A letter to my freshman self


Sydney Richardson

A photo from homecoming 2018(left) paired with a photo from homecoming 2022.

Sydney Richardson, Features Editor

Dear freshman Sydney,

Obviously, you will never read this. Something I know for sure about you–or us–is that you are a realist, so why would either of us waste our time with a letter. Even so, it may rationalize all the changes that are happening in my life.

This may be therapeutic. For me, at least. Once again, you will never read this.

You are super busy. You are part of the speech team, choir, several stage productions, band and jazz band. Eventually, you will quit band, but will still become busier than ever before.

Once people realize you’re so reliable, people will ask for your time and skills and the obligations will just pile on because you don’t want to let anyone down. Something you should know is that if you advocate for yourself by saying no and setting boundaries with people, you are valuing your own time and talents. It is possible to be dependable without extending yourself beyond coping.

Given how involved you are, your schedule will be packed, and people who are either impressed or concerned will ask “how do you do it?” The truth is, something always has to give. Usually, it is your sleep schedule or your math homework.

No matter what, you will stay afloat. It’s going to be hard, but every minute you put into what you love is worth it. I’m fortunate that I can say with confidence that I will look back on high school with fond memories.

There is also a whole pandemic you will have to deal with to a greater extent than anyone ever expected. You will do school and speech tournaments virtually from home, go months without seeing your friends or extended family and you won’t even be allowed into other people’s houses until you are vaccinated against the virus more than a year after quarantine begins.

To someone who hasn’t lived through it yet, I’m sure this situation almost sounds fake, but it is most definitely real. For two years, there has been a lot of uncertainty, false hope and tragedy. But that goes for everyone in the world, so be grateful that you will make it through unscathed compared to some other people.

In the time between freshman year and now, I have had some of the worst days and weeks of my life. Similarly, the best ones. My life has changed tremendously, and I’ve had some extremely difficult times that I wish you would never have to endure, but I’m comforted when I remember that this is the happiest I have ever been.

I’m not one for superficial sentimentality, and you aren’t either because obviously we’re the same person, but I actually get a lot of joy out of looking at old pictures of myself. Not to brag or anything, but I am much better looking than you. Consider it as something to look forward to.

In all seriousness, you will accomplish a lot. You will learn a lot and you will mean a lot to a lot of people. I’m really proud of that, and I can only hope that the same can be said about me for the rest of my life. Wish me luck.


Senior Sydney