The bus ride of a lifetime

Michael Aronson

I was such a naïve kid in seventh grade. I still don’t know what was going through my head when I accidentally hopped on a bus to Hancock Park after school when I was supposed to take the Westside 3 bus home. It was only my second month of school after all, but I still don’t understand how I made such a hilariously ridiculous mistake.

It took me quite a while to look up from my old Voyager flip phone and realize that I was travelling with students whom I hadn’t met through places in Los Angeles that I didn’t even know existed. It was Oct. 22 (I remember because it was the Monday before my Bar Mitzvah), and I remember feeling exceptionally upset, nervous and, for some reason, excited. It dawned on me that I had never felt so independent, and in hindsight it was actually pretty exhilarating to sit in the back of a school bus, journeying through the crowded metropolitan wilderness that is Hancock Park. I scurried to the front of the bus to notify the driver named Mr. Matlock of my predicament, and he began to chuckle when I told him what had happened.

“You’ll look back on this and laugh one day,” he said.

I didn’t really believe him at the time, but I guess he  was right considering it’s the subject of my senior column. Lucky for me, Mr. Matlock’s bus was going to be the shuttle from the Upper School to the Middle School that evening, and I could eventually take my actual bus home, just three hours later than intended. My unintentional bus ride that day through the streets near downtown Los Angeles perfectly encapsulates my experience at Harvard-Westlake. Harvard-Westlake was my bus to Hancock Park as I was able to develop new interests that I would never have the opportunity to pursue had I not attended this school. I developed passions for business and economics, continued my love of golf as a member of the varsity golf team and explored the world of high school sports journalism through my work on Big Red Magazine and the Chronicle sports section.

I now know never to be afraid about getting completely lost in my surroundings and trying new things just for the sake of branching out beyond my comfort zone. Allowing students to travel to new places and try new things is something that makes Harvard-Westlake so incredible. Next time I ride a bus, I’ll make sure not to ask the bus driver where we’re going.