First and foremost, I want to tell you how overwhelmingly excited I am that you chose to come to Assumption. You are going to have the best four years of your life. I know that in some ways, it seems incredible that you are here. You’ve about to start high school – the past 13 years of your life passing by so quickly. But, in other ways, it makes sense to you that you are moving on to this next stage of life. I know that you are probably ready for more challenges, more independence, and more opportunities to make decisions and to carve your own path. Please understand though, that you will have moments of doubt and uncertainty, so remember the things I’m about to tell you. I was once in your shoes.
You are more than the grades you get on tests.
You are an intelligent girl who works hard and shows an amazing willingness to give your best to every task you complete, but you are so much more than your grades, which only measures one aspect of who you are. You have gifts and abilities that will never translate onto paper, yet they are a very real indication of the woman you will become one day. You are creative, compassionate, kind, gentle, insightful, wise, and funny. Your test results show what you can do, but your character is who you are.
You are not alone.
High school can sometimes leave you feeling isolated and disconnected, but even if you feel alone, you aren’t. You are surrounded by friends and family who love you. And you chose to go to a school that will soon become your second home. Sure, family may sometimes miss the point, friends may sometimes misunderstand and make mistakes, but they all will always have your back and be willing to hold your hand. Always. And when you look at others who seem so happy and connected and carefree, remember that some of them are looking at you, wondering how you can be so happy, connected, and carefree when they are feeling isolated and discouraged. Your friends and classmates are working through the same issues you are, even if it doesn’t look like it from the outside. Always keep that in mind.
I know that the upperclasswomen may seem intimidating or scary. But, remember that they were once a freshmen too. They know what it feels like to be frustrated with their parents and to not like what they see in the mirror. They know how it feels to get their heart broken by the guy that promised them forever. They worried about physical changes, struggled with new emotions, and rode the same hormone roller-coaster that you will. And still do. Reach out to them if you are struggling.
Cherish good friends.
I know that you’re sad about leaving so many friends behind as you change schools. I know their friendship and your shared memories are special to you. For some of these friends, taking a step away will make your friendship stronger. You will have new things to talk about, new ideas to share, and your time together will seem more special because it takes some effort. Sadly, for some of these friends the time apart will change things in a less positive way, but in the end this would have happened anyway. The coming years will bring lots of changes, in you and your friends. You will naturally move in different directions and that’s okay. Your memories of these friendships will still be precious. Look forward to the new friends you’ll make in high school. Some will be your friend for a week or a semester, some for a year, and others the rest of your life. Some of them will let you down at times, you’ll misjudge some people and you’ll be disappointed by others, but at the end of the day, your true friends will still be with you and the trials that you will go through with others will be worth the treasure you discover in those few who remain. Trust me. I know what I’m talking about.
You get to choose.
You can’t opt out of writing essays and assignments in subjects that don’t interest you (sorry about that), but when it comes to what you say, wear, eat and do, who you hang around with and who you allow to influence your actions and your thoughts, you get to choose. You have such a wonderful sense of style and confidence in what makes you happy. Don’t let others undermine that because of their own insecurities, jealousy, and other issues. Don’t let anyone make you feel that you are powerless because you aren’t. Ever.
Reach for the stars, but keep your feet on the ground.
The next four years will be amazing. Embrace the opportunities that come your way. Try new things, meet new people, think new thoughts. Know that you can achieve amazing things. While you reach for the stars, the community of Assumption will be there cheering you on.
Mistakes are okay.
In fact, they’re kind of inevitable. Everyone makes them, even your parents and teachers. (I’ve made quite a few in my AHS career.) Your friends will make them and so will you. Learn from them and then move on. No-one expects you to be perfect. They will love you exactly the way that you are.
Everyone changes at a different pace.
It’s really hard to not compare yourself physically with the other girls, but no one can control when puberty will kick in. You will grow and develop at the time that is right for you. Girls who are comfortable with themselves no matter what stage they are at will always be happier, whether they are tall, short, busty, bootylicious, sporty, geeky, or curvy, whether they shave their legs or don’t, always have their hair and makeup done, or would poke their eye out with eyeliner. Society’s definition of beauty keeps changing. Comparing yourself to photoshopped images and chasing every changing social ‘standard’ regarding your appearance cannot make you happy. You ARE beautiful and unique. Don’t wear yourself out trying to achieve impossible appearance goals. Set your own standards and encourage your friends to do the same.
High school is the time to find out who you are becoming, but don’t lose the things that make you who you are.
Learn to forgive and forget. Don’t be afraid to cry. Learn how to learn. Don’t be afraid to miss being innocent. Don’t be afraid to say no. Learning how to say no is one of the most important things in life. Don’t be ashamed of who you are. Hug your parents and make sure they know that you love them. Remember that you only have 4 years left with your family. Yes, friends are important in high school, but so is your family. Don’t forget about them. Be a cool kid, but bring everyone else up to your level. Believe in yourself and everyone around you. Never, ever, ever think you’re stupid. Never let anyone tell you that you are stupid. Never believe the people that say you are stupid. You are brilliant. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t be afraid to hold a grudge, but don’t be too stubborn to resolve it. Love your friends. Love your enemies. Love anyone and everyone you set your eyes on. Fall in love with your eyes closed because that’s the best way to see how truly beautiful someone is. Don’t have your heart broken – have it smashed, have it destroyed. Your heart should look like a shattered mirror at least once in your lifetime. Learn from it. And remember what I said about grudges. Don’t be afraid to sing. Don’t do drugs. Eat a pint of ice cream – twice if you’ve got enough money for it. Don’t be afraid to be bored. But, don’t be afraid and don’t be fearless. BE REAL.
Welcome to the Assumption family; I am so glad that you are here.
All of My Love,
Your Assumption Sister ‘16