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Dear me: revisiting my freshman letter

LETTER+FROM+THE+PAST%3A+Each+freshman%2C+in+their+Creek+101+class%2C+is+instructed+to+write+a+letter+to+their+senior+selves.+The+letters+allow+the+seniors+to+rediscover+a+younger+version+of+themselves+and+reflect+on+how+they%E2%80%99ve+changed%2C+or+not.+
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Dear me: revisiting my freshman letter

LETTER FROM THE PAST: Each freshman, in their Creek 101 class, is instructed to write a letter to their senior selves. The letters allow the seniors to rediscover a younger version of themselves and reflect on how they’ve changed, or not.

LETTER FROM THE PAST: Each freshman, in their Creek 101 class, is instructed to write a letter to their senior selves. The letters allow the seniors to rediscover a younger version of themselves and reflect on how they’ve changed, or not.

LETTER FROM THE PAST: Each freshman, in their Creek 101 class, is instructed to write a letter to their senior selves. The letters allow the seniors to rediscover a younger version of themselves and reflect on how they’ve changed, or not.

LETTER FROM THE PAST: Each freshman, in their Creek 101 class, is instructed to write a letter to their senior selves. The letters allow the seniors to rediscover a younger version of themselves and reflect on how they’ve changed, or not.

Harper Hanson, Staff Writer

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I sat on the ski bench outside of the IC Cafeteria holding an envelope with little mandalas drawn in each of its corners. I sat there for what seemed like hours, debating if I should actually open it,  and after a long era of indecisiveness I opened it with shaking hands. Four years later, full of highs and lows, I opened the envelope that my ninth grade self wrote to my senior self. 

What I expected to read was very different from the words I had written, and the last thing I expected to do was cry. What I imagined to be this naive and immature little girl was wise and elegant with the words she chose.  She was brave and poised, something that I have never given myself credit for until now. 

Although I have finished my four years of high school, I will not be graduating. Because I missed so much school for treatment for my OCD and chronic pain syndrome, I do not have the credit I need in order to graduate on time, and instead of taking an extra year to finish high school, I have decided to get my GED and move on with my life.

I went into reading this letter worried that I would leave feeling disappointed in not achieving my dreams of going to college right after high school, but instead I wrote something that I never would have expected. 

I wished for myself to be happy. I wished for my self to take time to myself and enjoy life, even if that meant not going to college. In a way, it made me sad. Sad to think that life had already worn me down so much, that instead of being excited for what I may achieve oneday, I was just hoping I had found some peace. 

I had said, “I hope you go to school or maybe take a year of and enjoy time to yourself,” and I think my younger self would be glad to hear that although I have not found peace in all aspects of my life, I am much happier than I used to be. 

I am also proud. This young version of myself had already endured so much and was not oblivious to the fact that she would endure so much more. I wrote to myself, “I hope there is not too much that has happened you in highschool, but understanding my life, something will,” and although I have been through a plethora of events in the past four years, I praise my younger self  for standing with her head held tall and her heart still capable of love. 

There is a poem titled “Invictus” in which William Ernest Henley states, “In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance my head is bloody, but unbowed.” I feel this stanza encaptures my high school career and encompasses how I view my freshman self: so very strong. 

Sometimes the things I wrote gave me the reminder that at age 15 I was not all mature and hardened by the world. In fact, I had a pretty good sense of humor. 

I dreamed of going into the medical field, and I even have the same favorite movie as my freshman self (Short Term 12). But what shocked me most was not the movie or the my dream career, it was that the people I loved most then are the same people I love the most now. These are the people who have stuck with me through it all and I could not be more thankful. 

I was never a troublemaker, but I think I was expecting my calm personality to drastically change when I entered high school. I even wrote, “Please stay out of trouble and I hope I did during high school,” and I think she would be happy to hear that I am probably even less troublesome than I was in middle school. 

Although the tone in my letter was serious and earnest, I was also reminded that I was still a kid, a kid who was funny and hopeful, a kid who only had one dream: making their future self proud. 

My years in high school have not been easy, I have dealt with many bad times, but also many good, and I wrote to myself, “Just take time to look back at the good times, and the bad, but remember that the world is a beautiful place and no matter what happens, I am proud of you and I think you are a miraculous person.” 

So freshman self, as I look back on these memories, the good and the bad, I want to thank you. I want to thank you for hanging in there, I want to thank you for the bravest thing you ever did. 

Thank you for continuing to live.

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