Love Letters from Ana: To the High School-Self

When heading off to the hallowed halls of our respective colleges, our high school-self takes a backseat and allows our college-self take over. Suddenly, our identity is split between a newer self and our older self – the one that holds our first love, our first fake ID, our first major lie to our parents, and some extremely awkward moments along the way. You go to college with your college-self who you have full confidence in handling things better than your high school-self did. But there is a point when you begin to realize that you aren’t actually divided in two selves or you’ve learned to compromise both selves into one identity. Your college-self certainly doesn’t handle emotional stress better than you’re high school-self and you’re pretty much the same person since you’ve graduated, hopefully with some growth along the way.

When you go back home for fall break, Thanksgiving break, winter break and so on, have you found yourself amused by the fact that nothing’s really changed since high school? Suddenly the summer vacation between your freshman and sophomore year of college feels just like the summer between your junior and senior year of high school. Your friend Alex is still spewing his political rhetoric; Claire, his ex, is still calling him an anti-feminist; Lilia is still in love with all the Fordham Prep boys; Natalie is still a lesbian; Louis has found himself yet another girlfriend; and Bella is still jet-setting the globe. Knowing this makes you the happiest you can be, because although high school comes with drama and hard knocks, you had people who went through it all with you learn that they are all still there for you in some capacity.

In fact, this is what evolves you college-self’s definition of home. Home becomes this paradise of nostalgia. The type of love that bonded your high school friends has only strengthened with distance and absence. You have an increased appreciation for those who come from the same roots as you and went out into the world unarmed and blind to the idea that no, not everyone is a native New Yorker, Californian, or Floridian. You laugh at the hook-ups at each other’s proms, dinners and house parties that to this day, parents have no idea occurred.

Your high school friends are the people you can go to when you begin to feel lost at college. Chances are they might feel the same way where they are. They are the ones who have your back from miles away and are able to give you a completely unbiased opinion on someone who’s pissing you off at school. Most importantly, they’re the tokened family that you always go home to. During breaks and after graduation, they will always be there. They will be there when you turn 21, when you land your first job, when you get your first place, and so on. The famed parental lesson of “don’t burn your bridges” has never been truer at this point in our lives, because despite the belief that our high school-self has taken the passenger seat, it always takes it’s turn to drive on the road ahead.