When nothing actually is something

By Jordan Freisleben

I hate blank pages. In fact, I abhor them. Post-AP life is great, to say the least. I’ve been going out to long lunches with friends and I get to catch up on some much needed sleep. However, the lack of classes allowed me eight straight periods to glare at the blinking cursor on “Document1” and frustrate me to such an extent, I was tempted to throw something (don’t worry, I didn’t).

I really hoped that when the time came to write my column, the insight and the prose would flow naturally and I’d write it smiling, with a hint of nostalgia. Instead, it’s driving me absolutely crazy and I don’t even know why.

Why on earth does my senior column mean so much to me? Well, I’m supposed to write something heartfelt, witty and succinct to completely capture the most defining years of my life. Sounds relatively doable, right?

Easier said than done. Harvard-Westlake turned me into the person I am: the wry-humored, painfully curious, chatty and incredibly driven 18-year-old. Putting it into 500 words – perhaps that’d be enough to cover the life lessons I learned in English Literature this year, if I’m lucky.

Then I thought about it and I realized, it’s the same reason why I couldn’t participate in Ditch Day or neglect my work during second semester senior year like everyone else.

I’ve loved Harvard-Westlake. I’ve loved my teachers, and they’ve been my mentors and my second family – I had to write something that adequately honors them and illustrates everything I’ve gained from them. I want to highlight every funny moment I’ve had with my friends – when we’d talk in funny accents while walking to the cafeteria, when we’d sit in the couched area in the library and talk about which “Sex and the City” characters each of us represented and the countless times we’d burst out laughing sometimes for no reason at all. I’m frustrated with this because there’s no way that I can say all that I want to say and thank everyone who’s made my years so special here.

I can’t choose whether to talk about the hours and hours and hours I spent transcribing interviews in Weiler, looking up AP Style Guide rules and hunching over editing pages. Or I could talk about how the Foreign Language department has adopted me, and that I’ve never felt as at home as I do when I’m walking to Spanish or French on the first floor of Seaver.

Maybe the blank page that initially plagued me was, in fact, symbolic of how Harvard-Westlake turned me into the person I am. All of the analytic scrutiny and striving to be the absolute best version of myself are distinct products of my years here. I pored over this column more than I should have, wracking my brain to figure out which memories would best encompass my experience in the past six years. I look for reason in even the most minute aspects of my life and, beyond that, Harvard-Westlake has helped me learn to pursue my platonic vision of excellence, whether it was on a history test or merely making something out of a blank page.