Hitting the road: Eva’s 30

Eva Strelitz-Block

I walked into LASA freshman year both anxious and excited to begin an experience that I thought would resemble the high school life portrayed in all of my favorite Netflix shows and YA romance novels. Of course, I was not anticipating singing and dancing on the desks in the classrooms: I knew LASA was not High School Musical. But…well, it turns out I was wrong in more ways than one. No – I didn’t lock eyes with the love of my life on the first day of school in the stairwell or attend weekly beach bonfires or somehow realize a super cool secret life. Yet weirdly enough, by the end of high school I did find myself singing and dancing in front of my classmates in high heels.

That first day of school in English class we were instructed to write a letter to our future senior year selves. I cannot remember a word of what I wrote. But I do remember having to get up in the middle of the exercise to discreetly wipe away tears as the nervous tension leaked from my eyes. High school suddenly felt so unknowable, overwhelming – not musical-y at all.

Throughout the years I have occasionally found myself wondering about the contents of that note. Now a senior, I am excited to read it. but also a little bit wary: am I ready to compare the me now with the bright and shiny me from freshman year?  Have I achieved her (my?) hopes and dreams for high school? Turns out, a lot of my high school career has felt like a a slog, something to get through and survive: hours of rowing practice, hours of writing, hours and hours of homework…I sometimes wonder if I have disappointed her.

As I reflect on the blur of my LASA years, I wish I hadn’t so frequently approached high school as something to endure. I can see that I often engaged high school as a whole the same way I attack my homework and other obligations: deploying a laser-focus on getting everything done as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is not necessarily the best recipe for staying “present in the moment” or “nourishing well being.” It is a great prescription for a high daily dose of stress.   

So, I’m not going to lie, LASA has not always been my favorite place. I have sometimes dreaded walking into the windowless classrooms and hallways with their ever-present smell of onions (What IS that?). But now, strangely, I find myself feeling much more anticipatory nostalgia than I ever would have imagined. I thought I would be so ready to leave, but I am realizing that LASA’s weird uterus-shaped hallways and the people inside them hold a comforting sense of safety and familiarity for which I feel a deep affection.

This year contains some of my most precious memories of my time at LASA. Freed from the grind of submitting college applications, my attachment to and fondness for the individual friends, teachers, and counselors who have made LASA not just tolerable – but memorable – has come into view. And I know I will miss my fellow Liberator editors, a funky group of smart and interesting students. We come from all different friend groups but get along weirdly well.

And, while I complained bitterly almost every day about having to lip sync and dance in front of an audience for a grade in Spanish 6, turns out that Noche de las Estrellas was a peak high school moment for me. I guess my LASA experience has been a little bit High School Musical-ish afterall.