes you owed.”

What’s your biggest regret from your time at CPS?

“Just that I didn’t spend more time there. It wasn’t really avoidable, but I would have loved to experience more of the typical junior year stuff, sophomore year stuff, and just gotten to do the whole experience. Given the opportunity, I don’t think I would do it a different way, but it would have been cool to take more seminars with teachers I like. Just more time.”

Who’s your favorite musical artist?

“Oh, I don’t know. I’ve been listening to a lot of Fleetwood Mac recently. Stevie Nicks is really cool. That’s it.”

What’s a skill you wish you could have?

“I wish I could focus on things I hate. If I don’t like doing something, then I’m not motivated at all to do it. If I feel like the homework a teacher assigned is dumb then it’s a real struggle to make myself do it. Like, I’ve seen some people do it, be like, “Oh, this assignment is BS, so I’m just going to get it done super fast so I don’t have to deal with it anymore.’ I wish I could do that.”

If there is one thing that you think everyone should know about you, what would it be?

“I’m not really that intimidating up close. I learned recently that some people think I’m intimidating. I was really surprised. I don’t see myself as very intimidating, physically or emotionally, because my arms are like noodles. It’s not like I could physically intimidate pretty much anyone. I don’t know if any of the seniors are actually intimidating by me. But I have heard it from some people that they used to find me intimidating and I’m like, ‘What?’ 

Something I would want everyone to know about me would be: you can ask me whatever questions you want and I’m not going to think that they’re rude. I’ve dealt with a ton of questions and I would greatly prefer that people… I actually like engaging in these discussions with people sometimes… I always know when you have a question on your mind about me and my experience and it’s always preferable to ask me. 

Also fun fact, I have a sister at CPS, no she’s not my half-sister, no she’s not my step-sister, she’s actually my sister, my whole biological sister, yes, I know she doesn’t look like me. Uh huh.”

Natasha Bonus Question #1: What are you drinking?

“Tea! It’s rooibos. They often make rooibos chai, which is a decaf version of chai. This is just normal rooibos.”

Natasha Bonus question #2: Can you talk about your relationship with Marin, and what it’s like spending more time in a place that’s not Marin?

“I love all the nature [in Marin]. I’m usually a city person, but I did grow up here, and I love being able to walk out my door and theoretically… see all the way to the top of Mount Tam, if I just go out my door. It’s really beautiful here. I’ve lived in a few different places in Marin. I used to live right above the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito, and that was breathtaking. I don’t like the people. I really don’t like the people. And Ruby will back this up. I think the attitude in Marin is, like, very, very privileged and elitist with a dose of racism thrown in, and heteronormativity–which is pretty critical to say about my hometown but… like, I’m writing my term paper right now on how BART affected the urban development of the Bay Area, but the impetus for this subject was being on BART all the time and also knowing that Marin has had a few initiatives to bring BART there. The voters always shoot it down because it will ‘Compromise the integrity of our neighborhoods–’aggressive air quotes…It’s a pretty funny way of saying, like, ‘We don’t want brown people here.’ If you could take all the people out of Marin, it would be great. I don’t know, spending way more time in Berkeley and Oakland has been really great because there’s less of a soccer-mom attitude. But it’s really interesting to have gone from school here to school in Oakland. I mean, it shouldn’t be that different, since it’s just going across a bridge, but the weird thing I’ve noticed is that people from Oakland will send their kids to school in Marin, but people in Marin won’t send their kids to school in Oakland. And yeah, it’s weird. I really like being around Berkeley and Oakland. I gotta say, we beat you in natural beauty, but the people and how friendly everyone is and how much people actually practice what they preach in terms of liberalism and environmental advocacy and stuff, is really different.”

Natasha Bonus Question #3: What’s a rule you live by?

“Be honest all the time. Different levels of honesty are appropriate for different situations, but you should never outright lie to someone unless it will put them in danger to not lie.” 


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