An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Annie H. ’22

Dear Freshman Annie,

First and foremost, breathe and smile. You are so incredibly lucky to be at the beginning of these next four years. No, it's not going to be easy. No, it’s not going to be all “normal.” But you are going to meet some awesome people, learn more about yourself than you think is possible, and have the best mentors a person can ask for. Here are my three biggest pieces of advice:

Be present. We struggled with this a lot, but there is nothing more important than being present. These four years will fly by, and unfortunately some unforeseen events made these four years even shorter. You may think that you can just go to that soccer game next week, or talk to someone new tomorrow, or maybe even audition for the musical next year. But you should just do it today. Don't wait. The opportunity might not come again. Don't stress about the future or past. It doesn't matter how you played during that game in a year, no one is going to remember your awful presentation, and you might not forget that test, but I guarantee it's not the end of the world. Go out with your friends. Go watch that football game. And don't count down the days until the next break.

Ask for help. High school isn't easy, and Lakeside isn't easy. Please, please, please talk to your teachers. They are incredibly smart, caring, and amazing people. You are so lucky to go to Lakeside and be surrounded by these people. Use them! Take advantage of the opportunities Lakeside has to offer! It is okay to admit you don't know everything. You aren’t supposed to. That's why you go to school! (And by the way, no one here knows everything, not even your classmates that you think do. Everyone is struggling on the inside. You are smart, and you deserve to be here.) You won't just need academic help. You will need help mentally, physically, and emotionally. You are going to learn so much about your needs as a person, but the only way you will do so is if you reach out to the resources around you. Your parents are there for you. You are so lucky to have them. Don’t wait until you can’t walk or get out of bed or are failing a class. Everyone in your life at Lakeside and at home is rooting for your success, and they will be your brace when you need it. 

Have fun and enjoy it. You will cry a lot, you will be stressed, and you will have bad days. But promise me that you will laugh, smile, and have fun. Make memories with your friends and classmates. Nothing that happens in high school is the end of the world, so please don’t let the little things consume you. High school is supposed to be fun. Take a break from homework, stop stressing about sports, don't worry about that test for a moment, and go do what you want to do. It is the last four years you will live at home as a kid. Enjoy it. I already miss it.           

With Love,

Senior Annie