An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Peyton M. '19

As part of their freshman retreat, students are asked to write letters to their future selves that they'll open and read on their senior retreat four years later. We asked a group of seniors, after reading those letters, to look backward and write letters to their freshman selves.

Dear Freshman Peyton, 

Congrats on making it through middle school! Be grateful that you survived reading the Odyssey, navigating the anonymous forums, and slow-dancing to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri many, many times. 

As you venture into your first year of high school, it is important to recognize that all your awkward experiences from the past four years are going to shape who you will become in high school. Acknowledge and embrace that. Know that high school is both an opportunity to carry over all you learned and experienced in middle school, as well as an opportunity to start anew. 

Hopefully I can give you some things to think about as you start the year! Here it goes. 

Something you may not be aware of is that upperclassmen actually want to get to know you. When that cool senior girl asks you to remind her of your name, it is because she truly wants to know your name. Lean into these relationships when given the chance and treat them like any other friendship. Who knows, they could turn out to be some of your closest friends! Speaking from the future, they will be.

Don’t be afraid of missing out on what others tell you are “real teen experiences.” Anything that happens to you, in the time that you exist as a teen, is a real teen experience. 

Keep a diary. Just do it. You will thank yourself later for that perpetual source of laughter and insight. 

Take your time. Going to the weight room once will not give you a six-pack. Taking one voice lesson will not give you the singing voice of a Broadway star. You do, however, have four years. You can fit a lot of weight training and voice lessons into that time. So, embrace each bit of practice, be patient, and be proud when results appear.  

One last thing, freshman Peyton. As you walk from class to class, don’t look at the ground. Look up! There is absolutely NO REASON to look at the ground. Keep your head up in both the literal and figurative sense. By looking up and noticing the beautiful people who surround you, you will become more grateful, aware, and present.

As you walk across campus today, all the way from the gym to Allen-Gates (ugh) looking up and making awkward eye contact with people because I said to (mwahaha, the power!) remember that high school will not last forever. Your positive and negative experiences will one day be nothing more than a diary entry and a few life-long friends. So, soak it in. And above all else, be patient with yourself. ‘Cause you and I both are just teens trying to make sense of it all. 

With love,  

Senior Peyton