I’m making a life I don’t need a vacation from


Dominique Harlan, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Rayfield Harrison – Three-year-old Dominique Harlan sits on her mother’s lap peacefully after giving her a run for her money. In this photo, I was sick and my mom was only able to sit me down (after I stopped running from her) to take my medicine when my grandpa offered to take a photo of me. 

Editor’s Note: Senior Salutes are an outlet for graduating seniors on The Raider Review staff to share their concluding thoughts about anything involving their last four years of high school/their time leading up to this point. Congratulations graduating class of 2019.

*Scratch record.*

*Freeze frame.*

Four-year-old Dominique Harlan sits on the steps of her house taking off her sandals as her mom begs her to keep them on for the picture. (Darchelle Harlan)

Yup, that’s me, your girl Dominique. You’re probably wondering how I got into this situation.

I was born on October 13th, 2000 (Friday the 13th if any of you are superstitious) to two very loving parents: Darryl and Darchelle Harlan.

Together, they efficiently and effectively co-parent to help me become the best version of myself I know I can be with each day that passes — and I truly have learned a lot along the way.

To you reading this, wondering about my high school experience and what I’m going to leave everyone off with, I give you this:

To the person that needs…

  • Affirmation: Trust that it is not what happens, it is how you rise above it.
  • A reminder: Everything you are going through is preparing you for what you have asked for.
  • A pick-me-up: No assignment comes without an enemy; enemies are not walls, they are doors to your next season.
  • Hope: Tomorrow could be the someday you’ve been waiting for.
  • A slap in the face: Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.
  • Religious reminder: God gave you what you can handle.
  • Encouragement: Hurdles in life are meant to be jumped.
  • Motivation: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
  • Advice: “Do not spend money on things, spend money on experience.” — Sra. Despain.
  • Advice: “The only disability is a bad attitude.” — Sra. Galindo.
  • Advice: “Find something, anything to be passionate about…” — Mr. Carabello.

Cherish every single moment of high school, because no one tells you how it feels when you want to leave behind the place but not the experience.

Throughout these four years, I’ve learned to be the person that is nice, respectful, and mindful of other’s situations. The world needs more of that.

Go for what makes you happy in life. For me, it’s the feeling I get when I spend time in California appreciating the palm trees, the food, and the beaches.

Look at the palm trees and how the sun is setting slowly behind them at Santa Monica beach. Okay yeah, maybe the L.A. area is extremely polluted, overpopulated, might fall off of the map soon, and is full of stuck up people……….. your point? (Dominique Harlan)

If you really want to know what this experience has taught me, it’s that this life, your life, does not stop for anyone.

Push aside the fundamentals of high school. High school is a pit-stop. The lessons you learn while you’re fueling up your tank here to keep on driving down this road are what will be the most impactful in the end.

I can guarantee you it’s not the test you shouldn’t be up at 2AM studying for (yeah, you, if you didn’t know it by 10PM you should’ve just went to bed).

I can assure you it’s not who’s all going to the party you can’t go to.

I can promise you that it does not matter if you and Jenny aren’t friends anymore. Jenny sucks.

What is most important that isn’t taught to you while you’re tapping your pencil on the desk of your APUSH class is that what is meant for you will be for you.

With that being said, whatever emotions you feel due to certain situations are valid (do not let anyone tell you different), but remember that you will face trials and tribulations so tough that you wonder how you are still functioning — they will try to convince you of what you can’t handle.

And then, you lay your head down at night, wake to see another morning, breathe in, breathe out, take another step, live another day, and you realize, you can.

When the ground moves, you move with it. Wherever it takes you, you cannot settle, because that destination belongs to no one but you.

So make room for yourself. Let your voice be what people stop and listen to. No one said this was gonna be easy.

To the person still reading this, the one whose journey is different from mine — yes you exist, but do you feel alive?

Thank you Rangeview for allowing me to grow so beautifully within your walls. Follow me on Twitter: @emergani, Instagram: @fuaxe, and add me on Snap: cocoa-diosa. (Gabriel Garyeazon)