An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Harper M. '20

Dear freshman Harper, 

Let’s address the elephant in the room: you like girls. Quit spending all that time wondering if that’s true. You like girls and it’s totally fine. Get on with your life. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the stuff that matters. No, I don’t mean every cringey things you did in middle school that you are worried people will remember, because nobody remembers. For real, nobody will ever, ever remember anything you did in middle school. When I talk about what matters, I mean the things you’re going to do in the future, in high school.

Right now, walking around campus for the first time as a ninth grader, you see high school as just a means to an end, an obstacle you must conquer before you can get to the rest of your thrilling and successful life. I’m here to tell you that, even if eighth-grade you thought high school was just another four years between you and your lofty goals, it’s worth savoring every drop.

Being a high schooler is going to have its challenges; you will cry over history homework and heartbreaks, and you will have to live with a lot of Bs on math tests, but at no other point in your life will you be so wildly free to have fun. High school is a place to explore what makes you happy and prune out the things that aren’t worth your time. Find a little thing in every single day that makes you smile. Some days it will just be putting a cowboy hat emoji next to your name in Kahoot, and other days it will be making work more enjoyable by taking it outside. When you take notes, you don’t have to sound like a stuffy middle-aged professor; you’re fourteen, Harper. If writing “Britain imposing taxes on the colonies had the Americans all triggered” helps you to remember the American Revolution, do it! Your happiness is more important than any preconceived notion of what it means to be an academic, I promise.

With that said, here’s the game plan for your next four years: you’re going to study hard, love your friends, and take full advantage of everything Lakeside can offer you. There will be silly house assembly games, all-nighters, hilarious stories, rainy practices, hour-long test correction meetings, and countless memories you will treasure forever. Grab high school by the horns and enjoy the unique experience of being surrounded by five hundred of the craziest, funniest, stupidest, and most brilliant people you’ll ever meet. You have just four years in this wacky place and I beg you to make the most of it.

Now, go out and change the world. Just remember to have a good laugh along the way.

Best of luck,

Your future self