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Dear Freshman Hayden

By: Hayden Fishbein

Right now, you are sitting in bed after a long day of socially distancing with your friends, and you’re realizing how much things have changed over the past four years. Friendships change, relationships change, and perspective changes. School is over, and all the hard work is finally paying off. While looking back on it all, I would’ve done many things differently throughout high school. 

First off, spend more time with your family. You never know how quickly things can change. Never ignore your grandparent’s phone calls. Stop giving your mom an attitude and taking your mood out on her. She works hard for your family and loves you so much. All she wants for you is to see you succeed and become the most amazing version of yourself. When she asks to go for a drive, go. When she asks how my friends are, tell her. If she’s curious about your dating life, acknowledge that she cares and fill her curiosity void. Spend time with Grandpa Richard; before you know it, he’ll be gone, and your world will be shaken completely. Text your sister and brother, no matter how busy they may be. Make time for people other than yourself because, one day, all you’ll have is you, and you will miss the codependency.

Second, respect yourself and believe that you are amazing. Many times you will notice how you let other people affect your mood and you let people judge you. Who cares? Let them judge you for being yourself; they’re just jealous. Stop letting stupid immature boys put you down for not being good enough because you are good enough! As much as you may want a relationship, make sure you always remember to put yourself first. Don’t give more love than you are receiving. Relationships are hard work, and you need to make sure you can put in the effort before committing to something like that. Never forget that you will always have your friends and your family to keep you afloat when you’re feeling down. Everything happens for a reason. You’re better than half the boys you deal with, and you’re strong. You will have your heart broken, but it will heal over time, and in the future, you’ll find someone who is perfect for you, and you’ll live the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Lastly, it’s the little things that make life big. You will encounter thousands of times with your friends where everyone is hysterically laughing until they can’t breathe. Those are the times you’ll remember. You’ll get your license and plenty of freedom along with it. You will spend many nights in your parked car with your friends having deep conversations about the future. Don’t zone out or be on your phone – be present. Live in the moment and do spontaneous things. Your senior year will be taken from you, and you won’t even see it coming. One day you will be walking the halls, and the next you’re stuck home, quarantined and missing out on things you’ve been waiting for all of high school to do. It won’t be how you expect it to be, but you make it work. You’ll meet up with your friends and share the same laughs you always do. It definitely won’t be the same, but you have to make the best of the worst situation. You will get through it; it may seem like you can’t at the time, but you will.

You will miss everything about Hills East. You would do anything to wake up on a Monday morning at 6:15 just to be able to walk those halls and be a normal student again. But now, you’re almost a graduate. After years and years of stress, tears, and anxiety, you did it! Congratulations! Now, you’re onto bigger. You will be leaving it all behind in just a few short months as you fly to Gainesville and your life changes. Please keep in contact with your friends and family. Don’t let school work overwhelm you. You’re a Gator now, but you’ll be Thunderbird forever.