February Editor's Note
By Ronni H.
February 26, 2019
“The world is so big, so complicated, so replete with marvels and surprises, that it takes years for most people to begin to notice that it is, also, irretrievably broken. We call this period of research ‘childhood’.”
- Michael Chabon
This is one of my favorite quotes. A quick read may inspire a feeling of sadness, but really there’s so much more to it. It begs the question: What does it mean to be an adult?
Is it having knowledge of the cruel realities of the world? Is it the realization that Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and even the farm that your dog went to are all lies that your parents told you when you were younger? Or is it just an age with no true meaning?
As a recently inaugurated adult, I’ve been thinking about this question a lot. Prior to January 12, 2019 when I turned 18, to me adulthood was always designated by that magical number: 18. I had believed that between the 60 seconds of 11:59 pm on January 11 and 12:00 am on January 12 I would burst from my childhood cocoon and transform into being emotionally, physically, spiritually, and legally prepared for the responsibilities and lifestyle I had imagined all adults live. I would be mature enough to rent my own apartment, acquire the appropriate funds to open a bank account, and gain the knowledge of how to do taxes - all overnight.
But I woke up on my birthday with my hair just as disheveled, my blankets still childishly flailed off the bed, and feeling no wiser than I had the night before. Was I disappointed? Honestly, a little. But the world had been slowly assimilating me to the the reality that there weren’t going to be 18 candles to satisfy any of my birthday wishes, and that I would be the same person I was when I was 17.
This is the truth: 18 is just a number; the arbitrary age someone chose to designate an individual’s preparedness for all these things a person is now able to do does not at all mean that they’re ready. It’s not an immediate experience, age, or moment that tells you you’re equipped for the world. It’s the culmination of everything you’ve experienced, learned, and loved that lets you feel the freedom, rather than pressure, of being an adult.
But I’m becoming an adult in a very interesting time in the world. I’ve grown up in a privileged and protected environment and am also realizing the responsibility that comes with this new role, whether I truly am ready or not. And I don’t just mean paying the bills or applying for insurance - I’m talking about the obligation to improve the world after realizing it is “irretrievably broken.”
In this edition we wanted to highlight the individuals on our campus who are striving to find solutions for these aspects of our world that may seem too hopeless to reconcile. For the eight students that traveled to the Mexican/American border to listen to the stories of migrants seeking asylum and more intimately understand the complicated controversy, this was their moment of hope. For Sophia K., it was negotiating her Jewish heritage and participation at the 2019 Women’s March. For some students of Ms. Liao it has been investigating climate change and its impact on humans and the environment. Whether it is the Black Student Union asking the Westridge community to examine how Black identity and culture is represented on the campus, or students questioning the role of religious discourse at a secular school, Westridge students continue to grow into a deeper understanding of their privileged power and how they can make change.
I guess that’s the main realization I’ve had since turning 18: despite not waking up with infinite wisdom, I feel an even greater responsibility to do what I can to improve the world. To me, Spyglass is that first step. Telling stories, encouraging empathy, and building community. We invite you to do the same with us.
"The hours spent on CAP are not the only parts that negatively affect students. Many of the additional requirements can become challenging to manage. For example, the reflection requirement after CAP is yet another task to be added to students work. 'We have to write like a 10 page essay reflection, which can be hard to manage,' said Olivia N., ’19," without the inclusion of the actual reflection requirement. We have added the following sentence in hopes of clarifying the misleading statement: