Opening up the Google document, I was presented with a workload survey that would take me a good 20 minutes to fill out. Finally I reached the last section that instructed me to answer three free response questions. It asked what I liked about Harvard-Westlake, what I didn’t and what I would like to change.
As I was shuffling through my brain and jotting down notes in each category that applied, I was really surprised to see what I was coming up with. What seemed to come out of nowhere was a list of negatives that almost doubled the length of my positive list.
I found this perplexing. Obviously there have been moments at my time here when I was a little unhappy, but sitting there staring at my list of complaints, I was almost frightened. The last thing I wanted to do was leave Harvard-Westlake feeling like I wasn’t content with or grateful for my high school experience.
We all know that this isn’t a school for the fainthearted. We are held to a higher standard, and that isn’t a bad thing. Last year I decided to take two AP courses. On the first day of school one of my teachers told our class that, because we had chosen to take a college level course, we would be treated like college students rather than high schoolers.
That was something I wasn’t expecting on any level. A couple of my classmates ended up dropping the course in the first couple of weeks, but I decided to test my luck and continue.
I can confidently say that this was the most rewarding class I had taken so far, but it helped me realize something — I didn’t want to be a college student yet.
For the majority of last year, I felt like my schoolwork had taken over my life. I was jealous of my friends at other schools who had time to see each other over the weekends and had a cliché high school dance in the school gym. Thankfully, this year the administration was able to find a common ground with the students and gave us a small part of our high school experience back.
This year I finally came to terms with something I already knew from my first day of seventh grade. Obviously we all attend a college prep school, but we aren’t really regular high school students.
I’ve had people question my sanity when I tell them I’m in four Honors and AP classes this year, but that is probably around the average for a senior here. For us, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
There is nothing wrong with being unique, especially in an environment that nurtures it. By the virtue of going to this school, we set ourselves apart.
When striving to be unique, however, we shouldn’t strip students of having the expected high school experience. While I have no desire for high school to be the best four years of my life, and the last thing I want to do is “peak” at 18, I do want to leave with fond memories.
Maybe once we all get those elusive college acceptance letters, we can allow ourselves to take a deep breath and remember we’re just seniors who, most likely, want to plan an epic senior prank or stage a ditch day.
We all have seen Disney Channel’s “High School Musical,” even if some boys will never admit to that fact. It’s okay to want to experience a small part of that cliché — it won’t make us any less unique or take away from the prestige of Harvard-Westlake.