Opinion: Letter to the Class of 2021

Transitioning into high school can be a hard experience. Inside the next four years you will all have to develop and grow as people. It is not easy to accomplish that goal. So, freshman year can be daunting.

My freshman year was particularly terrible. I ended my first semester at Jesuit with a 1.6 GPA. That result obviously brought a lot of stress in my life but also helped me mature. My goal is to help you guys transition into the adults you will soon become without having to trip quite as hard as I did along the way. These tips are meant to help you grow and be happy with what you have become:

Stop lying: Try to not lie for just one month. Do not use your language to purposely deceive anyone or get what you want. Do not tell the teacher the homework you did not do is done. Not only will it help you avoid conflict in the long term, but you will also be more true to who you are.

Create a Schedule: Learn to schedule your time. It will not be easy, and you will likely be bad at it for at least a year. Persist anyway; scheduling is an invaluable skill that will help you academically and in general. Also, do not create a schedule that would act as a tyrant upon you. Schedule the day you would like to have.

Be Accountable: Have your stuff and be on time. It will take time to develop accountability, but it is vital to development as a young man. Establish a system of getting stuff together as best as you can. Avoid being the guy that asks for a pen or pencil every day.

Choose a Sacrifice: You are no longer a kid. In high school, we transition from the small ball of potential that a child is into a more focused adult. Understand this and choose what you will sacrifice in your development to becoming an adult, or it will choose you.

Create a Hell and a Heaven: Imagine yourself in five years, one year, one month or even one day. Consider writing down where you see yourself. How will you end up in that period of time if the best parts of you were in full function the whole time? The consequences of those actions are your heaven. In contrast, where will you end up if the worst sides of your personality function in all that time? This imaginary future is your hell. Ensure that the heaven you establish is one you establish for yourself, and not someone else’s vision. Strive high.

Understand that you will mess up: Make no excuses for yourself, but know that things will go wrong. Your plan will likely be thrown off by a bad grade, getting cut at a tryout, or whatever the case may be. Do not allow the mistake to derail you. Instead, proceed with vigor and do not stress about the thing you messed up on. Take responsibility and move on.

Ask for Help: Jesuit High School is built to help you. Your loved ones, your friends, your counselor, and your teachers all want to help you. Many of them would love to provide any aid to you they can. Do not be afraid to ask for it. Life can be overwhelming, so know when your plate is too full.

Begin with the Don’ts: Begin by avoiding the things you know you shouldn’t do. You all likely have them. Just consistently try to not do them. It will help you greatly. Search for your vices and account for them.

Life is Hard, Toughen up: Grow to be reliable. High school is stressful and life can be hard to handle. Face it head on. Acquire responsibility and move forward knowing that you are tough and can only get tougher. Can you be the rock of your family if you have to be? Learn to face the world and not cower away; It is possible.