Sleepless in NorthHollywood

by Erin Moy

It’s the old story. Girl meets school. Girl and school hit it off and (cue video montage) they have a happy few years together. Then (cue soundtrack) things hit a rough patch and sleepless nights, crying and sweatpants ensue. Girl and school eventually make up through a series of emotional events and, on a beautiful June morning filled with friends and family, the camera fades out and the credits start.

The title would be “Sleepless in North Hollywood,” a romantic comedy filled with highs and lows, laughter and tears. It would be an instant Hollywood classic.

For the past six years, Harvard-Westlake has taken a leading role in my life. From the moment I got my confetti-filled acceptance letter, I knew that Harvard-Westlake was “the one.” The anticipation that led up to the first day was memorable. The anxiety attached to the perfect outfit and acceptable conversation topics to bring up at a table of new acquaintances all melted away as I gradually learned that Harvard-Westlake accepted me for who I was. The middle school campus was beautiful and welcoming, and it seemed as though the idyllic, sun-soaked periods on the Fire Road would never end. It was early days yet.

Inevitably, Harvard-Westlake and I became more serious. Time had taken its toll on both of us and, as a result, we both expected more from each other. Things were rocky as we moved to the upper school campus and multiple distractions came in the form of sports, extra-curricular activities and the College Board. Darkness began to loom over my happy relationship with Harvard-Westlake. Ben and Jerry’s provided a shoulder to lean on when Harvard-Westlake brought me down, helping me through the aforementioned sleepless nights, crying and sweatpants in ways that Harvard-Westlake never could. It was in the beginning of senior year when I thought I would be more than happy to sever all ties and move on that something changed.

There are always those moments in romantic comedies when the main character makes a pivotal decision, when they break out into a jog and then into a sprint as they dodge cars on a crowded city street, intent to reach whatever goal they have set. The soundtrack is blaring in the background, faces blur in the crowd, but all the audience can feel is panic. They are fearful that the hero or heroine is not going to make it, that they are going to miss their moment and the past hour of film they have just sat through was for nothing. The tension mounts as they all anxiously await the outcome.

The past six years have been the build-up to that moment and, to be honest, we were all fearful that we weren’t going to make it to college and would miss our moment on the graduation stage. We can hear the soundtrack getting louder in the background and feel ourselves break into sprints, but mostly we are focused on the panic of facing the unknown of the next four years. Panic because, despite the confidence we made in our choices, we may not be entirely ready to welcome another school into our lives.

This year was the end of a long, drama filled relationship. Harvard-Westlake and I will not share a tearful, emotionally charged renewal of vows on June 11 but will instead say our goodbyes. We have invested a lot in each other-countless hours and numerous days-but in the long run, we both know that we have simply out grown each other.

Just like high school, romantic comedies have a prepared formula with token characters, swanky wardrobes and expected outcomes. No one is ever surprised with the ending; we more or less get what we came in expecting, either a diploma or a couple that lives happily ever after.

When the credits start to roll in a romantic comedy, the audience rarely hesitates to leave their seats. Much like I expect we will be at graduation, few of us will have false starts or delayed exits off the stage.

We know that we are finished. June 11 is the last scene in “Sleepless in North Hollywood” where nothing is left but smiles, soft lighting and a mixture of nostalgia and excitement as an uplifting song with a deeper message plays as the camera pans out on a setting sun.

We are ready to move on and, though we are sad to see it go, we know that we’ll always have North Faring.