An open letter to the freshman class

During my high school career, I believe I have gained a considerable amount of knowledge. High school has provided me with a unique set of experiences from which I have derived several life lessons. Now, I am preparing to pass on the torch of wisdom. I know my days at Delphi Community High School are numbered, but I will never forget the core values I have developed within these walls. Freshmen, here is my advice to you:

Make mistakes. Yes, I’m serious. Fail a test, sing a wrong note in choir class (I’m sorry in advance, Mrs. Cotten), and wear your shirt inside out to school. We learn the most when we make mistakes. My sophomore year, I failed my very first test. Instead of getting upset about the inevitable drop in my grade, I revisited the questions I’d missed. I learned more that day than I would have ever learned if I had earned an A. I don’t regret failing that test. I developed healthier studying habits, better time management skills, and a more consistent schedule to prevent myself from failing again. 

Know yourself. There is so much strength that comes from being self aware. I was a library aide my junior year with the lovely Mrs. Tonsoni. At the beginning of the second semester, she asked me to self-reflect in order to brainstorm some improvements that could be made in the library. Right away, I was able to identify a few faults within myself that might have had a negative impact on the LMC’s overall atmosphere. Mrs. Tonsoni complimented my ability to immediately recognize my own strengths and weaknesses and told me that self awareness is a very important skill to have. She was right. There is no problem that cannot be solved by having self awareness. If you notice yourself struggling to meet deadlines, set goals for yourself along with a way to ensure that your work is completed in a timely manner. If you realize you have a difficulty with geometry, be proactive and ask questions during class instead of waiting the night before a test to study and cram equations. Being knowledgeable about your own strengths and weaknesses can and will benefit you in every setting. 

Finally, you should never apologize for these three things: your identity, your values, or your process. Your identity and your values are pretty self-explanatory. They refer to the characteristics or concepts you hold most true to yourself. But what about your process? Your process is how you perceive information and construct it in a way that is beneficial to you. We all have different processes. One process is not more valid than another and each process is unique to each person. In life, there are times when your identity, values, and process are going to be challenged or questioned. Remember that you do not owe anyone an apology for the things that make you who you are. 

High school is filled with many opportunities for growth. Each graduate comes out of high school with different stories to tell and experiences to share. While I believe the knowledge I have gained can help you throughout your high school career, everyone is different. You have the freedom to draw your own conclusions from the lessons you learn—that’s the beauty of high school and the beauty of life.