An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Owen R. ’21

Dear freshman self,

First off, please work on your handwriting because what I just read in YOUR letter to ME was bad, like I could barely read a single word bad.

Anyways, I hope you’re enjoying the beginning of freshman year :). You know, I’ve learned a lot about myself since 9th grade, so here’s some advice I have for you:

Don’t take things for granted. Remember, being at Lakeside is a privilege, not a given, and certainly not a right. When you're struggling on an English essay the night before it’s due (and trust me, that will happen more than it should), remember that you’re at Lakeside for a reason. You belong here, but treat it like your soccer team — you can’t get complacent, and you must keep working hard.

And speaking about soccer, here’s my second piece of wisdom: you are not defined by your sport. You probably feel like soccer defines your life outside of school, but unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances will take soccer out of the picture for a bit. So, continue playing and enjoying soccer, but also consider what other ways you can enjoy high school and have fun in the community. Branch out a bit; be brave and walk into Bliss 115 during an activity period sometime because it will open so many doors for you.

My third piece of advice is to never be ashamed about who you are. No matter what anyone says, you are Asian enough, Chinese enough, and nobody can tell you otherwise. Speak up for yourself and your friends because a racial or homophobic slur is not a joke and are never ok. Talking about your identity and being vulnerable isn’t something just for girls, and I hope you remember that.

Finally, please go have some fun. This is your time to shine. You will have some rough semesters ahead, so go ahead and enjoy being at a new school with a bunch of new people. If some classmates you only just met invite you to hang out with them, I sure hope you won’t try to invent an excuse like, “Oh, I have too much homework.” Go to sports games, stay after school in the library, and like I said, have some fun. Also, don’t work during your free periods freshman year. There’s going to be plenty of time for that later.

Your senior self,

Owen

P.S. You can never smile too much.