An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Bryent T. '20

Hello Bryent,

As I trod through Camp Arnold’s field, I reminisce over the Freshman Retreat. Feelings of bliss and angst hit me with dismay. Am I already a senior? I promise, the last three years have been filled with fantastic and unpredictable moments, but I won’t ruin the surprise for you. Now, allow me to provide some advice for this upcoming year!

First, I urge you to be bold in pursuing friendships. Trust me, I distinctly recall the feeling of isolation and insecurity. But while everyone around you may appear to be more comfortable in their skin, they are actually just as anxious about high school as you are. An excellent way of meeting new students is to become involved in clubs. Activity period isn’t a time to watch YouTube videos in the library, Bryent. It is your opportunity to socialize and begin to establish relationships with your peers, so take advantage of it!

Next, I hope that you will set specific goals for yourself and plan ahead. You will be surprised by what you are capable of accomplishing in high school, so find a dream and work toward making it a reality. For each goal you undertake, have a concrete idea of what exactly you are striving for. Your aspirations will inevitably change over the next few years, but having a clear sense of where you are going will be helpful. Be brave and ask upperclassmen for advice because they feel honored to help you. Hearing their unique perspectives and lived experiences will allow you to learn from their mistakes and plan ahead.

Lastly, try your hardest to take risks and strive to seek out deep conversations. Elaborating further on my first piece of advice, don’t wait for others to approach you. People tend to respect and appreciate those who put themselves in a position of vulnerability. Perhaps I can provide you with a bit of solace: if your genuine attempt to converse with someone is rejected, it’s their loss because they are missing out on the opportunity to foster a strong relationship with you. Remember, friendships can only deepen when you dare to ask questions and spark meaningful conversations.

Graduation is briskly approaching, and yet even I, a senior, am still grappling with how I should navigate my last year of high school. Sometimes it is alright to embrace the discomfort. Also, having cultivated a greater sense of empathy over my time at Lakeside, I understand that it will be challenging to refrain from comparing yourself with others. Every student seems so brilliant and talented! Always keep in mind what Ms. Chu (a fantastic English teacher whom you will meet next year) said to you: “I promise you are enough.” Above all, be passionate, be curious, be courageous, be compassionate, and most importantly, love yourself.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to others if you ever need help. With all my heart, I wish you the best of luck!


Bryent T.