Clark M. Mandichak, however, is not one of those students.
“You know how people get stage fright? I get the opposite of that,” Mandichak said.
The 18-year-old senior at Spanish Springs High School jumps at the chance to be at the front of the class, which is exactly where he would like to end up. Mandichak is just a few months away from crossing the high school graduation stage and stepping onto the University of Nevada, Reno campus in pursuit of becoming a professor.
Mandichak said it was his tenure in a public speaking class through the Boy Scouts when the idea to become a professor surfaced. He said the class made him “fall in love with public speaking” and now he yearns to bring his enthusiasm to college Anthropology classrooms.
“I thought about it for years, trying to figure out ‘what would I not be bored to death teaching’ and anthropology is where I landed,” he said of his future major at UNR. “I love science and history to death. Anthropology itself, science history, the history of things, cultures and studying humanity — that is the field that I love.”
Mandichak admitted that his chance to educate college students is several years away, but it does not bother him. He said he looks forward to spending his 20s roaming multiple college campuses and added that “a Ph D. is worth it.”
“I promised myself a long time ago that I would not get out of school until I had the word ‘doctor’ in front of my name,” he said.
Mandichak said he plans to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology before heading out of state to obtain his Master’s Degree. He hopes to move to colder climates in Washington or to the Rockies in Colorado, citing his love for a mountainous scenery as the culprit.
“I love mountains and I don’t like the sun at all,” he said. “I like the cold, the rain, the gloomy and the mountains and Washington is the epitome of my perfect area. If I can’t stay in Washington, anywhere above the southern border of Oregon all the way across the United States I would be willing to live.”
Mandichak’s time at Spanish Springs High has led him through various clubs and leadership roles, including roles in the Graduation Committee, Freshman Mentoring Program, Study Circles for Racial Equality, We the People competition team and Jazz, Marching and Honor Band.
“A lot of (club membership) was a little bit of an accident,” he said. “I like to try new things, I like to get out and I am one of those very open-minded people. I like to find and learn new things and look at things from other people’s point of view and things like that. A lot of the things I think they will look good on a college application and things like that end up turning out pretty well.”
Mandichak noted his time in the Freshman Mentoring Program as one of the experiences that surprised him. Initially, he joined for the mark it would make on his college applications, but he ended up enjoying his time working with freshmen.
“I like working with the freshman and teaching kids some things they need know,” he said. “It is really nice I think when seniors can help the freshmen see ‘this is what you should be doing.’ You kind find the little tricks and help them out.”
Mandichak said school has thrown him some curveballs along the way, but nothing he couldn’t handle with a little optimism — his key to survival.
“I kind of except it as it goes. I try not to stress out a lot even though everybody stresses out at some point,” he said. “Instead of fixating on a test I didn’t do well on, I think of it as looking for extra credit elsewhere. Staying optimistic is generally the only way you can get through life.”