Seasoned Seniors


Matthew Yam

First of all, I’d like to thank the opinion editor for offering me this spot in our wonderful publication.

This is my first column as a second semester senior, so it is, in essence, recreational writing. It’s fitting then, that I got the deadline extended to “by Friday night” and the top right corner of my computer reads “Friday 11:38 p.m.”

This situation is quintessential me. The deadline maniac is who I’ve become. I’ve never not written at least three-fourths of an essay the night before it was due. I’ve written an embarrassing number of essays the day they were due. I put all of my college essays off to the last minute and then blasted through them in explosions of passion and sensitivity.

My friends know. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to keep track of the number of times that they’ve chastised me for putting things off until the last minute:

“You’re so dumb, Matt”.

Ah, a classic line. Love you guys.



It’s so weird to think that we’ve completed the brunt of our journey that’s been Harvard-Westlake. It seems like just yesterday we showed up at the Upper School and were immediately hit with the figurative mountain of work or had our backpacks thrown into that poorly planned “backpack mountain” senior prank. It seems like just yesterday I wrote a column lamenting how I felt so average here at Harvard-Westlake as a retired elementary school superstar. It seemed like just yesterday I wrote a column sharing when I first learned how to empathize with others, when I learned that anxiety and depression are real and prevalent, when I learned the pain of wanting to do nothing more than to help out a friend in need, and being utterly powerless to do so.As I start to enjoy my time as a second-semester senior, I’ve been able to reflect on and appreciate what Harvard-Westlake has been to me. I struggled through every moment of it, but through it all, I learned.

No, I don’t remember what DNA polymerase does, nor can I rattle off the “what where, when, and significance” of an event for an ID on a history test, nor am I able to look at an equation and instantly know how to take the integral of it, but I learned what it means to work.
I remember what it feels like to want to do well on something so badly that I stay up all night studying to get the result I want. I know what it’s like to work as hard as I possibly can and still fail. I learned how to accept results, persevere, and bounce back.

I  know all of you, my dear friends, have gone through similar experiences of growth, and have become infinitely stronger people because of it. I mean, you guys are basically superheroes And now, with really only 3 months left in school, I encourage everyone to cherish these last few months we’ve got together. Try new things, go out on a school night. Keep up with your school work but don’t over-stress about it. Share your wisdom with sophomores and juniors as they navigate the trials of Harvard-Westlake. Help to make this campus a better place, and find your own joyful pursuit.