Everyone told me that junior year would suck — and I believed it. From having English and history essays due on the same day to simply not having enough time to sleep, I, like many others, focused on the negative aspects of high school.
Every day, I hear about stress, and I completely understand, having the same pressure of college applications, finals, extracurricular activities, sports, etc. But as the year comes to a close, I realize that, despite my memories of hours spent crying because of high school stress, I do feel like I have found my community on campus.
For starters, I miss going to my AP classes. I do love having many frees, but I’ve realized that a lot of my classes brought my friends and me together. I don’t walk to my next class with the same people anymore, and, in retrospect, those seemingly meaningless five minutes of passing period brought me closer to once unfamiliar students.
For me, “community” isn’t necessarily composed of the entire school, but instead is made up of smaller groups of people that have supported me throughout the challenges of junior year at Harvard-Westlake.
A prime example is the community I’ve found at the Chronicle. As I see the seniors on staff get ready to leave for college and my advisers prepare to take the next step in their lives, I am starting to see the meaning of community.
Although I am a little late in realizing that there are many more positives in attending Harvard-Westlake than I’ve acknowledged, it’s never too late to appreciate the little things that make Harvard-Westlake the “diverse and inclusive” community that it really is.
This newfound sense of community isn’t just between students and me. I have failed to recognize that “community” can be defined by little things, like cafeteria cashier Phariot Janthep remembering my name and waving hello as I buy my lunch.
It can also be defined by the way I am able to sit and cry in Dean Chris Jones’ office, even though he’s not my dean, simply because of a week-long college trip that made me comfortable with more faculty members.
I’ve most recently experienced the sense of community as I opened this year’s yearbook and felt butterflies as it finally hit me that the year is ending, and I remembered all the really good moments I’ve had with my friends scattered throughout a yearbook of friendly, familiar faces.
Our school community isn’t necessarily defined by the success of Civitalks or 1st and 3rd Wednesday assemblies, nor is it defined by how many people we know around campus.
Yes, our school is composed of competitive students and emphasizes the college application process, which may at times cause me to want to break down in tears. But our school can be made to mean so much more than just a place for college-obsessed maniacs.
Hopefully, students will be able to see that Harvard-Westlake can be the supportive community it claims to be when we don’t cloud our experiences with just memories of stress and anxiety.