To High School Freshman Misha:

Freshman year. It doesn't pan out to be the best year of high school for you. And to be honest, you were totally right: high school sucks. Between the stupid cliques, the overwhelming pressure to get good grades, the competition between your peers to be the best at something, anything, it truly sucks the soul out of you. Truth be told, by the time you go to college, it does suck the life out of you (but more on that later). But, there were two major lessons we learned along the way which I will share to you now, you know, to get a head start.

Be a little bit more open-minded.

You're literally the most stubborn person I know. When you have an anxiety attack and mom tells you to maybe go hit the gym, she isn't telling you you're fat. She's telling you to go release some cute endorphins. When you talk to a Republican, it's okay to actually sit down and listen to them, instead of judging them right away for being a Republican. Before you judge someone for going vegan, actually do your research and realize that that's the only real way to be 100% food sustainable. Stop thinking that depression is all-consuming. It sucks and we struggle with it, but there are ways to get a grip on it. You just haven't found them yet. It isn't your end all, be all. And lastly, stop fighting therapy. It's actually really good for you and you're being a dumb*ss for being stubborn about it.

Failures happen.

Listen, the truth is is that you don't get everything you want. You don't make the top choir team, you don't get into the club volleyball team that you wanted, hell you don't even get into the college you've been dreaming about for forever. But that's okay. Every failure brings you to something else. That boy you can't get off your mind? There turns out to be multiple in high school. Regardless of which one, he sucks and isn't really worth your time but it's okay because you learned something from it and it led you to create the groundwork of a very healthy happy relationship in college. Not going to New York for college wasn't the end of the world either, you end up getting into Fordham University in Manhattan and you literally choose to stay in California. Which led you to go to San Diego State University.

Speaking of, I know you can't stop dreaming about how much better college will be, but college sucks too. I know you thought cliques and social events were terrible in high school, they have become even more intolerable in college (but, I'm 99% sure we're the only people in the universe that think that). I know you were under the impression that people would grow up and mature but I'm starting to think that that never actually happens, even in the "real world". Appreciate your high school car more. Eventually, Ashton, your 2008 Camry from high school has a brake problem that is too expensive to fix, mom and dad will trade it in. and knowing you, you probably will see that as a failure. And you will be sad. But, they will eventually replace Ashton with a different car. Hint: her name is Nova and she's lovely.

Knowing these things, maybe you would've made your life in high school a little bit easier. Maybe you wouldn't have been so hard on yourself and maybe you actually had fun in high school. Maybe you would have found more friends. But, that being said, if you're now freaking out about all of these things (as I know you probably are), don't worry. If nothing changes, at least we still have time. College has been and will continue to be different. I hope.

Sincerely,

College Freshman Misha