Choose To Be The Better You!

Dear Carlitos,

I’m sure you’re having the time of your life right now, and your most significant worry is probably whether or not F.C. Barcelona has won their Sunday fixture and how close the weekend is to go play some soccer yourself. Of course, I don’t have the intention to worry you or stress you out with this letter communicating myself to you, instead, I want to give you the most beneficial advice you’ll be able to receive with the intention to support you, avoid the stressful moments which awaited me. Discouraging moments which I want you to never go through. So I insist that you take my recommendations to prevent you from regretting your decisions or getting yourself into conflicts you could easily direct yourself away from. 

At the onset, I would like to provide you with advice regarding your education and how you administer yourself academically. Academics will bring you very far in your life and your educational level will always be advanced if you continue to work persistently with determination to make your parents and others proud. Though I want to caution you that you need to give yourself pride and admiration too for your work. Don’t make the same mistake I had done for years and constantly work towards the approval of others in your community even if it’s your family. Don’t work yourself out in school to impress others or try to get validation from others, I recommend you to solely work hard for yourself. Moreover,  keep the same work ethic you currently have and never change it, even in the most mentally and physically challenging moments you will have. If you begin to gradually give up motivation and start to procrastinate, the school will get much more difficult than it should be. For instance, one of my experiences in 8th grade, which was the year where I’d begin to heavily procrastinate on my work, specifically as the year began to end. One significant moment I’ll never forget was how I procrastinated working on a note-catcher for the book we were currently reading in literature class: “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Every week we would have to fill out notes and an analysis of about five to seven chapters from the book. I always did this last-minute during the week which resulted in conflict between myself emotionally and even with my family and friends. I would be overworked and stressed out because of how I had to complete a week’s worth of work and would stay up to 12:00 A.M. doing this work, which resulted in angered responses from your parents because of the fact that they wanted you to go to sleep at a reasonable time. Additionally, many of your friends began to get irritated at you for promising them to spend time with them, but you eventually canceled because of the fact you had large amounts of work to complete on the note-catcher. During this moment of procrastination, I felt as if I wasn’t going to ever get out of the loop of doing school work, I was feeling drained out of all my energy. I can definitely assure you that you too will feel desperate for the homework to stop piling up and similarly to me, you’ll feel large waves of anxiety rushing over you, which will make your breathing more rapid and your head will begin to be filled with an overwhelming amount of thoughts as a result of having to do so much work in such a scarce amount of time. I regret the trait of procrastination I had picked up, it wasn’t healthy for me and made the school week a burden when I could’ve avoided all the stress by simply managing time to do my work. Learn to manage your work and time with your soccer practices and games because this will help you avoid the devastating moments I went through, remember that even if you are nearing the end of the school year, it’s not a sign to procrastinate or stop putting effort into your work.

I’m aware that for your whole life, your mom has informed you to always be respectful to others and treat them with the same respect you’d want to be treated with, even if they’re individuals you aren’t familiar with. Even though you might currently think that she’s over exaggerating make sure to listen to her words, your mother will always be at your aid when you need it and you’ll come to see that she’s your true best friend.  A memory that you will eventually go through will come during the application process for Notre Dame. During an afternoon, your mother had told you that the amount of money we were to pay the school every month wouldn’t be a reasonable or capable amount for your family to pay because of a struggling financial situation. There was only one last option we could resort to, which would be to directly communicate with Notre Dame and request additional financial aid. Since your mom wouldn’t be able to speak English though, you’d be the one to communicate with the staff. You dial in the number for Notre Dame’s financial office and it’d be then when you’d think back about what your mom had told you before, to maintain a confident and professional tone while speaking and being as polite as possible. You would then have to tell the staff why you requested more financial aid and attempted to have a professional conversation while translating for your mom’s inquiries. The person on the phone says that Notre Dame will reach back out to you and inform you about the financial aid. Two days pass and you receive the best news you could possibly hear. Notre Dame had accepted the request to assist your family financially! I can recall that the director of business and enrollment had praised me for my respect, politeness, and confidence when speaking with him on the phone. I will tell you that I felt grateful and a burst of confidence rush through my emotions. I was confident that I had been a factor in helping my family afford my attendance at Notre Dame, though I was grateful that my mom had helped me make a positive first impression by the advice she always supported me with. It was at this pivotal moment when I realized and learned that you should always be respectful and speak with politeness to others. It’s a simple manner in which to communicate with others yet it could bring to you amazing opportunities as I had learned with the financial aid Notre Dame offered. This moment will also teach you that your mother is accurate with the advice she gives you, she wants nothing but success and positivity for you! 

The upcoming year of 2020, will be a year where you and the whole world would encounter a horrible situation. As the world enters quarantine from the coronavirus pandemic, schools, sports teams, gyms, parks, restaurants, and many other social establishments begin to shut themselves down, and life as you’d know it will change drastically. During the quarantine, I advise you to avoid being upset about not being able to do the activities you regularly do, instead, take your time and find yourself for who you truly are, spend time with family, and most importantly, focus on yourself physically and emotionally. You should definitely start to exercise as soon as you can because you’ll be amazed by the results it brings to your physique and your emotional state. You’ll feel happy about who you are and the most important thing is to be yourself, spend time on your Xbox and talk with friends after workouts and play board games with your family. Don’t regret not having enough time to do these things all because you’re anxious and worried about the pandemic, as long as you and your family maintain quarantine and follow the health guidelines, everything will be perfectly fine. Furthermore, your 8th-grade school year won’t come to an end just because of quarantine, you’ll have to experience your whole 8th-grade year through your laptop and going in and out of google meets. Don’t be nervous though, as long as you continue to choose the direction of giving your best effort to continue growing in school academically you’ll for sure excel and have an astounding year. I’m also aware that high school is coming up and again, you’ll have the support of your teachers and parents right by your side at every moment! Right now, you may think that Lane Tech would be your best high school option but be more open-minded and realize that multiple doors of opportunities will be available for you in CPS, think about applying for Walter Payton for your first choice, it’s an amazing high school, one of the best in the country! Even though I applied for Jones high school as my first choice, it’s still an outstanding school and I wouldn’t find it a regretful decision. Though, if you choose the direction I choose too, Notre Dame College Prep will catch your interest much more than the rest of the high schools I’ve mentioned. Although you’re skeptical of even having enough money to pay for tuition at the college prep, apply for the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, and naturally answer the essay questions in the most professional manner you can. Always believe you can achieve whatever you put your mind to with hard work and you’ll eventually find yourself getting a scholarship not only from DMSF but also receiving an additional one from Notre Dame for extraordinary scores in the catholic high school exam!

If you feel overwhelmed or nervous currently by the large amounts of work I’m explaining you should give, I can reassure you that it’s going to be perfectly fine! There will be steps to get to where you will be, it’s only a matter of smart decisions and communication, I’m sure that if I could do it you definitely can! Don’t be nervous, feel inspired and motivated to push ahead and provide the best of yourself during the high school process and in the general 8th-grade year.

I can conclude this letter by assuring you that I’m proud and aspiring to what I’ve accomplished so far both in school and with my own personal development about finding who I am and how I could deal with challenges I encounter. I’m a persevering, honest, and confident young man now as I’ve grown during the 8th-grade year, now an incoming freshman for Notre Dame. I desire to continue my persevering trait into high school and give all my effort in every class and doing my most excellent work possible. I’m more than sure you’ll be proud of what you will accomplish, your family will always be by your side and never be afraid to question your parents for help, I promise you they’ll answer you with the best advice possible. Be yourself, it’s the best person you could ever be, and don’t let anyone or anything direct you away from striving for success. You can and will get through every challenge you encounter. “The hard part isn’t getting to success, it’s finding the motivation to strive towards your success that’s difficult”.

Best regards, 

Your future self, Carlos Gutierrez

Carlos Gutierrez – Notre Dame College Prep – DMSF

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash