Despite missteps, leaving in peace

By Shayna Freisleben

It could be said that my high school career has been marred by regret. I mean, that’s one of the fundamental issues at a place like Harvard-Westlake. With so many opportunities abound, it seems like all of the missed ones are that much more prevalent, serving as constant, stinging slaps in the face for the dirty, rotten animal, no-good, screw-ups like me. Woe to us.

Sure, I could spend this column dwelling on the fact that I have mediocre grades, no work ethic whatsoever, and an unhealthy internet/television/general multimedia habit. I could simply say that I leave this school worse off for the wear, having more to prove and less to display as the fruits of my hardly-existent labor. How I had wished that my senior column, the summation of my six years here, would be replete with choice wisdom and insight, truths and musings. But instead, sadly — or maybe even appropriately, it is turning into a joke of sorts. Because frankly, I don’t think many kids are capable of making as much of a buffoonery of Harvard-Westlake as I have. It’s a shame, really. I’m nearly immune to the word “potential,” probably because I have heard it so many times while preceded by “wasted.” I try to avoid certain academic department offices (here’s looking at you, science faculty) altogether, and when I visit any other department fortunate enough to be graced with my presence, it’s usually for motives unrelated to any scholarly pursuit (i.e. my weekly “Real Housewives of New York City” recap with my math teacher).

I am dissatisfied, yes – I don’t want to be eternally known as the kid that “ne’er was” and I do, in fact, want to be proud of my achievements some day. But even with that omnipresent sense of contrition, I’m departing this school happy. I might be confused and misguided — I don’t have the slightest clue as to what I want to study in college, or what I want to be when I grow up — but that’s for later. I can’t frenetically plan for the future, or dwell on the things that may, possibly, perchance soon come. I’ve learned that the hard way, my friends. I have to start living for the moment. I’m content with that.

It might be too late in my time at Harvard-Westlake to change. I think my fate was sealed a while back, and I can’t rewrite those piled-high books of my indiscretion.

But I do know this — it’s never too late to relish in the success of my classmates, or to appreciate the fact that, although it might seem otherwise, compassion and competition are not mutually exclusive.

I’m pushing through to this unknown and daunting horizon, and I can’t let the pleasure of each new experience waft away with the May trade winds. I’ve been able to quell that defeatist mentality, that desire to quit, that fear of rejection which can so easily consume us in our time here. I no longer need to worry that I will rue the day; I know it’s just beginning.