Responding to My Freshman Self

by Reade Fenner

The night before my first day of school freshman year, I couldn’t sleep. Too anxious about starting high school to relax, I gave up on the endeavor and decided to write a letter to my senior self about my expectations for high school.

A few of my hopes for high school were a bit too high. I wanted to travel abroad, “to France, London, Ireland, or Scotland,” preferably. Junior year, I was supposed to travel to Spain with my chamber choir, but unfortunately, Covid squashed that dream. My freshman self had also desperately hoped for an improvement in handwriting, but based on the letter, it’s only gotten worse. Fluency in Spanish was another aspiration of mine, which, considering I could barely form a sentence by junior year, I’d say I failed miserably at.

I did manage to accomplish a few of my adolescent goals. I desperately wanted straight A’s throughout high school and the extra tassel on my graduation cap for 260 SSL hours. (Evidently, my obsession with tassels began long before senior year.) I succeeded at both of these, which I think would make my anxious, over-achieving freshman self proud.

Though I had many expectations for high school, I was also clear that I wanted to try new things, and I feel like I did. I sang in Treble Choir, intending to only get my arts credit for graduation, and continued with chorus all four years of high school. Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival, which I joined because of choir, ended up being the most influential part of my high school experience.

Another goal my freshman self had was to continue writing. I loved using prompts I found on Pinterest to produce stories that would go unfinished in hopes that I would eventually write a novel (a very unrealistic ambition). Though I no longer write fictional pieces, I have switched to journalism and cultivated my writing skills by writing for The Warrior for the past few years.

Although setting expectations for yourself can be valuable, these goals shouldn’t serve as absolute plans that restrict your future since your interests can shift, or a goal can be loftier than you thought. I started the letter to my current self by wishing that I felt “happy, accomplished, and satisfied with my high school experience.” Though I didn’t meet all the unreasonable expectations my freshman self set for me, I feel more than content with my time at Sherwood.