• Laura Alyssa Platé

An Open Letter to my Favorite Freshman

Aug. 5, 2019


Dear SRBC Freshman,


It's probably no secret anymore that of all the youth I had the pleasure of being in youth with, the Class of 2023 has a very special place in my heart. Maybe it's because you all were my 6th-grade babies when I was a senior, or maybe it's because unlike the rest of the youth group, y'all laugh at my jokes {usually}. Whatever the reason is, I love and care about each and every one of you more than you could possibly realize. Of course as your friendly local big sister, mom friend, or whatever else you all have decided to call me this week I have some advice I want to share with you about high school.


This morning, when you wake up around 5:30 you will begin your first year as a high school student. As exciting as it is, it is crazy to think that y'all are here. I've teared up more than once thinking about it. It's also made me think back on the years I spent at Collins Hill, how much fun I had, and all of the memories I made… but I also thought about what I wish someone had told me before I walked in the door on my first day of Freshman Year.


1) Try New Things

It is totally okay to go to a meeting or two of a club you might be interested in just to see if you like it. You never know, your new best friend may await you. You will never know if you don't participate because you are afraid it won't be the popular thing to do. Honestly, who cares about being popular anyway? There are about 3,200 people walking the halls of your high school every day and as long as you do what you love and stay true to who you are, the friends will come; just you wait. It may not happen immediately, but there are 3,200 of you, and you're all searching for one another. No matter if it happens on day 1 or day 720, it will happen.


2) Go to Athletic Events

I can't stress this enough; you are only in high school once. So go and have an annoying amount of school spirit. Whether you are a Bronco, a Ram, a Panther, or have seen the light and decided to become an Eagle, FNL is full of sights, sounds, and smells that just cannot be recreated anywhere else. People that think you aren't cool for screaming for your team at the top of your lungs are the lame ones. (GO EAGLES!!) For my introverted friends, I see you too. I'm not saying you have to stand at the front of the crowd covered head to toe in paint beating a trashcan, all you need to do is be there. You will get out of high school what you put into it… actually, that's just good life advice.


3) Please Study

The study habits you make now will follow you into college, and I promise your teachers and counselors and administrators aren't lying when they say GPA starts mattering day one on Freshman year. It truly, truly does. Do your future self a favor and start off strong. You will be able to have more fun when you are an upperclassman if you aren't trying to pull up your grades then. But at the same time, please don't make yourselves sick worrying about getting straight A's. Listen Y'all, I graduated with 3 Cs, a bunch of Bs, and a bunch of As and I still got accepted to several amazing universities including Baylor, Alabama, and Indiana. If you're worried about one class making or breaking your future, don't. Stop that. Be kind to yourself. Those habits stick too, and they are a lot harder to break.


4) Be Nice to Your Teachers

Just because they get paid to be there doesn't mean a simple smile or a thank you wouldn't go a long way. Especially in Gwinnett, the home of the Oh Dawn Thirty late bell. Not everyone is a morning person, and they do put up with a lot of hormonal teenagers every day. You may need those relationships later for college & job recommendations. At the very least, they're human beings and deserve to be respected. I know you all know that because you're good human beings too. But sometimes it's awfully hard to put on a smile when your second period teacher calls you the wrong name for the twelfth time today in October-- I get that too.


5) Meet Your Counselors and Administrators Now

Just do it. I promise. You think you are never going to ever in a million years have to see them, and chances are, until your senior year you never will. However, on the off chance you need them for something before then, it is better that they know you before you go into their office… and again, they will write you college recs, so the better they know you, the more sincere it will be. Plus, they are great people anyway, and they love students. That is why they are there. Not to make your lives miserable; they don't eat babies for breakfast like some people will tell you they do. Actually, if you take the time to get to know them, they are some of the coolest people around and sometimes the sneak you a Reece's when you're having a bad day.


6) Boyfriends (and Girlfriends) are Overrated

To my ladies: Please, dear Lord, know that you are worth so much more than what that boy you are going to think hung the moon makes you feel about yourself. You are 14; there is still SO much time for you to date and fall in love. I know there is a picturesque quality to having a guy in all your dance pictures and getting to go on cute dates in the fall, but do yourself a favor and just make some guy friends. I fell into that trap too, and while yes, I cared about them deeply, my grades and social well-being were never better than when I was single and just worried about what I wanted to do. I'm not saying don't date or whatever, I'm just saying be meticulous with who you go out with and never for a second feel the need to conform to what other people think you ought to be. Including me. Whether or not you are in a relationship is entirely up to you. I will celebrate and goggle with you over romantic moments and I will grieve heartbreaks with you, but remember no matter what that you are you and no one else, and you, my dear, deserve the world.

To my guys: Girls are ridiculously mean. I'll tell you the same thing I told them, more or less. Please, dear Lord, know that you are worth so much more than what that girl you think you're going to marry makes you feel about yourself. You are 14; there is still SO much time to date and fall in love. I know it's cool to have a girlfriend come to your games and cheer you on and it's adorable to see the pictures of teenage boys showing off their girlfriends at the holidays, but do yourself a favor and just make some girl [SPACE] friends. It's all too easy to feel like you need to have a girlfriend or if you don't you aren't popular enough and that's hard, but don't date someone just because it's the cool thing to do. I'm not saying don't date or whatever, I'm just saying be meticulous with who you go out with and never for a second feel the need to conform to what other people think you ought to be. Including me. Whether or not you are in a relationship is entirely up to you. I will celebrate and goggle with you over romantic moments and I will grieve heartbreaks with you, but remember no matter what that you are you and no one else, and you, my dear, deserve the world.

And to ALL OF Y'ALL: Make. Good. Choices. But always know you have someone to talk to if you find yourself having made a questionable one.


7) Hold On Tight

Finally, I know it seems like graduation is forever and a half away but I swear if you blink you will be sitting in your dorm with mountains of homework wondering where all the time you thought you had went. Make memories, take pictures, laugh a lot, get stressed out but don't pull so many all-nighters you hurt yourself. It's high school. I won't say it's the best four years of your life, but it is definitely four years of your life worth living every second of to the fullest. Don't ever think for a second that you don't have people in your corner because you absolutely do. Some days are going to suck. Some days are going to turn into the stories you tell your grandkids. You're going to make a poor choice here and there, and you're going to say "I'm going to drop out" once or twice (a day maybe) over the slightest inconveniences because, well, it's high school and not the kind you see in the movies. Sometimes people will randomly start singing in the cafeteria, and sometimes you'll have a ridiculously over the top pep rally, but indeed… nothing like the movies. 
You all have such bright futures, and I cannot wait to hear about the days, weeks, months, and years ahead of you and all you accomplish. Even though I wish you nothing but peace and happiness I know there are going to be some incredibly rough days, and I'm here for those too. But most of all I hope in four years when your diploma is safely in your possession and you've tossed your cap you can look back and see the beauty in the hot mess that is the high school experience. Enjoy those moments of beautiful chaos and hold onto them until tomorrow.


I am so proud of all of you.

With all my love,

LA


P.S. Go Eagles!

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