I Have Three Words For You: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

Under the radar.


Quiet. If senior Christian Rivera had to define how his peers and teachers saw him throughout high school, that’s the word he would use—quiet. For many, high school is not what they once expected it to be, and neither did Rivera.

Rivera expected high school to be something out of the movies or a popular television show, but the reality of high school took him by surprise.

“[High school] definitely wasn’t what I expected, but that’s almost better,” Rivera said. “I like surprises and the surprise of high school just helped me learn more and be more excited to keep going forward.”

When someone thinks of high school, they think of the stereotypes: the jocks, the cheerleaders, Friday night lights and the popular students running the show… but that was not Rivera’s experience at all.

Rivera participated in both marching band and concert band all four years of high school and besides band being his favorite activity, the band room is also his favorite place to spend time.

“I guess I could have done some other out-of-school activities like sports or something,” Rivera said. “But I’m happy with what I have done and how that played out.”

Even though Rivera may define himself as the stereotypical shy kid—the boy who just does his work, minds his own business and is generally nice to everyone—that generalization did not stop him from choosing what college he will go to next year, finding which profession he hopes to pursue as well.

In high school it is understandable that a person would change their mind about what career they would like to take on for most of their adult life, but luckily for Rivera, his mind was made up about two years ago—he would go to college to study law.

“Two summers ago, I was an intern at a law office,” Rivera said. “I got to go to court with a lawyer and read different cases with him; I think that was one of the major reasons that I picked it because I got that experience pretty early on, earlier than most people. Law is really interesting because it can be taken so many ways; lawyers can help so many different people and there’s different specializations of lawyers [which] cover a wide variety of subjects.”

Many go through dozens of college applications and acceptance letters before finally deciding on the place they intend to spend the next four years of their life at; for Rivera, this decision only involved two schools: Carthage College and Marquette University. With the added benefit of already knowing the career path he wanted to go down, the choice was able to be made much more simple.

“Next year I’ll be going to Marquette University and I chose this school because after visiting there it’s awesome and beautiful,” Rivera said. “The law school there is one of the main reasons why I picked it and the location of Marquette being not so far away [from] Antioch that I‘m home sick, but not so close that I’m [at home].”

There are always people in one’s life that push them to chase their dreams as well as supporting them throughout the entirety of their life; oftentimes, these role models are one’s parents and this is no different for Rivera.

“I think that my parents are my biggest role models,” Rivera said. “They pushed me to do everything: to be in AP classes, to do well in school, to apply to college and to figure out who I want to be and what I want to do.”

High school may seem like an intimidating world filled with unknowns, but Rivera never saw it like that. High school for him was a place where he was able to live as a kid before going off on his own into a new world of freedom and independence. Being a teenager in high school allowed him to make friends that will last a lifetime while simultaneously discovering what it means to be himself.

“High school for me was like the one way of doing everything that I love but also hate at the same time,” Rivera said. ”I love learning but hate homework, love to talk to friends and hang out but hate tests. I think [high school] is the perfect mixture of being able to be yourself but also learn how to struggle and grow.”

Quiet. That may be the one word his peers and teachers used to define him in high school. But, as Rivera leaves the walls of Antioch Community High School that welcomed him for four years, he embraces a loud future full of new friends and experiences at Marquette.