First, for the thousandth time, congratulations on graduating.
While you are being showered with virtual commencement speeches and best wishes from your parents, siblings, relatives, and friends, I would like to surprise you with a letter from your humble freshman class.
So, you did it. You grinded through horrendous finals; you navigated the life-threatening driver-license test; you survived messy emotional breakups…it was all part of the experience. For the past four years, you have worked so hard to earn your success, embracing and overcoming many challenges along the way. Your family, your teachers, and your school are all definitely proud of you.
Okay, that was boring. Let’s spice things up with some bad news instead.
I’m sorry to inform you that you have just come full circle. In fact, I offer you a Metamorphosis-esque warning: you are about to become the very thing that you abhor.
Remember those pesky freshmen that you dislike so much? Swarming around campus, barging into classrooms, and timidly asking for directions, they are the only thing more annoying than college applications. Freshmen are like flies, only bigger. Unfortunately, you are about to become one yourself.
Four years ago, on the first day of school, you were trying to find Moore 10. You entered through the door on the right, looking worriedly at your watch, then unperceptively rammed through Moore 13, only to find a disapproving room of seniors casting offended looks down at you. Now, after four years of fluency with Lakeside’s nooks and crannies, you will soon find yourself in a sprawling college campus with more buildings, more people, and more ways to get lost. You will soon be reliving your experience as a lost freshman. Worse yet, rather than a cozy twelve-person classroom, you might be stumbling into a fifty-person lecture hall, remaining there for an hour before realizing your mistake.
Think back on when you were a freshman, you enrolled in classes, signed up for outdoor trips, and applied to GSLs? Do you still remember if you got any of them? So be prepared as you go to college. Register for electives, sign up for Greek life, and apply for internships, but keep your expectations low. Enjoy your leftover seniority while you still can, because these perks will soon be gone.
You might still remember how, in your freshman year, you were introduced to fellow students eight at a time, causing your short-term memory to short-circuit on the spot. That is bound to happen all over again when you arrive at your new college campus. After entering college, you will have plenty of opportunities to mix up roommates, and even worse, your teaching assistants and professors. It is the recurring nightmare in which you desperately wish that you were born with a photographic memory.
In short, you will fall to the bottom of the food chain all over again.
Okay, that is enough bad news for now. Here are some tips and tricks on how to survive freshman year, from a most subservient member of your freshman class. I hope this aids you in your times of trouble.
Cherish those precious, beautiful days on Lakeside campus. Keep the memories of being the tallest, strongest, and most intelligent ones lounging in the student center. Always remember your historical victory in student-staff basketball. Think back to the moment when you opened your freshmen letter to yourself. Remember when you gloriously defended the second floor of the library. It will be a lifeline for you as you sit in your dorm, feeling homesick, several months from now.
Stay open to being surprised. Right now, you’re probably still in autopilot mode. However, with the current challenges and uncertainties due to the pandemic, you will finish your capstone project by sewing face masks, attend graduation on a Minecraft server, and listen to Obama give you a commencement speech on YouTube. There will be even more coming your way, so prepare yourself.
Throughout history, we have experienced wars, famines, and plagues. Remind yourself that humanity has come so far. Although you will become a freshman, petty and insignificant on the large scale, when this pandemic-induced hiatus is over, you will be okay. If you do not believe it, just look at us, the downtrodden freshmen. We are fine.
It is of the utmost irony that you, the great and mighty seniors of Lakeside School, are being told these things by a freshman. But it is even more ironic that you will shortly be reincarnated as freshmen yourself. I offer you my greatest condolences and sincerest congratulations.
P.S. But who would listen to a freshman, anyways…?