My phone buzzes, a generic Apple ringtone. I reluctantly turn it off and sit up. I rub my eyes and stretch out, reaching high up into the air. My feet slowly move towards the bathroom, and I turn on the warm water. I look out the window; it’s dark. My body still thinks it’s night, but no, it is 4:50 a.m., and I have volleyball practice in an hour.
Living 26.9 miles from school is a new experience for me. My last school was a two-minute drive, and all of my friends lived within ten minutes of me.
Now at Harvard-Westlake, it takes me upwards of an hour just to get to school or go home, and most of my friends live an hour away.
The distance between my house and school greatly affects my life. On an average day, I wake up at 5:30 a.m. and leave for the bus at 6 a.m. I go through the school day and have practice after school. Most of the time it is from 7-9 p.m.
At the end of the day, my head hits my pillow at around 11 p.m., just six hours before my next day will start. When I wake up, my eyes fight the urge to shut and to take a snooze. By the time the school day finally comes to an end, my brain buzzes, feeling the full effects of sleep deprivation.
Those who live far from school know the struggle of riding on a cramped bus for hours each day. The bus drains an hour and a half of my afternoon, and I get off of it feeling drowsy and sore.
Some people are able to get homework done, but I am left nauseated if I read just one page in a book while riding.
My ability to make plans has drastically changed ever since Harvard-Westlake. With home so far away, I need to make sure plans are concrete and settled, or one of my parents is going to have to drive two hours in Los Angeles traffic to get me. As a result, I end up missing out on social events.
The contrast between elementary school and high school isn’t a change of just academic rigor, but a social challenge. In elementary school, kids usually tend to hang out at school and only sometimes at each other’s houses.
High school ushers in parties and more hanging out with friends in the city. These parties are a major topic in conversation, so missing out on them because distance can directly affect social status.
Having friends all over Los Angeles is also a big advantage. I know I will always have a place to go in a time of trouble both in my hometown and near school. Also, exploring around school helps broaden my view on life.
My hometown is a small city on the beach. If I walk downtown, I can recognize almost a third of the people I see. Everyone knows everyone. Near school it’s like a different state. I barely know anyone and feel like a tourist sometimes.
The point of school is to learn and develop as a person. Not having enough sleep affects this ability to learn and grow and living far away cuts down on the time to sleep.
At the Middle School, they had Rest and Recharge days, which relieved me of all homework and worry of studying. At the Upper School, there exists no such thing.
If I had just one day every few weeks to relax, I think it would immensely lessen the stressful burden known as high school.