Taking it back with Mrs. Peterson: When I was 17

Anastasia Berdusis, Staff Writer

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Mrs. Peterson is a math teacher here at Sandburg and was in high school not that long ago in 2001! She was and is a very school and work oriented with a need and want for happiness and success. Her teen years were dedicated to success in the future, but not without a few fun twists and turns! These are a few things about her and her life when she was seventeen.

What high school did you go to?

“I was at Lincoln Way East and Lincoln Way Central, and this was before there were three different schools, so the freshmen and sophomores went to to Lincoln Way East and the juniors and seniors went to Lincoln Way Central.”

What was your biggest worry in high school and do you think it was worth worrying about now that you’re an adult?

“I was worried that I wouldn’t get into a career that I loved, or that I wouldn’t make it through college in that career because college was so challenging. I don’t know that it was worth worrying about; as long as you put in the work I feel like you can be successful but I don’t regret following the path I chose. But, I was always afraid of the future because you never know what’s going to happen , because it’s hard to pick a major when you’re only seventeen.”

Who was your idol when you were seventeen and why?

“I actually had several teachers that I admired a lot. They seemed very passionate about their careers, they seemed happy with their families, and just seemed happy in life, and that seemed like a big goal for me. I feel like they had happiness in their lives and not everybody gets that. And then my mom, she was a really great mom.”

Who was your favorite band/artist when you were seventeen?

“I liked Dave Matthews a lot then, and I still love Dave. I also started to get into country [music] in my senior year of high school, and I still love country.”

What did you want to go to college for when you were seventeen?

“I never, never wanted to be a teacher, and it wasn’t until my senior year of high school when I was struggling with a B+, my dad grounded me and he said I had to get straight A’s, so I went for help every single day and I drove my math teacher crazy, and something just clicked when she was helping me and I was wondering how I didn’t make this connection before, and then I decided that I wanted to help students make that connection and help them learn. Before that, I always wanted to be a dolphin trainer, I love dolphins, that would have been my number one and my mom said I would make no money with it, but that was my dream. I also looked into being a dentist, or a pediatrician but with money and schooling, I kinda backed off and went into teaching my senior year when it clicked.”

Do you think that your seventeen year old self would be proud of the you you are now?

“I think so. I worked hard and my family didn’t have a lot growing up and I wanted better than my parents and I think I achieved that especially after all of the hard work. “

Do you have any hobbies that you had then and still have today?

“I always chewed gum, and I’m still chewing gum currently. I always tried to make people laugh, because it made you more accepting then and made things lighter and less awkward, so I guess I still do that.”

Who was your celebrity crush when you were seventeen?

“I think I had a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio, I mean Titanic had been out at the movies but he was probably one of the main ones. And I think like Will Smith, because he was funny. Leo was obviously very good looking and Will Smith was good looking but he was always super funny.”

What was your style when you were seventeen?

“I tried to dress cute, because it was my senior year of high school and I would wear sun dresses and be really preppy.”

What were your hobbies in high school?

“I played soccer and I loved photography. I studied a lot, but that’s kinda lame, and I worked a lot because I was saving up for college. I worked at Action Sports in high school, I was also a shampoo girl and Planet Color in Mokena and I babysat.”

What was your favorite movie/tv show?

“I loved funny movies and I still do, like Tommy Boy, Dumb and Dumber, Billy Madison, and all the good classics. I think A Cinderella Story was out then too, I loved that.”

What was the biggest influence on you when you were seventeen?

“Probably my parents, they didn’t have a lot of money and they didn’t go to college but they worked very very hard and I wanted more than that and they pushed my to have more than that, because they showed me how they struggled and seeing that made me want to work harder and become successful.”

What was something that you did when you were seventeen that you don’t look back on too fondly?

“I used to hang things from my mirror in my car, you know how people hang dice and stupid stuff like that? Like, I had a lei from Hawaii, I had these bead necklaces, I had these different things that people gifted me and these random things hanging, and I mean it was such a distraction, I don’t know why I felt like I needed to decorate my car, but it was so dumb, and now I want the most minimal, like dust free, clean car. I now I look back and I’m thinking how stupid was that – just hanging all these things in your car! “

What was your most memorable moment of the year that you were seventeen?

“Probably graduating high school and then starting college, that’s what I equate to my seventeenth year. I was younger when I started college because of my birthday, so I feel like that’s something to remember.”

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