Dear 9th grade Madashley,
Remember when you stepped into Urban Science Academy with your hopes and promises? The promises you’ve made to yourself that you will bring your GPA up, or that you’ll challenge yourself to be more optimistic? The promises you’ve made to not be reactive, but instead to be proactive and stay after school to make yourself better? The promise you’ve made to challenge yourself, to participate in activities instead of taking short cuts? The ultimate promise that you'll try your best to get to Yale University, because you'll do anything to become an anesthesiologist?
But what happened? Well, you got lazy, that’s what.
Instead of seeking more, you settled for whatever life threw in your face. One thing I want you to know is that it is okay to feel confused, but it is not okay to not ask for help. Another thing you will notice is that everything changes in high school, and sooner or later, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. For me, when everything seemed to move too fast, I was afraid. I was scared and lost, and what’s worse, I felt alone as if there was no one to help me. Now, the advice I would give myself is that it is alright to lose some friends, what matters is for you to be successful at finding your own path.
Freshmen year was terrible, although you managed to pull yourself out of it. You slacked off because you got comfortable. You wanted to challenge yourself, but were worried that people would think that you were trying too hard. Instead of making your own decisions you preoccupied yourself with the opinions of others. By the first term, you knew you could have handled some AP classes, but you settled for advanced algebra instead! You knew you could replace your A’s and B’s with A pluses. Deep down, you knew what you were capable and you had the confidence, but you didn’t take action. Despite what it may feel like right now, high school is an opportunity to get to know your inner self.
In hindsight, I was petrified when it came to challenges, but in time I had to learn to overcome those fears. Young freshman! Learn from my experience and face your fears now. Overcome your obstacles because there is always a way out. Begin with the end in mind; always set goals; visualize your future and the steps you have to take to get there. Make things happen!
Freshman year is always stressful. Not only do you have to worry about yourself academically, but you have to make sure that your emotions are in check. The funny thing about being a freshman is that you don’t always get it right; this is why you have your peers and teachers to guide you. I learned the hard way, I wanted to do everything by myself, but sometimes you have to learn to collaborate and see others’ points of view. Sometimes being independent is not enough, you need to learn to synergize, to cooperate with diverse groups and different opinions. Two heads are always better than one. If people looked at me they would have said that I knew what I was doing when in reality I had little to no idea of what I was doing. Do not be scared to ask for help because you think that if you ask for help then you are not equally as smart as the other students who seem to catch up fast. All brains are different and have unique structures, you just have to find your own way of learning.
When you leave junior high you bring your previous identity with you, but at the same time, you leave your past behind, maybe even some of your friends. When I started high school, my friends and I started as a united group, but then everyone ended up going their own way. Everyday I found my social circle shrinking. I had to accept it. I did not want to lose them or leave them behind but for my own sake, I had to. Sometimes the things you want in life happen, but they don’t always happen the way you wanted them to.
Time is precious and every time I look back to see what I have accomplished, it always leaves me a little disappointed. You don’t have unlimited time. Challenge yourself. Don’t waste your freshmen year because later you’re going to regret it. Ask for help when needed, including helping out others. Work hard all the time, not only when report cards are coming out. Remember to pick your friends wisely. I always thought being independent was being able to do everything by yourself without help, and that if you got help it was not the definition of being independent. That’s where I was wrong. This year is not going to be easy. Keep your head up. There are a lot of distractions and sometimes you will feel like crying and that’s okay. Don’t get too comfortable. There are some things that you cannot control in life but accept it. That’s what I did and I am going to be fine. So take my advice and you will be, too.