What should I write my column about?

Sarah Novicoff

I’ve been thinking about my column for weeks, and every time I had yet another panic attack about what to say, I reached out to someone I trust and love to guide me. After compiling their advice, I decided the best senior column would be theirs, a tribute to those who have made me the person I am and who continue to shape me.

My mom, texting me from my future home in Providence, advised I write about “how life is about trying to define yourself, but in high school it’s better to embrace a lot of different things and make your choices later.” So, mom, you’re right, which is what I know you love to hear. High school was amazing, despite the stresses of a rigorous and diverse course load, but the best part was that course load. As the workload survey said, the thing I hated the most was also the best part.

To my dad, who said doing my column this way was a bad idea because “it’s inherently convoluted to ask someone else what you should write about in your column. It’s supposed to be yours.” Dad, you were probably right too because this is not going as well as I hoped. You’re always right, which I suppose is the lesson I have to learn from you and the lesson I wish to impart through you — listen to your parents.

Some people, like my best friend Alisa Tsenter ’14 and my boyfriend Henry Muhlheim ’16 (yes, I’m dating a sophomore, get over it), wanted the column to be about them and spent a whole period arguing over it. So, to Alisa, Henry and all my other friends, thanks for being there for me. Friends are the only thing that has gotten me through the hardships of high school, and ultimately they’re what I will remember most.

To my friends on Chronicle (especially Emily Segal ’14 — there’s the shoutout you wanted), who were too busy writing their own senior columns to help me, I say thank you. I am proud of the 36 gray pages that we craft from ink and pizza grease in the middle of the night. Some of my closest friendships have been forged in those late night sessions and during the midnight breakfasts that follow.

In the end though, I wouldn’t have made it to this point, graduating and writing my senior column, without those people. It’s those people that have made me the person I am — my parents and my peers, as well as my stellar teachers. People are what make Harvard-Westlake the school it is, and if I have any advice of my own in this column, it’s to embrace them (figuratively, if not physically.)

This is a big and confusing place, with more people than you will ever know what to do with. You will never know everyone well, and you will leave without having done everything. I’m resigned to that fact. But be happy that you had the chance to meet the people — your peers and your teachers — that make up the community here. You’ll regret it if you don’t.