As senior year comes to a close, many students enjoying their final weeks together are reflecting upon their time at Harvard-Westlake. It is generally agreed upon that school has been stressful, filled with tests and fierce academic competition. However, most seniors agree that despite the seemingly endless and toilsome journey to get to where we are now, the experience has aptly, and maybe even overly, prepared us for college and even life as young adults.
For me, ninth grade was the first time when I felt crippling stress from academics. I was enrolled in Honors Biology, despite my objection, and failed the first test of the year. After that test, about five students quit, leaving me one of the two girls left in the class. Unlike the other students who went on to join the regular biology class and do really well in it, I was not allowed to switch and had to suffer through a grueling process of receiving unfavorable grades. For the first time, I felt competition amongst my classmates and felt like I may not be as capable as my other classmates.
While it felt like torture, now I realize that this experience prepared me for dealing with failure and learning not to give up. It ended up giving me more confidence in my abilities because I survived a course that I believed I was destined to fail.
Sophomore year for me was the worst year. I became aware of my GPA. This created a greater sense of competition because GPA was now a way to statistically rank everyone in the grade. Academics became even more serious, and I had to narrow down my extracurriculars to study. Although 10th grade is marked by an omnipresent image of a gray cloud in my memory, it also taught me how to multitask and how to study effectively.
Things started to get better junior year. My friends and I became closer, and I spent more time doing the extra-curriculars that I was the most focused on. In addition, the college process began, and there was a general vibe of stress and uncertainty about the future looming over 11th graders. People were meeting with their deans more often, beginning to fill out the Common App, and freaking out over what to write the personal statement about.
Finally, we have reached senior year, and everything is coming to a close. The grade has bonded, and drama has subsided as people begin to be placed into their homes for next year. While it sounds cliché every time, everyone really does end up somewhere where they can succeed. This year, I learned to really appreciate my friends and family because I will not live near or with them forever in the way that I do now, and it is important to enjoy my time with them while I can.
While everyone has had a different experience at Harvard-Westlake, there is no doubt that everyone has learned valuable lessons to carry with them into the future.
I know for a fact, from both family and friends who have graduated from this school, that the relationships and skills that you develop as a member of the Harvard-Westlake community will continue to make you a stronger person for years to come.