A letter to eighth grade self: high school proves to be time of identity formation

Gwyn Skiles, co-editor-in-chief

Dear Gwyn,

Right now, you’re frantically trying to find a graduation dress that passes your knees and has straps thicker than three fingers to satisfy Attea’s dress code. You’re walking across South’s stage to receive your 8th grade diploma, determined to dance,sing, and act on that same stage many more times. You’re walking the halls of South feeling small and out of place, scared and intimidated. 

Well guess what. In high school, you won’t have a dress code. The second day of school, you’ll audition and make your first of many shows performed on South’s stage. And after many years, those big hallways will feel small and sometimes even crammed.

You know those high school teachers you’re afraid of? Yeah, they aren’t so bad. In fact, you’ll get to know several that will help form your identity.

Two drama teachers that believed in you from the very beginning, a choir teacher that brightens your darkest days with terrible dad jokes, a chemistry teacher that cares not only about your grade but your well-being, an eastern religions teacher that inspires the power of empathy in you, a physics teacher that helps you see beyond the classroom, a math teacher that nurtures the leader in you, a PE teacher who tells you “you can” when you feel like you can’t and a journalism teacher who you jokingly call your “cool uncle” but by every definition meets the qualifications for family.

The friend group you have that every upperclassmen warns will change, indeed will change. But those friends you’ve hung onto and those friends you’ve met along the way will form your happiest memories.

The seniors who led you during the thrilling firsts of high school; the hooligans that rolled down the auditorium hallways with you at 10 p.m. on Thursday nights; a staff that can joke around in addition to writing impactful editorials; the girls that are always down for productive games of Psych followed by the loudest sing-alongs anyone has ever heard; the boy that will finally ask you out and venture through the majority of high school at your side; the girl whom you get the pleasure of calling your best friend who through thick and thin will be there with her camera, goldfish and TV recommendations.

High school will challenge you and will sometimes feel too stressful to handle. But after thousands of nights setting your textbook down at 1 a.m., two traumatic surgeries and a senior year cut short, the stress will blossom into resilience.

You will find many passions. Sure, theater is great: it will always be a part of you and will always be your strongest sanctuary for joy. But when you have a scheduling conflict and enroll in the Intro to Journalism class, you will fall in love with the stories awaiting your fingertips to curiously type out.

And after all of this is done – you leave your teachers’ classrooms for good, watch your friends take the next step in their journey, wipe your chromebook and submit your last issue of the paper – you will feel full.

As you type this letter you’ll cry happy tears, proud of who you’ve become and thankful for the guidance high school gave you.

Excited yet?

Signing out,

Boom Boom, Gween Bean, Ms. C, Burt, Goopie and Chief Snap