Dear Freshman me,

After four years of reflection at DHS, here is a letter of things no one mentioned before ninth grade

    By Marissa Rafail

I’ve got some things to say to you, so listen closely. For starters, high school won’t always be the nicest to you; I’ll be honest. 9th grade especially is going to be your least favorite year. The overwhelming dramatic changes will take you by storm. When you walk into the new school, you’re basically walking into a building of confusion. To top it off, there’s going to be boys and books, along with new and old friendships to deal with.

So this one goes out to you, 9th-grade self. Here I am,  a completely different version of the insecure 14 year old sitting in science, wondering why I have to know about the biologic carbon cycle and the ocean conveyor belt. Here I am, on the edge of graduating, and as I look back one last time before walking out of these high school doors, I’ve got some good news for you: You’re going to make it out and everything will be just fine.

Although it may be nice to hear that you’ll make it, unfortunately, I can’t promise it will be an easy journey to graduation. I know that some days your little world seems like it’s falling apart and it feels like you always have that one friend who’s mad at you for something (even though you swear you didn’t do whatever they think you did.) I know you can’t wait to be out of high school and that you just want to be DONE. Trust me. I know how you feel.

Keep in mind when I tell you these things that four years ago, I was where you were. I was dealing with everything you’re going through now, and the good news is that it is all going to work out. You’re probably going to lose some friends along the way, you’re going to hate it, but let me tell you a secret: You’re going to be so happy when it’s all done.

You’ll swear you’ll be friends with some people forever. Unfortunately, one day turns into another and you’ll           find yourself avoiding eye contact in the halls. You’ll probably fail a few tests too, but once again, it’s going to be okay. Lost friends and a failed test won’t mean your future is over and you won’t go anywhere. It just means you’re human.

I mean, come on. You aren’t the only 14 year old girl who has lost friendships or failed a math test (even though you stayed up until 1 a.m studying.)  All the little things going on in your life now, they seem so tragic and huge.

As I look back at who I was when I was you, versus the person I am now, I laugh at the things that I thought were the biggest, most dramatic situations that I would never forget. What was that girl’s names who kicked you out of your friend group last year? The biggest drama at the time is now something I don’t even remember. If I could remember her name, I’d probably thank her. Just remember it won’t matter in a few years.

Looking forward through the next few years of your life, everything is going to start changing. You’ll wake up one morning and realize the world you knew is being turned upside down and staying up late to watch your favorite Netflix series will seem like a distant memory. You’ll wake up and the world you have lived in will be replaced by new responsibilities, hours of homework, two jobs, and not getting enough sleep to function no matter how hard you try; but try to enjoy it now. I know that sounds weird, but trust me.

Throughout high school, everything changes, which can be a good or a bad thing. Make sure you hang out with your grandma more often, she’s not going to be around forever and you’re going to regret not spending more time with her when the time comes. Also make sure you hang out with your friends, your family, and smile at old friends in the hallways. One day will turn into another and you’ll be here: Ready to graduate.

Don’t hate yourself because you make mistakes, embarrass yourself, or even when you can’t stand to be around yourself; there’s honestly absolutely nothing worth hating yourself over. You’re going to have to live your high school life and fully experience every little thing that happens in your life. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Don’t forget to thank the people who stuck around through it all and thank your favorite teachers along the way who make you question how you lived without their kind words, support, and help. Most of all, just don’t give up. I promise giving up would not be worth it considering where you.. me.. WE are now.

Life’s hard sometimes, and high school can suck, but you really do just have to keep your head up and push through. There is so much more in store for you other than the things you are going through at 14. You’re going to find people who truly care about you, you’re going to graduate, and have a chance at being a part of this crazy world. I can see it now, four years later, laughing at the silly mistakes I made along the way: You’re going to make it.

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