Dear Future Freshman

All of the last minute wisdom from a graduating senior to a rising freshman


Ellie Kuehn

The Kairos 23 participants and leaders at the Alta Lodge

Dear Future Freshman,

Driving past A Hall, towards the South doors, bearing the infamous blue polo, it is finally time for you to take on your wings. You will hear this time and time again, but I am glad to offer it one more time: These next four years are going to pass by you in the blink of an eye. What you decide to do with that time is completely up to you.

My 2017 Earth Science class freshman year with Mr. Alex. (Gregg Alex)

As I sit here and write this letter, I am just days away from leaving the campus that I have been at since I was just five years old. Something about that perspective has given me the all high and mighty head to give you all some unsolicited advice. But whether or not you take it, I hope that some of it linger in your mind over the next four years at the school. 

    1. Things at the school are always going to be changing. There is not a single year since I have been on this campus that the school has not tried to implement something new. While it could be as large as taking away our phones and our hoodies during my junior year, or as small as changing the schedule for the tenth time, I can assure you that there are better things to worry about. Sure, complain for a couple of days with your teachers and classmates. It will be an easy conversation starter for sure, but seriously, you will all get over it in a week there is no reason to threaten pressing charges or setting up a strike. (and yes, people actually try this every year.)
    2. Get involved. This is the easiest way to get to know people. Personally, it gave me a reason to look forward to each day and it kept me out of that Groundhog day funk where each day felt like the last. That variety in your life is crucial in keeping these next four years fun with the added bonus of getting a group of people who through all those emotions with you. 
    3. You will always have support. As disconnected as you think your class is, there has always been this invisible string linking everyone together. No one really talks about it, but the moment that something happens to you or someone in your class, you will have support. We are all going through it, so when in doubt you at least know you have one hundred people there who will understand. Maybe this is just a Class of 2021 thing, but I have a feeling that it is true for everyone. 
    4. Windows of opportunity open but they shut just as fast. For me, that meant trying to jump on every opportunity possible. If someone you haven’t talked to in two years wants to hang out, but you had plans to stay home and rest, I say go out and have fun. If a teacher wants you to speak to the class about your presentation, might as well do it and get some public speaking practice. Embrace all those rites, retreats, and rituals because you never know how it could make you feel. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. GO. TO. KAIROS. Mostly this bullet point was to emphasize going to the senior Kairos retreat. Although you know nothing about it, the worst that you could get from the retreat is four days away and the best you could get is your life-changing for the better. But of course, that is up to you and your attitude. 
    5. Put in at least enough effort into your schoolwork so that you will be able to get into a school. And I mean any school. The college application season can be an absolute breeze if you at least know that you will get into a school. But if you are at the point where you don’t even know if you are going to be able to get into a school with an 80% acceptance rate, then those couple of months will be a nightmare. Of course, you should shoot for the moon, because maybe you will get that interview to Harvard, but at the very least – the absolute bare minimum – try to get good enough grades to get into a state school. 
    6. Scholarships are harder to get than you think. If scholarships are one of the only ways you will be able to get to college then you have to do well in school. Although there are loads of scholarships out there from scholarships for people with brown hair to hyper-specific scholarships where they are looking for a female Asian who is low income going into nanotechnology, there are going to be hundreds of other people applying for the same scholarships. Keep applying to as many scholarships as you can, but keep in mind that they are difficult to get and if you want them then you need to go above and beyond with your essays. 
    7. If there is one thing that bonds people together, it is complaining. Some of the best friendships that I have made over the past four years have been in those hard classes where you are up into the late hours trying to do assignments that you have no idea how to do. But that is when the beauty of group chats comes in. Something about that shared trauma and stress ties your small group of twenty classmates together in a way that you will hold onto as you walk across the stage at graduation. 
    8. Every single day is a choice. It is up to you to decide if you want to go through the motions of each day, or if you want to embrace what we are given. 
    9. Senioritis is REAL Plan for it by doing well every other year so that when your motivation inevitably slips, you will have a cushion to protect you. 
    10. Don’t worry. You have so much time. But don’t waste it. Senior year is still about nine months of a year, so don’t just try to rush to the end of it. Sophomore and Junior year feel like a faint memory at this point and I wish that it didn’t. And you have time to worry about your future with college and such, it is okay to be a kid still.