High school can be a scary place with trials hiding behind every corner. With each day comes another failed test, another mental breakdown, another heartbreak, another scandal and countless other things that seem to be the end of the world.
Yet, through all that can only be explained as bottled up teen angst, another smile, another A, another first kiss, another new friend and countless other things make the world beautiful. When graduation is said and done, Ola’s freshmen believe they will remember the good times.
“I want her to know that I’m happy for her. You know, she made it that far, she passed all her classes- hopefully. Just that she did well. It doesn’t really matter if she’s top of the class like I know I want to be but if she makes it, that’s amazing,” Laurel Ardis, freshman, said.
Working hard is important to Ardis, whom’s goal is to be the best at everything she does. Where Ardis makes grades her top priority, Dylan Miller, freshman, is more worried about the memories he is making along the way.
“I want to remember high school as a fun experience, you know. Like, having a good time, not having to stress and worry about homework,” Miller said.
As class president, Miller is extremely extroverted which leads to different goals than Ardis. One of his goals is to remain in office for the remainder of his high school experience. To do this, Miller finds new friends in every place he goes.
“I want to be socially involved. You know, still have a good amount of friends that I can trust with a lot and have like, good, stable friendships,” Miller said.
Though Miller is comfortable with approaching new people, others, including Bryson Winton, freshman, avoid making new friends so as to save themselves from issues with other people.
“I’m happy with my old friends. Too many people start too much drama and I don’t want any of that my senior year. Drama makes you lose your friends, get in trouble, stuff like that. It’s just not worth it,” Winton said.
No matter what type of person walks Ola’s halls, they all have something in common: barely being able to wait until they graduate. Lisa Bishop, freshman, already has her life planned out.
“[I’m ready] for life to really begin after high school. I want to go to [the University of Georgia], get my degree as a veterinarian, start a family…” Bishop said.
Although she is looking ahead, Bishop hopes to mature before her dreams come into reality. Bishop is not alone in her self-awareness. Many freshmen are anxious to learn more about independence so, when the time comes for them to walk across the stage with a diploma, they will be able to move on without looking back.
“[I want to know] how to deal with problems faster, like be able to take care of myself. I need to learn how to drive, how to cook, feed myself… I have a while to go,” Miller said.
Not only do these underclassmen expect development in their common sense, but also in their mental abilities. Winton, for example, feels as though he does not learn near enough.
“I don’t know anything right now. I want my future self to know everything, how the world works, why the sky is blue, why the creator of Apple is so filthy rich… I want to be one of the smartest people on the planet. Who doesn’t want to be a genius, right? I want to just outsmart everyone,” Winton said.
Although learning everything seems ideal, it is often difficult to do with the threat of classes looming. Many students spend more of their free time panicking rather than actually doing their work.
“[I want] To be happy. To not be stressed out [and] worrying over every little thing,” Ardis said.
Even though the academic part of school gets overwhelming, there is always something to lighten the load.
“[I want to remember] Homecoming. The parade, the dance, it was all just, like, memorable since I was on court. I want to be able to look back and show my kids how much fun it was. It felt great,” Miller said.
While some find comfort in events and memories, others find it in people who have become their anchors. For example, Mindy Forehand, chorus teacher, acts as many students’ ‘school mom’, a teacher who gives motherly advice to the student in question.
“Remember Ms. [Forehand], she’s a big inspiration for me. She always has these quotes she says or puts on Google Classroom. I want to remember what she does for us and try to help the world and do the same thing for other people,” Bishop said.
Even though some rely on people to stay strong, Winton does the opposite. He knows that no one can be with him throughout his experience save for himself.
“I want to remember that you always have to look out for number one- yourself… You can power through anything, no matter where you came from,” Winton said.
Whether by the help of others or all their own, these freshmen will graduate in the blink of an eye. Every inside joke, lunch detention, Friday night lights, missing assignment and school dance will become nothing but a memory. The important thing is to remember how good life felt when there was something excitingly terrifying behind each corner.
“[I want her to know] You made it. High school wasn’t as bad as you thought your freshman year. I mean, you’re there. You did it,” Ardis said.
To write a letter to your future self, www.futureme.org will send a letter to your email address at any date and time you choose.
This story was originally published on Hoof Print on March 4, 2019.