Lessons to learn

By Cody Schott

“It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.”

Who cares about London and Paris? Charles Dickens could have been referring to Harvard-Westlake.

There were relationships to be forged, knowledge to be gained and a welcoming community. There was also stress, pressure and drama. There was success and failure. At points, high school really was the highlight of my life; at other times, I wanted nothing more than for college to begin.

Given the pros and cons, if I could re-do my teenage years, I would still go to Harvard-Westlake.

We as students were taught more than just academics, but intangibles that we couldn’t learn elsewhere. We came in as 7th graders with a tabula rasa; we graduate as adults with character and personality. Throughout the journey, I always felt my confidence growing. There may have been many challenges along the way, but the satisfaction from completing those challenges is unparalleled. No other school can offer that self-satisfaction, that confidence.

The most impressive part of my H-W experience is how I’ve learned from the negative moments. I learned how to cope with stress and pressure, how to accept and improve on failures, and how to survive drama that will most likely persist into college. I may be alone in saying this, but anxiety seems like a thing of the past. I have learned how to stay focused despite stress. I didn’t learn these lessons by choice, but out of necessity. And I am glad I did learn them, because I know coping with stress is a valuable tool for college and graduate studies, as well as professional work. All that was missing from my high school education was learning how to live in extreme cold; that will be the only lesson that I will have to learn at college on my own.

And come June 5 on Ted Slavin Field, I won’t be celebrating the fact that I am leaving the school, but rather everything the school has given me.

For every bad moment, there was an amazing one to make up for it. For every feeling of pain, there was always a friend that could alleviate it.

It truly was the best of times or it was the worst of times, but just knowing that I made it while actually learning something, makes it worth celebrating.

Plus, who knows, there might be better or worse (hopefully not) times in the future.