One More Chance

By Anna Etra

If you are sitting with someone who may need assistance, put your mask on first, before helping those around you.

Our entire lives have been filled with lessons on teamwork, community, sharing and selflessness. This simple airplane instruction, typically ignored by frequent flyers, conflicts with all of the above.

We are forced to choose between ourselves and others. Selfishness and selflessness. Individual and community.

I am not going to take this opportunity to talk about how Harvard-Westlake has no community, but rather boast the not-so-new options that face us this year.

We can revert to our primordial instincts, every man for himself, dog eat dog lifestyle, or we can choose to trust each other.

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the definition of the word trust is “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”

Obviously there are going to be people who betray our trust, and may not deserve it anymore, but it is up to us to give everyone else the benefit of the doubt.

I have been in a situation where I have put all my trust in a single person and have been completely betrayed and disappointed. Although that caused a temporary lapse in my faith in people and ability to trust, I have moved on.

I may be starting my senior column positivity a little early this year, but I am ready for people to stop lecturing about our lack of community. Every prefect election the candidates talk about ways to rebuild our community. This goal cannot be achieved by dress up days, activity fairs or Jamba Juice in the quad. This requires each student to be willing to trust fellow Harvard-Westlake students.

We always hear examples of random Harvard-Westlake students meeting in the real world and bonding over the fact that they went to the same school. If there is constant bitterness and seclusion within the school while in attendance, a student is not going to feel a connection to the school, and therefore to other students.

Sitting in a meeting last week, our advisor, Kathy Neumeyer asked the Chronicle staff what we want to happen this year. I realized that I want to go to a school where people can depend on each other without fear of ulterior motives. I understand that we each have our individual goals and ambitions, but is not victory sweeter when it can be shared?

Seniors, we have one more year to create a sense of trust that will stick with us for the rest of our lives. Sophomores and juniors, do not let yourselves be in the position of trying to get out the door as fast as possible. I want to graduate knowing that all of the people sitting in black and white next to me have my back.

This year, I ask you to support people just because they go to your school. That is community. This year, when you have to choose, choose community.