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The Kidney

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“You’re in for an engrossing lesson today!” says Nida Yildiz in an ominous voice, as we shuffle into our seats. The assistant teacher hesitantly places scalpels into the trays already on our desks. “We’re dissecting something, aren’t we?” my best friend Deniz says, her face already turning multiple shades of green. Mrs. Yildiz, my biology teacher -- mentor and friend -- of three years, walks to the front of the classroom tightly buttoning her white lab coat, as she anticipates an absolute carnage to occur within the next 40 minutes.
“Today, class, I’m going to introduce you to our next topic -- The Kidney.” A subtle ostinato of groans begins, as we get up off our chairs to go fetch our lab coats. Even I, pegged as ‘the curious, awkward and odd kid from the back of the class’, am taken aback. "Who cares about -- The Kidney? Why couldn’t we study something weird and gooey like the intestine? Booooring….” I think to myself. Our school’s jock interrupts my thoughts as he returns to his seat at the back of the classroom. I do the same, perching myself atop my assigned lab table. A second later, the teacher’s assistant places what looks like a giant red bean into my tray. I pick up the kidney, tracing its resilient skin with the dull end of my scalpel. I survey the class room, noticing that students are already going all Hannibal Lector on the poor organs. I decide to start by cutting my way through the ureter in order to slice the kidney in half like an apple. I then get to thinking that the kidney is actually very unique; it’s quite different from our other bodily organs. They say we die pretty quickly when any of our 23 organs is removed. And the kidney is one of them. But how could an organ as little as that humongous red bean in front of me be so vital to our existence?
That gets me to thinking that the human body's not much different than a high school community. If every high school has a student body, then cliques of 14- to 18-year-old teenagers would be considered, according to my theory, the organs. Having racked up 14 years of experience from six schools so far, including two high schools, I should know! These cliques are easy to point out: the jocks, the goths, the stoners, the nerds, the plastics (you know, the cheerleaders), multicultural kids (African Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, etc), and, of course, the outsiders. You learn to hate them or love them, but for the most part each group coexists as a necessary part of a well-oiled machine, just like our body organs. And, let's not forget, the brain and cerebellum, which, for the purposes of this essay, could be the administration and the teaching staff, respectively. To most high schoolers, their life revolves around school, in such a way that the latter becomes as crucial to students' emotional well being as their heart is to their physical existence. For a period of four years, the students contribute in every way to the school, and in a sense, the high school gives back, offering security and stability, just like organs in a body.
This theory even extends to a family unit. In my case, my mom, dad, and brother all play an essential role in my “organ system” theory. They've remained my security blanket in a whirlwind life that so far has been lived on three continents. My "human body" encompasses three countries that are each -- by blood or birth -- intrinsically my own yet different from each other in culture and religion, while my family is where my heart -- sanity and comfort zone -- is. This is why I consider my school and my family the critical organs of my existence -- kinda like the kidney I hold in my hand, very small but at the same time an integral part of my being.





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