A whole lotta love

Sitting on my bed this afternoon was an envelope with the Harvard-Westlake return address label in the upper left corner and my address in the center. The heart dotting the “i” in Annie gave away what lay inside this envelope that I so generously decided to “S.W.A.H” (seal with a heart): it was the letter I wrote to myself in my Choices and Challenges class two and a half years ago.
Terrified that I would burst out into sentimental hysteria as I have felt inclined to do countless times over the past month, I waited over an hour before I found the courage to break that heart, and this is what I read: “Hey Annie! Well right now I am sitting in my fave class ever, Choices and Challenges, and I’m a sophomore at Harvard-Westlake. Well as it always has and always will be, school is awful…”

More so than the embarrassing lingo, mortifying concerns, and insignificant topics I discussed in the note, this first excerpt is what bothered me the most.

Ever since about a month into eighth grade, I resolved that Harvard-Westlake was simply terrible. The pressure! The competition! The snobbery! I complained and lamented for so long  that it became utterly impossible for me to open up my eyes and see that Harvard-Westlake is actually an awfully amazing place—not an awful place at all.

After four years of only allowing myself to hate my school, I resolved this summer that I would at least try to enjoy school senior year. I figured why continue this path of cynicism and end on such a negative note. Despite the more rigorous than ever course load, college rejections, and emotional rollercoaster of leaving my family, friends, home, and any sense of familiarity , I have absolutely loved senior year—because I finally allowed myself to do so.

Now that I’ve opened my eyes I have seen the countless amount of opportunities I have been so fortunate to be exposed to, and I have become one of those cheesy Harvard-Westlake Fanatics on and off of Ted Slavin field that used to perplex me so much. How many other schools’ largest extracurricular activity brings all different kinds of people together to foster friendships and support each other every Monday? And where else are students encouraged to form bonds over three years with their college counselors so they not only know us incredibly well but also serve as an adult ally we can come to (and in my case cry to on a weekly basis)? How many other high school gyms have CIF banners lining the walls like wallpaper? How about the One-Acts festival—where students not only act in shows, but write, direct, and even compose music for them?

I could go on and on, but the moral of my story at Harvard-Westlake is that it offers all of its students a plethora of remarkable prospects that we are all so lucky to have, and I for one am more than grateful.

I certainly have plenty of regrets when looking back on my high school experience, but by far and away my largest regret has to be not allowing myself to love something that is so very lovable sooner.