An Open Letter to my Freshman Self
By Marcy Driehaus
Dear Freshman Self,
Breathe. I know things are overwhelming and I know you’re scared but it’s important to remember to take a step back and understand that everything will be okay.
People are telling you these will be the fastest four years of your life. Though it’s difficult for you to believe that now, I’m telling you as a senior that those words are true. You will blink and it’ll all be over.
Cherish your time over these next four years. Embrace every hardship that you will be burdened with. Grow stronger with every curveball that will be hurled in your direction. Don’t look at these things as setbacks, but rather use them as tools to help you learn and grow.
Things won’t always be easy. At times, both in the academic and social realm, you will feel inferior. You will feel insecure. It will get tough. It’s important to surround yourself with people who will build you up. Having a good solid support system is the key to surviving high school. Though it will take some time, you will eventually find this support system and they will end up being the best friends you will ever have.
Your grades are important, but it’s essential to find a healthy balance between work and play. Study hard. If you’re struggling in one of your classes then ask for help. Your teachers want you to succeed. Don’t be scared to approach them and tell them what you’re struggling with. It shows courage and studiousness. They will admire your willingness to learn and boost your grade. Also, though it may seem like everyone else in your class knows the material like the backs of their hands, they don’t. Some of the first and most special friendships you will make in high school are with those who you will first bond with by talking about how ridiculous a certain teacher or assignment is.
The most important lesson that you will learn over these next four years is that as long as you’re doing what you love, nothing else matters. Going with your gut is going to be hard and finding your niche is even harder, but I promise it will all be worth it. Embrace your talents and be comfortable with who you are. Only involve yourself in things that you’re passionate about and things that will help you grow as an individual. The path you choose will end up affecting almost every aspect of your life.
You will be one of the lucky ones. The friends you will make over these next four years are the some of the most amazing and impactful individuals in the whole world. You will laugh with them. You will cry with them. You will sing and dance with them. You will even nap with them. You will grow so close to them that over time, boundaries will become nonexistent and the lines you were once afraid to cross will become faded and dull. There will come a point when you will stop labeling these people as your “friends” because that word feels too shallow and detached. They will be your family. They will be the reason you get up in the morning. More often than not, they will be the ones to blame for the smile on your face and the warmth in your heart. These are the people who will mold you into the strong, confident, and happy person you will become. These are the most special people you will ever meet and you will forever be in their debt for all of the joy and memories they will give you. Love them with your whole heart and never pass up a chance to remind them how beautiful and extraordinary they are. These people will be the most important part of your high school experience, so cherish them while you can. Love them while you can. And thank God for them every day.
Never stray away from your own path. It’s good to go outside of your comfort zone and try new things, but always be mindful of what makes you happy. Sometimes it’s okay to put yourself first and think about the things that you love and are passionate about. You will encounter people (teachers especially) that will dedicate themselves to nourishing your talents and helping you grow. Embrace these people and never miss an opportunity to tell them how grateful you are for the lessons they have taught you and for the belief they have in you.
Over these next four years you will face barriers that now seem unthinkable. Sometimes you will want to give up. Oftentimes, you will take all of your stress and anger out on the people you love the most. Those who have to put up with you when you’re at your worst and still love you in spite of it are the ones you must always remember to hold dear. They will always offer you their shoulder to cry on, comfort you when you’re down, and love you even when you’re hard to love. Their job isn’t easy, so always try to do everything in your power to lighten their load.
Always remind Mom and Dad how much you love them. This is so important. Let Mom know how beautiful she is and how much she means to you. Remind her that she is the one who is to credit for the strong, confident, and independent woman you will become. Remember to tell her that that you’re fully aware that you’re not the easiest person to love and you appreciate her for loving you anyway. Thank Dad profusely for working so tirelessly so that you will have a happy and comfortable life. Without these two, you would be nothing. Make it your top priority to let them know how much you love and respect them.
These will be the fastest four years of your life. Take risks. Love with your whole heart. Never try to be someone you’re not. Be open to new experiences. Study hard. Look at every mistake you make and every challenge you’re faced with as an opportunity to learn and grow. And lastly, enjoy this crazy ride that is high school.
It’s been real, class of 2014. Now let’s go show the world what we’re made of.