Dear Incoming Freshman 3.0/ Dear Incoming Senior

Dear Incoming Freshman,

 

Apologies

It’s high school. Others will hurt you, you will hurt others. Most apologies you get will be long overdue. That’s okay, accept them anyway. Most apologies you think about giving will be long overdue. That’s okay, still give them anyway. Even if you think it’s too late, especially if you think it’s too late, you should apologize. You have no idea how relieved you can feel after accepting or giving an apology.

 

Teenage skin

Unless you won the genetic lotto and your skin is effortlessly clear, chances are your skin is going to suck at some point in high school. The great news is that no one cares about your skin as much as you suspect they do, because they are just as paranoid about their own skin-related insecurities. One piece of advice, though: It really does help if you stop touching and picking at your face. While I am on beauty related advice,

 

You don’t have to straighten your hair every day

You simply don’t. There is no reason to sizzle your hair every single day, slowly murdering it until you have no choice but to chop off 4 inches of damage. I straight up abused my hair for the first two years of high school, and I still have no idea why. Be kind to your hair. On the note of abusing delicate hair,

 

You don’t have to wear mascara every day

The biggest trick to having better eyelashes is to stop wearing mascara regularly. If you do wear mascara every day, at least stop wearing 3 coats of mascara and then taking it off with makeup wipes every night. God, I literally shudder thinking about how many eyelashes I crudely ripped out with Neutrogena makeup wipes. When you do wear mascara, you can take it off with coconut oil. And my last corny piece of beauty related advice,

 

You are your most beautiful when you are doing what you love

True beauty is all over the place at Woodland, seen in the following: athletes competing in a meet or game, musicians engrossed in a song, artists focused on their paintings, actors lost in a performance, and any person genuinely laughing. Everyone looks so unbelievably beautiful when they are doing whatever makes them light up. I understand that this piece of advice might make me sound like a mom, and I don’t care. Unfollow the 23 year old Instagram models, and definitely stop comparing yourself to them. You are all beautiful and should not compare yourself to others. If I’m gonna sound like a mom anyway,

 

Please be so careful about what you send and post

Once something is out there, it is out there. People screenshot, people send. It can all happen really quickly. Even if what you posted is on a private account, you can still get in trouble for it. In that same vein, be careful about using a social media account to emotionally vent, and definitely avoid using names in anything you post.

Own everything you say

By senior year, I have made peace with the fact that anything I say to anyone can and will be held against me. Don’t worry about how someone found out what you said, and don’t deny it. Just own it. And try not to say anything you aren’t ready to own.

 

Comparison

The presence of a trait in someone else is not the absence of that trait in yourself. The success of someone else does not make you a failure. Be supportive of others, and celebrate everyone’s victories as your own. Your moment will come soon enough, I promise.

 

Phases

In high school, everyone is attempting to find their identity. This means that most high school students go through different phases, which makes friendships really interesting. Everyone is in a continuous flux of identity and personality, which means you may be no longer able to connect with someone you were once able to connect with. Furthermore, you may be able to connect with someone you once felt like you had nothing in common with. I think the key is just respecting everyone’s right to find themselves and explore their identity. True friends can ride through any phase.

 

Please get some sleep

I honestly didn’t sleep when I was a freshman and it was a terrible idea. Even if you feel energetic without sleep and think you’re fine, you have no idea the impact a healthy sleeping schedule can have on your outlook on life. Sleep deprivation is a key ingredient for any major breakdown. My biggest piece of advice concerning sleep is to never take your homework or studying into your bedroom. Do all of it in a different room, and when it’s time to go to bed, put everything in your backpack and go to bed.

 

Please get some sleep (part 2)

If you’re upset about something, go to sleep instead of staying up. Everything usually looks better in the morning.

 

Do things because you want to do them

More than ever, it seems that students are doing something or joining something in hopes to appealing to colleges. Call me old-fashioned, but I think you should do things because you legitimately enjoy them. Don’t worry about fitting a mold for a college, just do what truly brings you joy, and that will appeal to the right place.

 

Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to your best friend

Please don’t be mean to yourself. Be as kind to yourself concerning your mistakes as you would be to your best friend.

 

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you

Sometimes the best way to learn to swim is to get pushed in the water. Okay, maybe that’s not the best metaphor to use–pool safety is no joke. But do you see what I mean, in a metaphorical sense? You have no idea what you are capable of until you actually try it. Trust yourself, trust that you will rise to the occasion. Ignore the nagging voice that gives you excuses, and instead listen to the little voice that says “but what if I actually can”? That is the voice you should be listening to.

 

You’re going to have to fight not to become cynical

There are going to be a few tough instances in high school. In these instances, you may be tempted to retreat into your shell, develop a bitter disposition, and stop trusting people. Resist this urge. Continue to be kind, continue to assume the best in people. There is nothing cool about being a cynic. There is nothing rewarding about being a cynic. Being positive does come with its own risks, but in the long run, it’s completely worth it.

 

Dear Incoming Senior,

 

Have some compassion for underclassmen

They are so much younger. As a senior, you probably feel pretty sure of yourself. But try to remember your freshman year self. You were probably pretty unsure of yourself and worried about looking stupid in front of seniors. Try to remember how much it meant to you when seniors or upperclassmen were welcoming to you, and be that person for any underclassman you come across. Taking underclassmen under your wing is as beneficial to you as it is to them; you will find yourself being a better person and role model because you have people counting on you.

 

Last block study

I have very complicated feelings about last block study. On one hand, nothing is more satisfying than the feeling of triumphantly marching out of school a full 70 minutes before everyone else. On the other hand, if you are involved in afterschool activities, last block study just means you have 70 minutes to kill. This could result in you spending an atrocious amount of money in Seymour, namely at McDonald’s and Starbucks. I think having a first block study is absolutely the better deal, if you can swing it. If you can’t swing it (which, unfortunately, I could not) I would recommend asking for Starbucks and McDonald’s gift cards on any upcoming birthdays.

 

Senior projects

We all have those things we desperately want to do, but always end up putting on the bottom of our priority list. Whatever that “thing” is for you: make it your senior project. This forces you to be accountable and finally do this project you have always wanted to accomplish. It makes the process a little more stressful, but also significantly more rewarding.

 

Get clingy

Okay, maybe “clingy” isn’t the world I’m looking for, but savor your time with whoever it is you will miss. Carve out random slices of time to spend with your best friend: dinner on weeknights, random carpooling, and even finding them during the school day to talk. While you are heading toward an exciting era of your life, you are also currently living in a pretty sweet one.

 

Pay attention to yourself

This is the best time to be self-centered. You can (and should) get obsessed with evaluating yourself; analyze what makes you happy and what does not make you happy. Think about which assignments you put extra effort into, and which assignments make you feel like you want to rip your eyebrows out. And put this all into consideration when contemplating a future career. This may be the first time you are in charge of making a major life decision, feel free to take it seriously. Senior year is a wonderful time in which you can start figuring out who you want to be, while still having the safety net of being home. Make the most of it.

 

It really will work out

I know everyone has told you this already, but here it is one more time: It really will work out. I wanted to punch everyone who gave me this tidbit of advice while I was going through the college decision process. I realize that, when you are in the thick of it, it seems like the worst, most stressful burden ever (at least for me it did). But once you make it out alive, you will realize that where you are going and what you are doing is the best fit for you. What is meant for you will not pass.

 

Enjoy

There is a lot of stress at the beginning of this year, but it is followed by so many consecutive fun events. You are so comfortable right now. You know your routine, you know the best ice cream place, you know when Retail 101 is open, you know who you love to be around, and you can do the drive to Woodland with your eyes closed (not that you should). Enjoy this time of comfort and familiarity.

 

Senioritis

Oh, senioritis.The affliction I have been plagued with since my junior year. Or at least, I thought so. Turns out actual senioritis isn’t the lazy “I don’t care about anything” attitude, it is just the privilege to be choosy about what you do care about. There will be things that fall by the wayside, but there will be other things you put more energy into than ever. I saw so many seniors putting an unparalleled amount of energy into the teams, clubs, and classes they truly felt passionate about. In a way, senioritis gives you a great indication of what you should be pursuing post high school. If you still care about something by June of senior year, it is something you must really love. On that note,

 

Bye

I just said, “If you still care about something by June of senior year, it is something you must really love”. I am writing this article on the eve of my graduation, which might give you an idea of how much I love and care about Hawk Headlines. I have been dreading my inevitable last article for this organization, which has been an integral part of my high school career. My first journalism class was on my very first day of high school, and my last journalism “class” will be on graduation day, when I hand this article in to Mr. Amato, my journalism advisor and full-time life coach. It is not lost on me that, even though I am giving “freshman” and “senior” advice, I am about to once again be a freshman, unsure of myself and what my new routine will be. A part of me wishes I could remain here, where I feel so at home. However during my time in journalism, Mr. Amato has taught me that I cannot dwell on the past. Instead, I have to embrace the unknown, immerse myself in the future, and ask myself: What’s next?

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