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3 Things I'd Tell My Freshman Self

Written By: 

Ty Wellemeyer

There’s nothing easy about surviving high school. You are constantly changing social groups while trying to find your true identity, trying to balance schoolwork and extracurriculars, and contemplating if your current taste in music is actually cool or not. Furthermore, I’ve had to navigate high school in a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Simply put, high school can be a struggle. There are so many moving parts that it’s so easy to find yourself getting lost in all the chaos. As a senior, I’ve learned how to enjoy the high school experience; however, freshman Ty Wellemeyer did not know how to navigate these issues. As a senior who now has some perspective, here are three things I would tell any student about to enter high school. 

#1: Be True to Yourself

In high school, so many people have different opinions about a wide variety of topics. I’ve been told that I should become a chemist, a biologist, or a mathematician; however, none of those fields of learning bring me joy. I love to write so that I can tell stories. My friends always question my career choice. I get asked, “Why do you write so much? Is there something wrong with you?” I can’t really explain why I love to write. It’s just something that captured my heart in the seventh grade and hasn’t let go since then. It’s easy to sometimes become influenced by the thoughts of others because you may believe that they’re in the right, but they don’t know you as well as you know yourself. Don’t be afraid of forming your own opinions and identity. If you’re able to stay true to yourself throughout high school, you’ll find yourself happier and healthier.

#2: Find a Group of Friends who Support You

If you find a group of friends that support you, your time in high school will be much easier. There will be groups of people that may sound tempting because they may be seen as popular; however, they may not be the best fit for you personally. They could be fake behind your back and not care about you. Sometimes people change in high school as they try to fit the status quo, so your friends may not be the same friends you had in middle school. It won’t be easy, but sometimes it’s for the best if you leave them in order to find a better group. Thankfully, I haven’t had to do that. Instead, my friends and I have become closer over these four years. We’ve supported each other through thick and thin, and I know I can count on my friends for anything. We play tennis on weekends, talk on Discord all the time, and even decided to join the musical together. They’re a great group of friends. Because of them, my high school experience has been great. Hopefully, everyone is able to find friends like them. 

#3: Remember that High School is Short

High school is short. Don’t hold grudges. Don’t worry about drama. Don’t stress over your basketball game. All of those things are so small in the grand scheme of things. Five years from now, no one is going to remember the meaningless drama of high school. No one is going to remember why you wronged them (unless it’s super serious. If that’s the case, what did you do?!). No one is going to remember if you hit a three pointer against Mt. Carmel to make the game 25-19. Simply put, enjoy high school. Enjoy all the twists and turns. It’s meant to help you grow as a person while building close relationships with your peers and teachers. I sometimes have regrets because I’ve gotten sucked into all the chaos. It’s inevitably going to happen to you at some point. Just make sure you don’t find yourself consumed by all the pandemonium that high school brings.

On May 20, I will walk across the stage and officially graduate from high school, closing a chapter of my life. As I reflect on my time in high school, there are some moments I’ve come to regret, but over time I’ve learned that making a few mistakes through high school is ok. I’ve learned that nobody is perfect, and making mistakes is how we grow as people. As long as I know I’ve stayed true to myself, surrounded myself with a supportive group of friends, and avoided being consumed by all the drama, I can say that I had the time of my life when I am handed my diploma.