Arash Afshari

A senior talks with a freshmen and shows her the great views of Seminole High School.

Malavika Kannan, Editor-in-Chief

Editor’s Note: This is the latest installment in The Seminole’s annual tradition of obligatorily cheesy senior self-reflection. To read last year’s Dear Freshman Me by Kayla DeLotte, click here.

Dear Freshman Me (and all the other freshmen out there),

Right now, you’re scared. It’s the second month of school, and you still haven’t memorized your locker combination, you don’t know the Jiggolo, and you’ve already missed your bus–twice. (It’s okay. That’s what drivers’ licenses are for!) But beyond all of that, you’re afraid of falling behind, missing out, or not reaching your full potential. You can’t admit it to yourself, but you’re afraid of failing The High School Experience.

I’m here to tell you that you’re going to be okay.

There’s no such thing as an ideal high school experience—and there really shouldn’t be! High school is what you make of it, and if you let yourself enjoy it, it can be an incredible journey. You’re going to learn so much over the next four years: not just about calculus and communism–although there’s going to be a lot of that–but about what it means to be a good friend, compassionate leader, and powerful human. Luckily, over the past four years, I’ve learned four very important lessons.

So take a deep breath. I have some advice for you.

Explore your passions, and don’t hold back! It’s tempting to blend into your surroundings, but it’s important to start stepping out of your comfort zone and setting goals for yourself. That means that you need to try out different clubs, teams, and extracurriculars in order to figure out what you truly care about. (High school is a lot like Costco—it’s important to sample everything before you invest in bulk!) But at the same time, don’t join clubs because of pressure from your friends, or because you think they will stand out on a resume. If you’re passionate about what you do, I promise that the rest will follow.

Your friends will be your lifeline, so reach out and don’t let go. Middle school is over, which means that you have a fresh chance to branch out and find your people—the ones who will be there with you through amazing accomplishments and incredible disappointments and parties and failures and everything in between. The friends you left middle school with might not be the ones you graduate with, but no matter how things end up, your friends will be your support system throughout high school. Look out for your friends, but don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it. To quote High School Musical, we’re all in this together.

Stand up for what you believe in, no matter how scary it feels. Now that you’re almost an adult, it’s time for you to start thinking about who you care about, what you believe in, and what kind of impact you want to leave in your community. You’re going to find yourself in situations where you’re torn between staying silent about something that you know is wrong, and speaking up for issues that you care about. Don’t let your decisions be guided by fear. Stand up for what you know is right, and your peers will respect you for it.

But in the middle of everything, don’t forget to be kind to yourself. There’s no denying it—high school is a never-ending grind. Between homework, extracurriculars, and striving to improve the world, you’re guaranteed to pull a few all-nighters. There’s a chance that you’re going to forget to study for a few quizzes, get into some drama, and wing a presentation (or two). In spite of that, it’s important that you let yourself breathe. Make time for the things that make you happy, whether that’s going for a run, meeting your friends for brunch, or binging Netflix with your family. In the end, those are the memories that you’ll cherish.

So you’re probably still a little scared, but that’s okay! Over time, being myself and finding my passions has gotten so much easier. I’ve found that I enjoy being the type of person who chases after her goals, connects with other people, and is both demanding of and kind to herself. And I’ve discovered that while I’m still scared of failing The High School Experience, there’s only one thing that scares me more than messing up. And that is not trying at all.

You’ve only got four years, so take a deep breath. You’ve got this!


Your Senior Self