I had a vague memory of what I had written – something about being weirded out that future me would know the consequences of all my choices so far. As all my friends slowly got their letters we wrote in 10th grade Choices & Challenges – I checked the mail eagerly awaiting sophomore Noa’s advice.
“Hey Future Noa,
I really don’t know how to write these kinds of things – you know what I mean – I’m not good at this reflective writing stuff. But, I know I love to read this kind of stuff so I’m going to try and do the best I can so that you’re not disappointed in two years from now. In retrospect, it’s not that much time in a lifetime, but in two years so much of my life will have changed, will be changing… I, hopefully, will finally know my path.”
Some things really never do change. For example, reflective writing – I’m still not a fan. As I sit down to write what will be my final words ever printed in the Chronicle, I have so much to say about my Harvard-Westlake experience that I feel like I will never have the adequate words to express my gratitude – and especially in this limited and coveted space. I’ve learned how to strive for my goals and have been pushed to find the determination, perseverance and independence within me.
The really weird part of the letter though – which reflects poor sophomore Noa’s naïveté – is the hope of knowing my path. So many of the questions I had in 2012 have been answered in a pseudo-superficial way. However, what I seemed to have not known is with every decision came even more questions. And it seems like the questions now – with graduation and college in the near future – are even bigger and scarier.
It’s a funny thing – how certain things in your life are so important you at different times and in certain situations. It seems almost obvious, and yet this mere premonition that I had “figured it all out” surprised me.
One of the best choices though that I’ve made during my time at Harvard-Westlake is the very piece of paper you’re holding (or website you’re on) right now: the Chronicle.
That’s another reason why this whole reflective writing thing scares me – there is no way I can sum up my Chronicle experience in a few hundred words. The lessons I’ve learned while on the Chronicle, the situations I’ve been in and the friends I’ve made will last a lifetime. But like I did in my letter to myself, here’s my best shot.
Being a part of the Chronicle, and having the opportunity to lead it this year (or be 2.0, as a certain section likes to call me), has given me a reason to believe in myself and built up the self-confidence I so oft lack. It has done wonder to my writing, editing and design abilities. It has taught me how to ask questions. It’s taught me how to be fearless in taking risks and standing up for myself. It has allowed me a part of my life in which I feel real confidence.
That’s a part of the reason why writing this column has been so difficult for me. It’s because it marks a real shift in my life, as I’m about to leave my (second) home – Weiler Hall – and my chron family.
It’s a reminder that there will be no more hour-long editorial board meetings that go nowhere in terms of actually coming up with an editorial, but turn into a constructive, deep discussion on school life and values.
It’s that there will be no more 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. layouts that are immediately followed by transcribing (where are the sophomores?), column writing and page editing.
It’s that there will be no more incessant debates over AP style, headlines and oxford commas.
It’s that there will be no more pages in registration to fix just as the computers are shutting off (thanks, Opinion).
It’s that there will be no more seemingly endless page meetings. No more consolidation of the leadership in the sports room (it’s the best temperature, I promise!). No more late night Monday night layouts running from room to room while drowning under a stack of pages. No more midnight runs to Twain’s for eggs and underdone hash browns.
And while I have the space, thank you to everyone who has helped me fulfill and enjoy this roller coaster ride that has been high school and my stint as editor-in-chief – allowing me to savor my biggest goal so far. To my teachers – thank you for the sympathy and extensions when the sleep was minimal and the stress was high. To my parents – thank you for being my biggest cheerleaders and finally learning to stop calling at 11 p.m. on Monday night when the computers are about to shut off and we need to package A1.
To adviser Kathy Neumeyer – thank you for always pushing us, inspiring us, questioning us and sharing your experiences with us.
To my staff – thank you for all the hard work, determination and innovation you all brought this year. The Chronicle is a team effort in every sense of the word and this experience would not have come close to being as fulfilling as it was without your interesting and unique personalities. I know I wasn’t always easy to work with at times (and you didn’t have a problem letting me know), but you guys have exceeded every expectation and goal I ever had for this paper.
And a special thank you to the few people who always picked up the phone (even in the early hours of morning) to listen to me babble, organize and figure out what exactly was going on – even if it was obvious from the start. The people who were there with all the way through to Tuesday website uploading parties. The people who never judged me in my worst layout outfit and at my most-stressed out moments and most supported me through memories and laughs.
And while this may be the end of an era for now – and it again seems like the question of the future is daunting and uncertain – family is meant to cherish one another forever and help each other out – which will be true for Volume 23. While I’m ready to turn the page and see what’s next, I’m going to miss the way things were (even the stress). Forever and always, #mlic.