It is the classic example of how one’s greatest strength can also represent their Achilles’ heel. The same drive which pushes Mercedez to have all the success she has had in her life will be an asset in her goal of becoming a lawyer. Those who sit down and talk with her leave the conversation with an assuredness that this QHS senior will not only one day be a successful family and divorce attorney, but she will also be a creative problem solver who concerns herself with society’s bigger challenges. The weight of the world on such a petite frame can lead to complications. Along with her studies, Mercedez explains something else she has been working on in high school.
“I am a perfectionist. I always have been. Both my mom and Mrs. Parnell tell me that I need to enjoy my youth, too. I have to remind myself not to stress too much, but I know I need to stay focused. I have
no regrets, but I have developed new ways to approach situations. I am who I am, at least in part, because of the experience I have had here.
I think we are all trying to achieve our goals, and we’re driven to what our passion is. I don’t want anything to hold me back.”
She speaks with a confidence and determination anyone would expect from a Fortune 500 CEO, but there is a tenderness weaved into the conversation as she describes what she wants to do.
“My mom is a nurse, and she is one of the most caring people in the world. She is always trying to help anybody in any way she can. I have the same heart for people as she does, but I won’t go into nursing. I will be helping people who don’t know how to speak up for themselves. Mainly I will be focusing on the youth and the homeless. In order to do that I will be getting my undergraduate degree in social work from either The University of Southern Mississippi or Tougaloo College. Then I plan to go to law school at Mississippi College. Of course, I always have a Plan B. I am a big planner. If I don’t get into law school, I will just get my master’s in social work, obtain my LCSW and develop a practice where I can do counseling. But no matter what I will form a foundation for the homeless.”
“If you aspire for greatness, you need to determine what you want to sacrifice. What’s more important to you? I’m all about my schoolwork. What are you willing to give up?”