A letter to the freshman class


By Jessica Molander, Round Table Reporter

You will change. My god, you will change. In four short years of friendship, drama, relationships, and due dates, you wouldn’t believe how much you will change. Don’t fight it; that’s called growing up. Don’t push it either; that’s called growing up too fast. You grow from a small, shy freshman who cowers in the face of the varsity football boys and stands patiently waiting for the couple making out in front of your locker because you are too afraid to ask them to move their fumbling, gross selves elsewhere. My advice is to not worry about these things. You will earn a voice and you will find your way. They will come as naturally as the tide changes with the moon. Don’t worry about the B- you got on your first project or the fear that no one will ever notice you. They will. Do what you want to do, take the classes you want to take. Make as many memories as you possibly can. The names may fade, the faces may also. But the warmth that spreads from your chest to your fingers at the thought of all those precious days and nights with all those spectacular people will never diminish.

I can practically hear each and every one of you roll your eyes and sigh. You have all been told to slow down and stop worrying. That doesn’t mean you can or, frankly, that you want to. You can think of me as just another figure spewing cliché ideals about life. You have the choice to roll your eyes at my wisdom. You have the ability to ignore everything I am about to say. You can blow it off or wonder, frustratingly, why you, poor you, have to sit through yet another person telling you what to do or how to live your life. If you choose to do that, then this letter isn’t for you. Or you can listen and listen good. Go into your high school years thinking “this will be totally awesome” and it will be.

Leaving the warm, safe, incredibly sheltered life of middle school for the frightening unknowns of high school is enough to make anyone cringe. You hold on to the familiar. You sit at lunch with your friends. Walk in the halls with your friends. Only speak to your friends. Break out of this mundane safety zone. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but if you are surrounded by people just as paralyzed by the thought of trying to make new friends as you are, how is anyone going to get to know anyone? Start a conversation about something you are passionate about. People are drawn to passion. They will see your eyes light up and your smile grow wider and they will want to get to know you. And if they don’t, then forget them because you don’t need them.

As someone who took journalism for three of my four years here, I suggest joining a club, or a sport, or some sort of extracurricular activity. You’ll grow to love everything about the activity and the people who have joined you in the journey. And the people will love you back. They will push you so far out of your comfort zone you will be petrified. This is good, this is natural. Amazingly enough, you will thank them someday. The journalism class is in charge of the morning announcements. I was more than content sitting in the corner with the teleprompter or behind one of the cameras. I liked those jobs –at least I couldn’t mess them up. But those jobs didn’t push me. Until the day when Mr. Kady asked me if I was willing to be talent (that’s the person who speaks into the camera) the next morning. I remember letting out a surprised squeak, and I could feel the blush spreading over my cheeks at the mere thought of speaking in front of the entire school. In the end, I accepted his request. I couldn’t say no to a teacher, after all. That night was horrific. I didn’t have a thing to wear. I was going to mess everything up. Shannon, the Broadcast Editor in Chief, would hate me. I should have said no. First period the next day wasn’t much better. I couldn’t stop shaking, and I didn’t hear a thing the teacher was saying. I got to the broadcast room extra early and sat in panic and dismay. My thoughts crowded and suffocated me. The bell rang and the director began the count down. “And we’re live in 5…4…3…2…1…” cue. I read my lines off of the teleprompter, and to say I was relieved when it was over would be an understatement. But I did it! I couldn’t believe I had actually done it. I spoke in front of the whole school, and I didn’t make a complete fool of myself or, more importantly, my crew. Mr. Berno did his usual sign off, and the room immediately came to life. I was showered with “Good job” and “See, it wasn’t that bad.” I pushed myself out of my shell, and I loved it. I learned to stand in front of the camera instead of behind it, and I loved it. Now, three years later, I leave journalism class as the Broadcast Editor in Chief. It was totally awesome.

I fell in love with a class I never even planned on taking. I took a chance, and after winning four first prizes for my sports pictures, I must say it paid off. I suggest you do the same, take a class you never saw yourself in. Take classes that actually interest you. Trust me, your transcript can stand to have an elective or two. Instead of taking AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Psychology, and AP Language and Composition all in one semester, take an entertaining class. Try taking Philosophy with Mr. Donald or Child Development with Ms. Martin. You could discover things you never thought you would care about or maybe even change your career goal entirely. Take Economics and Geography with Mr. Kirkendall. Learn about the world – your world. You will see people differently; you will see your country and your president differently. Modern World History with Mr. Haardt made me realize I wanted to become a high school history teacher. Granted, that class was not an elective, but you should give those classes a chance as well. Listen to what your teacher has to say, listen to what your peers have to say. Learn to love learning, and it can be totally awesome.

Now for the really cliché part – don’t grow up too fast. Don’t get me wrong; I am ecstatic to graduate and there have been many days when I couldn’t stand the thought of getting up for yet another dreadful Monday morning just to drag myself to school to take two tests and a timed writing. Not every day is going to be laughter and sunshine. But the bad days will teach you just as much as the good days. Thank the miserable days, as much as you thank the joyful ones. You spend 35 hours a week at school. Be a part of it. The only way to lose is to withhold. Go to as many sporting events as you can. Spend your Friday nights at the football games, screaming with the crowd. Go to the café with your best friends just to chat. Go to homecoming and prom and dance your heart out. Make as many memories as you can before life becomes too busy to enjoy much of anything. Live for the hours that disguise themselves as minutes. Promise me that you will not wish away your days waiting for graduation. Enjoy them. Because these marvelous moments are happening with or without your involvement. Make it totally awesome.

It really hits you when you receiver that letter in the mail. Your future depends entirely on that expertly trifolded paper. That is a lot of pressure for a flimsy piece of paper. Of course, it is exciting receiving that letter. But it is also alarming. Not because it tells you your next step in the future, but it means the future is really happening. You have to live on your own. You have to feed yourself. You have to do your own laundry. That’s scary. You’ll miss home more than you can possibly imagine, even those of you who are so sure you are ready to leave. You’ll miss your mother’s home cooked meals. You’ll even miss cramming in a project the day before it is due, though your ability to procrastinate won’t end as you receive your diploma, I’m sure. You’ll miss the friends you aren’t even friends with anymore. And as shocking as it may seem, you will even miss those hideous lockers. You get a strange feeling when you are about to leave a place. As if you will not only miss the people you love, but the person you are at this place and time. As a wise honey-loving bear once said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Go into high school with the knowledge that you will, in fact, make it out alive. Heed the words of an out-going senior. The four years of high school have been… totally awesome.