Prepared to trek into uncharted territory

 One of the major things we learned sitting next to each other in AP English Language this year wasn’t about the English language or composition.

As we walked away from our last day of discussions, tossing our books into the nearby trashcan in celebration, the thought that stuck out the most was actually pretty irrelevant to novels and essays.

As we discussed “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer, our class constantly ragged on Chris McCandless for his lack of basic preparation and common sense. He walked into the Alaskan wilderness with a bag of rice, a small rifle and a plethora of Russian literature. He was asking for it, our class agreed. It was basically a self-served death sentence.

We don’t plan on traipsing into the Alaskan wilderness anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from his mistakes.

It’s pretty fair to say that the idea of college is scary. There will be new people, unfamiliar places and we have no idea what to expect from these new classes and professors. So unlike McCandless, we should try to prepare ourselves. When we stopped to think of how to go about this, it became clear that we already had.

We have experienced the burning eyes and back aches of being hunched over a computer finishing an English paper until 3 a.m. and we have studied for a single test for far longer than reasonable.

Harvard-Westlake has given us innumerable hurdles to jump and in doing so, has taught us to come prepared.

When we came to Harvard-Westlake in seventh grade, it was scary. We knew no one, we had metal filled mouths and questionable wardrobes. By ninth grade, we were confident; sure that the younger grades couldn’t understand the amount of work we had to do. But when we started 10th grade, we realized how unprepared we were for the amount of work that was going to be thrown at us. Just as we got our feet under us, junior year’s workload pushed us back over. By the end of senior year, we feel confident that we know how to handle what life may throw at us.

Harvard-Westlake’s competitive environment has taught us to expect nothing but the best of ourselves and with this outlook, the Alaskan wilderness that is college isn’t that scary at all.

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