The struggle is real but worth it

Kate Schrage

Harvard-Westlake is hard. We all know that. Impressive academics, time consuming extracurriculars and competitive social lives are arguably the selling points of the school but also the reason why many students groan to arrive on campus every morning. And while it’s easy to reflect on these difficulties in vain, Harvard-Westlake has raised me to be exactly the type of person I’ve always wanted to be—someone who finds positivity and knowledge in all of life’s curveballs. And with that identity, I’d like to give my journalistic equivalent of an ode to the struggles that I’ve encountered and why.

First off, it’s tough doing poorly in a class or having a weakness in a subject. So while it’s easy to hate the moments spent in a classroom that seems to bring out the worst out in us, I’m grateful to Harvard-Westlake for preparing me for the reality that success is not imminent. I’m grateful that I won’t be thrown into a shark tank when freshman fall rolls around in a few months, and I’m stuck scratching my head in a required biology course that I can’t seem to crack.

Now, here’s to the teachers who really pushed me. And I mean really, really pushed me. As a mere seventh grader, I’d always thought that relentless solicitation for answers and input from teachers was a way for them to bring me down. But since then, I’ve come to understand that teachers who were hard on me or asked more of me than I expected only saw more potential in me than even I saw in myself. So I am incredibly thankful for all of those teachers who stopped at nothing, even my claims of defeat, to make sure I knew my capabilities, and taught me that tough love is just that—love.

And finally, I’d like to express my gratitude for all the mistakes that have been made by both myself and all of my peers. We all have had our triumphs and victories, but we’ve also all been victims and inflictors of pain. I used to look bitterly upon the bumps in the HW road, but I’m proud to say that, here, I’ve had the opportunity to mature and grow stronger from each mistake. I’ve learned the powerful tool of forgiving myself and others and of finding the balance between looking forward while also understanding how to prevent those mistakes from happening again. Harvard-Westlake has made me—us — stronger.

I never thought I’d say it, but hats off to you, Harvard-Westlake. Here’s to the struggles.