A Honest Letter to Underclassmen

As senior year was approaching last summer I consciously remember scrolling through Pinterest reading blog post after blog post about SENIOR YEAR! It was exciting! I was an overly stressed out junior and was about to continue my chain of stress as I geared up to take four college level classes (two of which were actual college courses). People always told me growing up to relax senior year and to really enjoy it as it was my last chance at enjoying my high school career and because I would simply miss the “easy times” in my life. Well, I am here to inform you that my senior year has been anything but “easy” and to put it frank, I don’t really want to remember my senior year. However, I would not be the women I have/am becoming today if I did not experience it. That is why I want to write this letter to the frightful and shy upcoming freshman or an underclassman who might be terrified of senior year or just high school in general.

Dear frightful teenager,
You’re either about to begin high school or you might be entering your senior year, you’re fearful of the possibilities, you’re curious of others experiences, you’re LOST! I get it! Trust me, I really do understand what you’re feeling! I hope you will find some comfort or possible direction through this letter to you!

First, I want to tell you a bit about my personal high school experience. I don’t want to scare or intimidate you by this so you must read this letter all the way through. Okay, so in my very small, one stop light county, we have four even smaller cities. We do not have any middle schools, therefore, we complete elementary school in the 7th grade and we start high school in 8th grade. Sounds horrible doesn’t it? Well, its actually not as bad as it seems. Yes, there are some maturity differences and some unique experiences that I would not have experienced had I gone to a middle school. In 6th and 7th grade most kids crave a taste of freedom and that is why middle school is much more similar to high school than elementary school, but where I live we were still walking single file, follow the leader (our teacher) to our classes the next classroom over. Though the 6th and 7th grade classrooms had their own wing in the school it still was not the same. We managed and we definitely faced a bit of reality when we arrived in 8th grade. Surrounded by people you’ve never even seen before, classes with no friends, the freedom and responsibility of arriving to your classes on time. It was a lot to get used to and there was a lot to learn. The biggest lesson I had to learn the hard way was learning who I was and what I was like as a person. In “middle school” I just floated because I was not popular at all and I didn’t make friends easily because I had only gone to the school since 4th grade. When I got to 8th grade I had SO MANY new faces and people to meet and get to know, it also gave me more opportunities for making friends. My freshman year I had a group of friends that were essentially part time friends and it was a good day when my presence was noticed. This year is the most blurred year to me though and I don’t really remember much. However, my sophomore year has an immense significance to me and also my graduating class. Personally it is holds magnitude for me because this is the year I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. As exciting as this was for me, my classmates and I had to grieve a loss of a classmate. The day after his death (he committed suicide due to bullying and we found out the morning after when we arrived at school) will forever be a heavy day for me. I will never forget the feeling and the silence that washed over the hallway I was standing in. It was a very hard time for my classmates and I, but I know that it did bring a lot of us closer together in the end. My junior year was when the beginning of my hip journey (read my previous hip journey posts to find out more) and it was a year filled with uncertainty and new experiences. I completed 8 months of physical therapy and I was spending a lot of time in doubt as I traveled from doctor to doctor getting no where. It was a very physically and emotionally painful year for me and it was also a year filled with academic hardships. I was pushing myself as far as I could and I was loosing my power and strength VERY fast because of the other hardships I was going through. And here we are… SENIOR YEAR! A year I wish had no significance so I could forget it like I have my freshman year. A physically challenging year. A year of answers and praise. A year of excitement and yet a year of sadness. I started the year off in physical therapy again and I still had no answers. I was taking two college credit classes, one college material class (non college credit), and one Spanish 4 class. I doubt you’ll ever hear anyone say their Spanish 4 class was the class they looked forward to each day because it was a mental break. I never had a day when I came home with absolutely no homework of any kind. Second semester was a 360 degree difference but not necessarily in a good way. I had a very large hip surgery after finally receiving answers, I restarted physical therapy this time with a purpose and a goal, and I learned how much I truly appreciate my routine of going to school and how meaningful people truly are.

You see, I’ve been through a lot; good, bad and the ugly. I’m thankful for it all and I know I would not be the same person I am today with out any minor piece of it.

Alright, you came here seeking some advice I am assuming. Before I just jump right in, I want you to know that its okay to have a bad high school experience. It will most likely not be your favorite time in life to remember but that’s not an excuse to completely stop from trying to make it a memorable time. Its not ever going to be like High School Musical or Glee. Thanks Troy Bolton, Gabriella, and Rachel Berry! Okay, on to my tips and pieces of advice…

  1. Like I mentioned earlier, there is reality and there is Hollywood high school. Trust me, I LOVE High School Musical and I have since 2006 and I will always love it! Although, Troy and Gabriella make it look like a blast as they sing through the halls and through sports practices, it’s never been like that and it never will be. High school is hard and you often have to make it your own musical just to make it through the day!
  2. Learn to like coffee! Learn to pull all-nighter’s. Learn to work under pressure. Learn how to become a detective on google! I know it all sounds ridiculous and partially like cheating and that’s because it is. I am not going to lie and tell you that you’ll make it through without googling the homework at 1:30 am because you forgot there was homework because it will happen and not just once! You’ll pull at least one all-nighter or one that might as well be an all-nighter and you’ll be searching for the coffee pot come second period. You will also forget that you have a paper due or a large homework assignment and you will learn how to multi task your way through your first period class.
  3. This is not Mean Girls and you’re not Regina George! Trust me when I say you will rather be known for the over friendly kid in school that the biggest snot around town! You will be made fun of in high school and you will have days when you wish a good knuckle sandwich was not against the rules. Just because you have bad days does not exempt you from the ability of making new friends every so often or even being a friend to the kid who is not so liked in your school.
  4. Anxiety and mental health disorders are a real thing and you WILL either have first hand experience with it or you will be a witness to it at some point in your high school career. It is a very scary and serious thing. Do not take the opportunity of judgement, instead take the opportunity of comfort. If you experience anxiety or any other mental illness, please remember that you still have a purpose and I guarantee you that it is a sickening sweet purpose! You are a child of God no matter what and there is always hope!
  5. HAVE FUN! MAKE MEMORIES! Its not an easy time in anyone’s life but it is the most significant time in ones life. You become an adult and you learn to discover who you truly are! Take advantage of the opportunities to have fun and make memories with your friends!

I hope that this letter gave some insight into high school and shows you that high school doesn’t have to be a miserable experience! Take advantage of wise and positive opportunities and just stay true to who you are. Don’t pretend to impress anyone. Enjoy high school while you can because in a few short years it will be the end and you will wish you would have listened!

A class of 2018 graduate

Don’t forget to check out my previous blog posts if you enjoyed this one and also keep an eye out for some really exciting upcoming posts! I have a lot in the works and I cant wait to share with you! Also remember to check out my social media and follow me there so you can see what my life is like outside of my blog!

Peace Out- Kiley



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