These next 2 paragraphs are to my past self but this can also apply to anyone reading who may believe that academic validation is all you need. You may feel as though you have many friends, but soon you’ll realize you don’t. You’ll realize they’re acquaintances, and not friends. This doesn’t mean to put your academics and priorities aside. What I mean is to let yourself relax. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and loved. I can assure you that if you let yourself take even just a bit of leisure time nothing will happen. Taking the time to relax won’t make you any less of a student. Go out and socialize. Talk to people and make new friends. Academic achievement will get you far in life but it’s not everything. Social life is just as important to your mental health. It will allow you to have multiple people to reach out to when you are going through a tough time.
Don’t feel restrained by the expectations of others but most importantly YOUR expectations for yourself. One of the biggest mistakes I made was letting the expectations of others shape my future. I allowed the burdens of their own lifes mistakes and missed opportunities to shape me into an ideal person for that person’s life. All of this stress made me feel burnt out. Until I was finally able to break free and this allowed me to express myself through following MY dreams. Remember that the expectations are just limitations on your true potential. The expectations imposed by others around you and yourself will only hold you down from the authentic you. In the future you’ll feel much better knowing that you have been able to do what you want. I want to emphasize that this isn’t an excuse to stop caring about school, but it’s more of an opportunity for you to be authentically you. I encourage you to pursue your passions and social life. You may feel as though you have to sacrifice this in order to achieve what you want, but in life balance is key. One day you might find that because you were so hard on yourself you now only have one true friend. You’ll find that both of you will most likely drift apart in the next chapter of your life. This may not be the case,and that’s okay, but regardless it is a chance for you to make new friends and let yourself be you.
One thing that I would not only like to let future Sam know, but some advice to you is how I currently view the world. Remember that everything is an opportunity. How you can flip anything negative in your way into a positive. Remember that everything happens for a reason. There will always be new beginnings in life. A big move is just an opportunity to make new friends. Covid shutdown was a chance at self improvement. Three years of advanced summer school was just another over achieving opportunity. Seeing someone hurt was a chance to put a smile on their face. I hope that anyone who is reading this is able to find a close group of friends and family whom you can rely on. If not this is just another opportunity to meet some of the eight billion people in this world. I want you to remember that if you continue to rely on the world’s validation and attempt to fulfill everyone’s expectations of you, you’ll never go for what your passion is and then you’ll have what everyone else wants but not what you want. So To:You, To:Me, and From:Me, live your life not the life others want for you.
Samuel Morales – Northfield Mount Hermon School – DMSF Class of 2027