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Things to Expect when Coming into HW at the Middle School

By Natasha ’23

In my experience of switching schools, each one has a distinct culture that takes some getting used to. Harvard-Westlake was no different. The slang, jokes, and subconscious habits of my new classmates fascinated me when I came into 9th grade. It can sometimes be hard to pick up on the nuances of Harvard-Westlake life based on a few campus visits, so I thought I’d detail them here!

  1. Backpacks are everywhere.

The point of most contention for most teachers at Harvard-Westlake is definitely the abundant amount of backpacks everywhere. Although we have lockers, lounges, etc. for students to store their belongings, this rarely ever happens. Instead, backpacks are dropped off in every corner of the school: carefully placed along the hallways, bunched under the “No backpacks in this area” sign outside the cafeteria, lined up along the grass, you name it. A word of advice: if you’re the type to place your backpack in random places, make sure that it’s not a black Jansport bag so that you can actually find it. 

  1. The cafeteria is heaven on Earth. 

If you haven’t toured campus, trust me when I say that the middle school cafeteria is going to be the main selling point. Equipped with a sandwich deli station, smoothie bar, ice cream, hot lunches, cookies, chicken nuggets and more, the cafeteria has pretty much everything you need. If you ever are craving something, I recommend looking in the cafeteria, as they no doubt have it. Or if you’re a little hungry and have some time before your next class, you know where to go!

  1. You’ll bond over the workload.

This is one thing that I didn’t expect. When most people talk about the school, usually the emphasis is on how competitive we are, especially between students. It seemed like this was code for “everyone tries to thwart other’s successes,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how many frantic study sessions I’ve seen in the hallway 4 minutes before class. There is undoubtedly a culture of learning from each other at the school, and we’re unified by the difficult tests, projects, etc. we go through. 

  1. You’ll find your friends

I know, it seems corny to promise that you’ll find people you can relate to. But Harvard-Westlake has over 200 kids per grade, each of whom has a different personality and interests. You’ll find your people, whether it be through the clubs you join, the sports you play, the arts you do, or even just where you spend your time.  Although the size can take some getting used to, the wonderful thing is how many different people you’re able to meet at the school.

Overall, Harvard-Westlake has a pretty distinct culture. Although an academically challenging school, we learn from each other, eat amazing cafeteria food together, and bond with each other. It’s difficult to capture the essence of the school in just one blog, but I hope that you can explore the campus sometime and learn more!

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Tags: , Last modified: November 16, 2020