By Aiko ’23
At the Upper School, I’ve found myself stunned by the talent that surrounds me, from our Monday Coffeehouses to the art gallery in Feldman-Horn. Looking at the paintings, sculptures and video art diaries, I know that masterpieces don’t emerge overnight, they take time and patience above all. At a place as rigorous and demanding as Harvard-Westlake, how do people make time for their art forms and less-structured hobbies?
While I can’t speak for the visual arts as my skills stop with stick figures, an art form I’ve found I’ve been able to explore at Harvard-Westlake is writing. It’s not the most glamorous and colorful, but it’s a skill that has enabled me to not only escape the stresses of high school, but also establish meaningful connections within our community. However, in sophomore year, when planning my schedule for the next two years to come, I realized that I didn’t have space for creative writing as I always thought I would. Realizing that I wouldn’t be able to fit it into my academic schedule, I’ve tried to make time for something I love amidst academic obligations, meetings and rehearsals.
One thing I learned about myself is that I can’t quite bring myself to work without deadlines, so during the COVID shutdown, I randomly reached out to Mr. Gonzalez, a creative writing teacher at the upper school. Despite not having me as a student, he met with me biweekly throughout the year, becoming a mentor and a shining light through quarantine for me. If there’s one thing I can say for sure about Harvard-Westlake, especially at the upper school, is the faculty’s willingness to further explore whatever your interests are, and through doing so, establish meaningful connections with their students.
Another way I’ve stayed plugged into the literary community and my own creative side is through the clubs offered at Harvard-Westlake. Stonecutters (the literary magazine) and Babel (the foreign literary magazine), through workshops and publications, have pushed me to write in all different genres and styles, and even in a different language. Both clubs have also given me a community, a group of people I may not have known otherwise, now bound because of a common interest.
Whatever your passions are, wherever you think you’ll go with them, I promise Harvard-Westlake will give you the support and guidance you deserve to develop as an artist, athlete, or anything else you choose to pursue. I also can guarantee that you will be able to find a community through those passions, giving you a smaller family within the greater HW community.