by Nathan W. ’25
Riding the bus is common for many students at Harvard-Westlake. Whether it’s traveling on the shuttle that links together the Middle and Upper Schools or taking the bus home, every student has encountered the bus at some point. For me, since I take the bus every day, I am extremely familiar with taking a long commute.
Honestly, when I first joined the Harvard-Westlake community in ninth grade, one of my biggest concerns was the long commute on the bus. Having to think about an hour-long commute was daunting when my sending school was only walking distance from my house. But after the first couple of days, I realized that it was actually an extremely comforting way to get to and from school.
On my first day, I remember standing at my bus stop next to a few people who would later become my close friends. When the bus made a screeching stop in front of me, all my fears instantly rushed over me. However, after entering the bus, I was kindly greeted by my bus driver. I put in my earphones, turned on my Spotify playlist, and looked out the window until I arrived at school. I repeated this for the next few days but without even noticing it, I started feeling way more comfortable being on the bus. Not only did I start adjusting to the early wake-up time, but I think my biggest takeaway from those first few days was an indescribable feeling of actually being closer to the community.
Being a new student, it was difficult to find my place at such a large school. However, I think the bus provided a more comfortable environment for me where I could get to know a few people at a time and then slowly build up relationships. Within the first week, I started talking with the people sitting next to me every day about sports, video games, and a mutual desire to go back on summer vacation. My commute only started getting easier from there as I was able to better adjust to my new community, be more productive, or just simply take some downtime.
Now as an upper schooler, my commutes are shorter, but the same experiences from last year’s commute still stand. On most days, if I’m not sleeping, I got a helpful start on my homework. Whether it’s a reading for English, a lab analysis, or math worksheet, doing homework on my commute is a great way to stay productive and make use of the time that would have been spent idling.
After a long day of classes, I also often find that the bus ride home is the perfect time to sit back, zone out and listen to my favorite Spotify playlists. It’s a nice break from a long day of classes. I also like to spend time planning the rest of my week or night.
The bus drivers also provide a welcoming environment when you enter the bus. Similar to my experience on the first day of ninth grade, all bus drivers remember your name and greet you with a fist bump, handshake, or smile. It’s little things like this that really give me a sense of interconnectivity with the community at large.
As I mentioned earlier, there are also multiple shuttles that run between the two campuses. There are buses running at 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm and 5:35 pm from the middle school to the Upper School. Going to the Middle School, there is a 3:20 pm and 5:10 pm. This schedule provides an easy way for me to go back and forth between campuses for after-school activities or just gives me an opportunity to catch up with my ninth-grade teachers!
The Harvard-Westlake bus commute experience is not only a special addition to the community but also a great way to take some downtime after a long day of school!