I’m moving forward, memories in tow

By Carly Radist

Six years. 72 months. 26,280 days. 630,720 hours. 37,843,200 minutes. 2,270,592,000 seconds. (I thank my TI-84 Plus for those numbers because even after all of these years at Harvard-Westlake, I probably could not do that in my head.) This is how long I’ve been a Harvard-Westlake Wolverine.

Six years of emotion, six years of stress, six years of learning, and six years of memories. As we matriculate, we will encounter more emotion, stress, and learning wherever we go. We will thrive and prosper, furthering our self-discovery. We will even make new memories that in four years we will look back upon and laugh, cry, or just smile about. But, before we embark on our individual journeys and begin creating new memories, its time to reflect on the old ones. The ones we made as seventh graders, ninth graders, or even this most recent senior year. Whether happy, sad, funny, stupid, or insignificant, these memories represent our Harvard-Westlake years.

It’s April 14 (I know, long before this column was due, but I couldn’t help putting pen to paper as I thought about senior year ending) I’m sitting in APES class watching a video on the Owens Valley (sorry Dietrich Schuhl that I didn’t watch much of the video, forgive me?) For some reason, I can’t help but think about my past six years. College decisions are being made (and at this point, have been made) and people are beginning (or continuing) to count down the days to our anticipated graduation.

Back in September I thought I would be excited and anxious to put on my cap and gown and shake President Thomas Hudnut’s hand while receiving that most desired diploma. But, as I sit in class and realize how fast this year has flown by, I begin to fear that sunny day in June when I say goodbye to Harvard-Westlake and my high school youth. I will leave behind those vertical stairs that I climbed each day (the hike from Weiler to third floor Seaver was the absolute worst.) And I will say goodbye to those lovely SQUID days when I “cleaned” the Terrace after school. Saying goodbye is always the hardest part of leaving, but I think I will be okay in knowning that I have a box full of memories to open whenever I’m feeling nostalgic.

I love remembering those moments that I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. I even don’t mind thinking about those times I cried because I thought my life was over when in reality it was only a minor moment of embarrassment. Regardless of how I felt at that second, I can safely say I’m proud of every (well, almost every) memory from these past six years. I’ve been able to take something away from most of my experiences, learning from my mistakes and being proud of my accomplishments. I realize that although I’ve had a far from perfect Harvard-Westlake experience, I do cherish the moments.

I know that I’ve grown and I’ve matured over these past years, but to think that it was six years ago that I was a short 12 year old with braces and a somewhat questionable wardrobe, who was scared out of her mind to come here, makes me see how far I’ve come (both emotionally and fashionably). I no longer walk with my head down nor do I avert eye contact with people I don’t know; but to remember those days in seventh grade when the ninth graders harassed us on the bus, telling us to triple up in those sticky plastic seats (they are meant for two), I can’t help but laugh. This is what I’m talking about. These are the memories that I want to recall. These are the moments to appreciate six years later.

Six years have passed, and I wish I could say I’m satisfied. But, what lies ahead is the unknown and a looming fear. Harvard-Westlake has become my comfort zone and leaving only brings anxiety. However, when I leave, I can take the memories along too; pack them in a bag to take along with me to college to hang in the back of my closet.

That is one thing I can say Harvard-Westlake has given me.