View from here

By Lauren Seo

The other night I was up at Alomar, a vista point overlooking Los Angeles. It’s a view we’ve all seen before – the glow on the horizon, the moving headlights of cars, the twinkling lights of buildings as if someone sprinkled the city with glitter. The sight’s always been beautiful, but for some reason that night the view just took my breath away. I don’t know whether it was how much I liked the weather or the exhilaration I felt from climbing up that hill, but I couldn’t help thinking: this is my city. This is my home.

Of course, as it usually goes, with this discovered appreciation came the realization that it wouldn’t be with me for long. In just three months, I’ll open my eyes and be 2,500 miles away in a town that couldn’t be any more different from Los Angeles if it tried. For me, this is scary. The idea that I won’t be able to see my sister in the morning or drive down to Westwood for a boba run or call up my best friend and join in on her family barbeque is like acid dissolving the safety net I’ve never had to question before.

Clearly, change isn’t my thing. At the end of freshman year, I dealt with my fears by going crazy taking mental snapshots of every last moment on the lower campus. Embarrassingly enough, I actually remember thinking ‘that was the last 2:49 p.m. I’ll ever sit in this chair in my life!’ Yes, I was that kid.

Leaving this campus, though, my take on my final moments here is astronomically different. The fears are definitely still there, but instead of wallowing in the second before, I’ve been channeling that energy into living in the moment now. (I know that sounds cheesy, but phrases become trite for a reason.) I don’t know how else to describe the way friends have become warmer, jokes funnier, revisited adventures more thrilling. I see the One Acts plays and am blown away by the talent of my classmates. I record with the Chamber Singers in St. Saviors and feel genuine chills as the echoes of the final chord ring above our heads. It’s like someone cranked up my appreciation dial and I’m just enjoying every instant with whomever I’m with.

To clarify, it’s not that these past few months have been the exception to a lackluster Harvard-Westlake career. When I’m curled up in bed at 3 a.m. having a heart-to-heart with my roommate about the things that made us who we are, I’m going to say that when it comes to my high school experience, I am more than satisfied. I’ve had the petty drama, the intense study lockdowns, the post-all-nighter caffeine jitters, the high school relationship, the thought-provoking conversations, the night to learn from, the group bonding (I love you, Chronicle), the prom date, the college acceptance letter. I’ve done all I can as a high school teenager, and if I had to name any regrets, I would only name the people I wish I’d known better.

Looking at the view in front of me, I can see picturesque New England buildings and maybe a few faces I know now, all veiled in a thick mist of uncertainty. One day I know this mist will lift to reveal the faces of friends I haven’t met yet and the experiences that will make me say “Oh, college” and I won’t help but think: this is my town. This is my home.