Road to realization

Michael Sugerman

Last weekend, I was driving east on Sunset Blvd. in Beverly Hills. As I passed through an intersection, a car driven by an elderly woman accelerated out of a side street. In an attempt to avoid an accident, I looked around, slammed the brakes and swerved out of the way, running over a cone and scratching my car on a nearby pole in the process.

As I got out of my car, the woman — clearly in the wrong — rolled down her window and said with mocking whimsy, “Nothing happened,” before speeding off.

In the aftermath of said accident, I was shaking both out of anxiety and anger. I immediately called my mom, who, upon hearing that I was okay and that my car had sustained only a minimal blemish, told me to be careful, forget about it, and in the context of this time of year especially, think of things that I am grateful for.

For seniors, this “joyous holiday season” is complicated. If we get into our colleges of choice, we rejoice in the things we value. Rejection, however, can act as an acrimonious blindfold, preventing us from appreciating the simple gifts present every day.

Surprisingly, my encounter with the rude, elderly woman and the subsequent conversation with my mother put things in perspective for me. I, along with the members of the Harvard-Westlake community, have so much to be thankful for.

Over my six years here, I’ve made meaningful friendships with students and teachers alike. I’ve participated in extracurricular activities that started as “why nots” and became integral parts of my life. I, to a certain extent, have grown up.

Sappiness aside, we really do have it good. Great teachers, a comprehensive education, a talented and intellectual peer group, cars to drive (with maybe a scratch or two) and healthy lives (ridden every so often with a fatigue-induced cold) … I can’t ask for much more.

As for the college process, our school has more than adequately prepared us over the course of the last few years. In the context of my senior year, this is perhaps the best blessing of all.

Sure, we won’t all get into our first choices. I certainly didn’t. But we can’t let rejection, disappointment and even explosive Facebook drama hinder us from appreciating what we have. We’ll all be sent in the right direction. Each of us can and will find success. Happy holidays.