“Dear COVID” is this year’s senior column series in which Hook seniors share their reflections on high school and the pandemic in the form of letters to the virus itself.
I know that I am supposed to give a life lesson and say that I have figured it all out. But the truth is, I have not necessarily figured out what I should do, only what I should not. I started high school as a repressed, closeted nerd who had panic attacks when she got below an A. I am finishing it as a more authentic, joyful version of myself, but a burnt out straight C student who struggles not to be bitter that she lost years of her life to the most toxic parts of academia. With that in mind, here’s some advice to consider as you grow and mature: is a short letter to the proud, struggling child I used to be.
Do not stay involved in what you do not love. If it isn’t for you, there is no shame in quitting.
Do not attach your self worth, or anyone else’s, to numbers. If the thing you are proudest of is your ACT score you are living your life wrong. Don’t waste your four years being the sort of person who wanders around asking other people their class rank. You deserve better. So do your friends.
Do not always be the leader. You do not need to be in charge, and in my case at least, assuming so will cause you anxiety.
Do not be scared to call out your teachers. Your white English teacher should not be saying racial slurs. Your male STEM teacher should not try to tell his students there is no gender wage gap in engineering. Your earth science teacher should probably believe in climate change.
Do not assume you are an inconvenience for needing help. Not from friends, not from teachers, not from the librarian. Go to therapy if you can.
Do not pride yourself on running yourself into the ground. Three hours of sleep, one meal and four coffees, that stuff does not show that you take yourself seriously. It shows that you do not love yourself, you only love your accomplishments.
Do not assume you are alone. People can relate. You absolutely are like other girls, and that is wonderful.
Do not assume you know yourself. In a lot of ways, you are just now meeting yourself, and you are going to change. It is okay to shift labels, and hobbies, and whatever else. You are not set in stone.
Do not be so intense that when your psych teacher goes over the traits of a type A personality people stare at you. Yikes.
Do not want to be on top more than you want to even the playing field. Class rank does not matter. Setting the test curve does not matter. There is always someone better, and that does not matter.