By Hannah Kerlan
Photo courtesy of Hannah Kerlan.
“Everything hit me — the never-ending cycle of quizzes and tests and that pile of homework that no matter how hard I work doesn’t seem to get any smaller. When I think about the three years of high school I have left waiting for me, I can’t imagine how much more demanding they could be. It looks like I have a lot to look forward to.”
These are the words I typed twelve months ago in my first Tatler article, entitled “From ahh to eww: the view from a first-time high schooler.”
Last year, I was a “clueless freshman” and believed I was bearing the weight of “what high school was really like.” As Fall Break 2020 has come and gone, I am still that “clueless freshman” at heart, except now they call me a sophomore. With this new title, it is only natural to feel like a new person. Though only one summer separates the “new” me from the “old,” I can’t help but reflect on my freshman self, a cycle of retrospection I seem to fall into every year.
I think we can all agree that freshman year is a weird time. You feel like you’ve made the jump from middle school. You’re old. You’re superior. Only as your sophomore self, though, can you realize that one summer doesn’t account for an entire transformation. You’re still the same person, just with a new title. The fall of my freshman year, I was still the same Hannah, just with a new mentality. And now as a sophomore, I am still the same Hannah, just with a new understanding of my “place” in the hierarchy of high school.
I write as if I have reached the peak. I am fully aware that next year I will glance back at this piece and laugh at its hypocrisy as I do now while looking at my freshman year article. I will likely cringe at the transformation I have recently convinced myself I have completed in the summer of 2020.
In fact, three weeks before my sophomore year, expecting another life-changing transition, I wrote myself a letter addressed, “Future Hannah-- open on the morning of the first day of school sophomore year.” I gave myself life advice such as stress less, be happy more, and live life, once again illustrating the hierarchy adjustment period I seem to experience between each school year every summer. In the closing of my letter, I wrote “Good luck to you! Whatever sophomore year looks like, I’m sure it’s going to be one of the best if you make it that way!”
I made an assumption about my future reality that only time can truly reveal. A quarter into being a sophomore, I can laugh at me as both a middle schooler and a freshman and brace myself for the critiques that next summer’s self declared transformation will bring.
Your clueless freshman now called sophomore,
For & By Students
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