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A Letter to a Freshman, from a Senior

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Dear Freshman, 

Welcome to The Reef! 

We are so excited to have so many new fish in our sea. The jump from middle to high school has always been an intimidating one. This does not even take into account the dystopian pandemic in which we are living and the cancer-causing PCBs that plague our school. In 2020, intimidating does not even begin to cover it. 

You may be feeling scared, disappointed, or confused. You are not alone. Just as you don’t have the traditional start to your freshman year, I don’t have the traditional experience of a senior year.  However (hopefully) you will get to go to homecoming and play your senior pranks just as I got to wander through the hallways utterly lost in the maze of BHS three years ago. I am writing to you as someone who shares your disappointment but also has hope and excitement for your future as a seahorse. 

I remember my first day at BHS in 2017. Everyone was dressed up, nervous, and excited. We were quite a crowd with our ripped skinny jeans, push up bras, and Thrasher hoodies. With our freshly cut hair and new backpacks, we gathered outside waiting for the doors of our next four years to open. High school felt like this crazy monster that snuck upon us.  The seniors looked so old, so mature and so knowledgeable. It felt like the first day of the rest of our lives. 

Looking back, freshman year was the first year that I really felt like a person, my own person. I came into freshman year thinking that I was going to be friends with the same people, have the same hobbies, and only associate with Hunt kids. In reality, some of my best friends in the world came from the opposite school.  I joined an acapella group and attempted to skateboard (that was a disaster). By the end, I met the people who made me me. I realized what gave me purpose, what inspired me, what brought me joy, and how I could be the most authentic version of myself. 

One thing we can all agree on is that 2020 has a mind of its own. There is no spirit week or homecoming dance this year but there is time for nature and art and binge-watching cheesy TV shows. It is not easy to make new friends over Google Meets where dozens of muted rectangles stare lifelessly back at you and teachers can hear your every word. For us, it is not easy applying to college having not seen any of my teachers in 7 months.  

 As a senior, I can tell you we are just as shocked that high school is ending as you are that it has arrived. But there is still so much opportunity. High school is still a place for you to find out who you really are, find your people, and your passion. Hopefully, school will return to normal before you walk across the stage in a navy blue gown and cap. But for now, chat when you can with your peers, join a club, try a new sport, ask for help where you need it, and approach this year with an open mind.  

I am so hopeful for your high school experience.

You got this,

Sincerely,

Anessa Conner, class of 2021

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