Dear Incoming Freshman

To the class of 2024:

Dear incoming freshman,

Welcome to high school. Four years at the Academic Magnet: an experience unlike any other. Don’t get me wrong, your first year can be rough. Navigating through the waves of students, sifting through to find the few who will answer your questions about geometry and eat mountains of sugary treats with you at the freshman carnival. If you’re lucky like me, you will find those people within your first year, but you might not. The faces you observe along the benches of the lunch table on your first day will without a doubt be different than the ones who sit beside you on your last. But, even though your biology lab partner might not be the person eating cake with you on your sixteenth birthday, they will have a greater impact on you than you know. Reach out to the people you wouldn’t normally reach out to. Talk to the person at the desk next to you in world geography and learn their favorite Netflix show. Bond with the people in the locker room over the unattractive PE uniforms and the dreaded laps around the bus loop. Lament with the people around you in english class over the hours of your summer lost reading about yams and Okonkwo. Appreciate the girl who takes calculus her freshman year and the guy who plays almost every sport. They may not become your best friend, but you won’t regret getting to know them. Then, without even realizing it, you will develop a web of solace that will support you through the years – through the time you bomb your first biology test, through the time you stay up all night to write the paper you have been procrastinating, and even through the time you have a fight with your best friend.

At some point in the next few years, you will probably consider giving up, going to another school, and relieving the stress that weighs so heavily on your shoulders that it causes you to have difficulty dragging your body out of bed in the morning. For some, a new school might be the right path. But for those who choose to brave the rest of their time at Magnet, know you are not alone. Although the kid at the front of your geometry class might get straight A’s without studying and the kid in your English class can effortlessly write a seemingly flawless paper on the tragic hero of The Iliad and the kid at the lab table across from you can whip up a lab report with ease, it is more than likely that they have felt the same way as you at some point. Just because you don’t always feel like it doesn’t mean you don’t belong at Magnet. You got in for a reason. You effortlessly received all A’s in middle school and now it takes hours of studying to get a B on a quiz. It might not seem like it, but everyone is in the same boat. I promise, it gets easier. 

Just like you will have the inevitable bad days, you will also have some pretty amazing days. Take pictures with your friends. Dress up in crazy costumes during spirit week. Go to the semi formal dance with your friends. Run for student council. Preform in the talent show. Start a new club. Go on the Keys field trip. These are memories that you will keep with you forever, no matter how cringey. You only have four years, so make ‘em count. You will only regret the things you didn’t do. 


Bailey Hillen

Class of 2020