A Letter To My Freshman Brother
Start writing a post
Entertainment

A Letter To My Freshman Brother

As I start a new chapter, here's some things to know for yours.

8
A Letter To My Freshman Brother
Stephanie W

It's hard to believe that I started high school just four short years ago. As I leave for my freshman year of college I can't help but wistfully think back to walking in the giant (I'm five feet tall, everything looks giant) building for the first time. Senior basketball and football players towered over me, I was lost and ended up using a map my whole first week, I was getting used to being allowed to carry my backpack around with me, and I was thrilled by the prospect of no one telling you where you were supposed to eat in the lunchroom.

As I take the first leap into my college chapter, my littlest brother takes his first steps into the deceptively brutal years of high school. As a survivor of the system, I'd like to offer a few words of advice in the hopes that he can skip the pitfalls that I fell right into.

Dear freshman brother,

First things first--sleep is a precious thing. But it's not the worst thing in the world to get used to being sleep deprived. I spent way too many nights staying up procrastinating and finishing projects and papers the night before, and more often than not, my physical performance the next day due to a lack of sleep was not worth the sleep deprivation. However, if you do choose to stay up (because let's be honest, some of us *coughmyselfcough* don't listen and learn these valuable lessons through trial and error), know when to quit. Too many times I've been in the middle of writing a paper and my eyelids were too heavy to prop open, and I began to write gibberish in my Word processor. At that point, do yourself a favor and go to sleep.

Speaking of procrastination... I'm not going to tell you not to do it, because that's what everybody told me to do and I did not pay one ounce of mind to them. Instead, practice awareness. Clearly outline deadlines for yourself and keep a realistic view of what you can and cannot handle/accomplish in one night. I recently watched a TED talk about how procrastination can be a gateway to creativity. Once you identify the fact that you are not actually superman figure out what you can and can't do in a limited amount of time, use that information wisely. And preferably, (because I'm an adult and I can apparently give adult-y advice now) sparingly.

Be respectful to your teachers. First and foremost because they deserve it, and because you never know when you may have to ask them for a random/desperate favor or a letter of recommendation. This applies to both in-class and outside-of-class interaction. Having friends in classes can be a good thing, but it is also awesome to know that you have a mutual bond of respect with the person willing to help you in their field of expertise, even long after the class ends. You have two ears and one mouth-- listen twice as hard to them, be willing to receive advice, and get to know them. They're people too.

Grades are not the be-all end-all of your four years here. Sure, do the best that you can in your classes, but do not lose touch with your conscience and sense of mental well-being. My junior year was racked with anxiety and stress (which I owe partly to my perfectionist outlook) because I did not make enough time for myself, and I was overly my worst critic. Treat every test, quiz, or graded project result as an honest opportunity for self reflection and test of resilience. One completely bombed test grade will not ruin your high school career, nor will it dictate the rest of your life. Take comfort in the fact that people with real jobs in the real world fail on a daily basis-- it's all a part of innovation and improvement. So let it hit, think about how you can improve, dust yourself off, fail forward, and take care of yourself.

Do not, for goodness sake, be afraid to be different. If you thought middle school was a time of turmoil, believe me--it doesn't stop there. People are still trying to find themselves and figure out who they are going to be. Do not for a minute feel like you're "unpopular", or that "popular" is a label you feel you want to have associated with yourself. Take pride in every quirk, every snorting laugh, every part of your body that you're afraid to love. You don't realize how boring and fake "the norm" is until you're so sick of trying to be like them. You want to wrestle? Go for it. Want to be in a musical? Knock 'em dead. Want to study an obscure language? Watch foreign films, and practice aloud. Don't let their looks of surprise or bemusement get in the way of any opportunity that you feel is important to you. And especially do not be afraid to take charge of your own learning. Be "that kid" who asks questions in class or provokes discussion. You'll learn more than you thought you would.

Lastly--and most importantly-- be kind. Unapologetically and unconditionally. No matter the face your peers put on for others, they are fighting their own battles inside themselves that you may never become aware of. Use your words carefully, and try to steer clear of excessive swearing and insensitive comments. Oftentimes you'll find one of the biggest challenges is to remain positive in an environment that breeds negativity. Practice random acts of kindness, hold doors open, go sit with the person who sits alone at lunch. Even if you have "enemies" or complete polar opposite opinions with someone else, find room in your mind and heart to let it go. Hatred is like spinning your wheels in mud-- you end up flinging dirty particles in all directions but end up getting nowhere.

As we each start our separate four-year journeys, I wish you the best and that you enjoy all high school has to offer. Go to the football games, take someone to homecoming (or go with friends!), volunteer, stay after school for your interests, work hard to the best of your ability, appreciate the arts, have fun, and get a little bit of sleep in the process.

Love always,

Your freshman sister

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

94916

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1574043

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

982068
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

903631
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

588323
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

375401
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

493327

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments