Dear Students,

14 August 2015

I'm not ready.

I am in no way ready for school to start. I'm sure you all feel the same way. I'm sure we're all still recovering from last year, I know I am. I'm not ready for the stress, anxiety, tears, frustrations this year will bring.

Sometimes I think that all the bad stuff outweigh the good parts of school, but then I'll hang out with my friends and we'll have a great time, then I think maybe it isn't so bad. High school is not going to be the best four years of your life. Most likely anyway.

High school is going to feel more like an audition for college. It's going to feel like too much all at once. I know that that's how it felt for me. I know its scary. I'm still scared. I am absolutely terrified of my senior year of high school. I'm scared about not getting into the "right" college. I'm scared about messing up in the last home stretch. I'm scared that maybe everything I've done isn't enough. I think the last part scares me the most.So to my fellow seniors, we can do this, we can survive it. We're almost done. We've had a 100% survival rate so far. College apps, crazy schedules, friend drama, it's all survivable. I have to remind myself of that. So I'm reminding you of that. Because sometimes all we need is someone to tell us that we can. And trust me you can do this. Don't let stats get you down, don't let grades make you feel like your less of a person. You are you. That can't be defined with numbers and grades. My advice to you, and myself, is that you are in charge of your life so take control and steer yourself where you want to go. Don't let someone tell you that you can't do something. Don't let people tear you down, or try and tell you what you should do. At the end of the day your the one who has to live with the life you create, so create an awesome one. Don't apologize for making choices that make you happy and will help keep you happy for years to come.

 Maybe you're scared about starting high school, maybe you're scared about taking your first AP class, maybe you're scared about making new friends, maybe you're scared about not fitting in, maybe you're scared of disappointing someone. Let me tell you right now that no matter what your anxious about, you'll survive it. It might suck for a really long time.But that doesn't mean you won't survive, you will and you will go on to better things. If you stay organized, you can survive AP classes. If you work your butt off, you will get the grades you deserve. If you put yourself out there, chances are you will meet people who are like you. Don't be angry or sad if you don't find people at first or if you can't find a "real group" of friends. You'll find your people eventually. Try some new things, you might be surprised at where your happiest. That's the other thing, surround yourself with good people.

You'll need good friends, not flaky unreliable people, in your corner. If you don't fit in because your "weird" or "nerdy", fuck everybody else. You just need to be yourself and happy in your skin. High school sucks, its terrible, but don't let the people and the place force you to change. The things people might think are "uncool" now, are the eccentricities someone else with think are awesome, are the things that will make you stand out. After all who wants to be boring carbon copy, leading a boring, vanilla life? Not me. If there's one thing I wish I could have told myself as a freshman is that "You will survive and be okay. Maybe even better than okay". So i'll tell you guys that. Somewhere down the line you'll realize that you turned out okay and that your life will turn out okay too.

Mental illness is a thing that a lot of people struggle with. I can't count how many people have talked to be about depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, etc. They were all afraid to talk about it and I hate that they felt so afraid to talk about it because of the stigma attached to it. Mental illness is a disease. Not something to run away from, or pretend doesn't exist. From my experience music is a great help when things suck and when they don't. It's okay to have bad days, and sometimes your going to have more bad days than good ones. It sucks but remember that the sun at some point will come out and because you've survived dark nights, scary nights, lonely nights, you will appreciate the sun. Talk to someone if you can, and if you don't have someone, talk to me. If not there are plenty of online resources that will help you out: 7 Cups of TeaIMAlive.

School will most likely get crazy. The people in it are little bit bonkers. And that's okay. But this year I want all of you to take care of yourselves and remember to make yourselves a priority amidst all the chaos. I know I'm going to make more of an effort to do that this year. I always start these open letters with an idea of what I want to say but then I write them and the just end up being mini rambles. As per usual this is also all over the place, but I really want to wish you guys luck this year.

Here's what I've learned from surviving three years of the crazy jungle that is high school
  • It's not worth it to be "cool"
  • Don't apologize for who you are but accept when you are in the wrong.
  • Don't be afraid to make mistakes and try new things. 
  • Put the work into school. It's your ticket out and your key to open doors to places you want to go. 
  • Education is one thing that no one will be able to take away from you. Take advantage of your classes and learn as much as humanly possible. 
  • Playlists will be the soundtrack of your experiences. 
  • Being alone is not a bad thing. It's important to know how to be alone. 

Remember that some days are going to suck, but hold on to the ones that are amazing. Pay attention to the moments you feel on top of the world. Those are the ones that count. Remember and enjoy the little things because those small details can make your memories and life all the more richer. Keep in mind that education is important even if you decide not to go to college ( and if you do want to go to college it's helpful to start looking into the application process early).

Here's to us. Here's to a new school year. Lets be awesome and kick ass this school year.

Stay Gold,

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