For most of my Harvard-Westlake career, my life to a large extent, revolved around school. The sports I played were on Harvard-Westlake teams, my friends were almost strictly from Harvard-Westlake and my main extracurricular was the school newspaper. I considered the community to be a sort of microcosm of the greater world and therefore didn’t see a great need to branch out.
But unlike most graduating seniors, I took a short “break” from Harvard-Westlake. I studied in France for my junior year, and was exposed to kids from all over the world whose schools ranged from small private schools in Alaska to huge public schools in Uruguay. My interactions with these kids made me realized how different and special Harvard-Westlake kids are from most of the world.
We are so privileged; we are surrounded by some of the smartest and most talented. However, this can be a double-edged sword. It’s easy to lose perspective. Harvard-Westlake is not a microcosm. Before studying abroad, I found myself often feeling somewhat invisible. There was always someone smarter, more athletic or just all-around more talented. France fixed my skewed perspective. What’s important to realize is that just being part of the Harvard-Westlake community already means you’re special. You may not be the valedictorian or first chair in symphony, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t brilliant or a sensational violinist in the greater world. You probably are.
You are bound to compare yourself to others, and you won’t always match up. But always remember that you are part of a very special select few.