An ode to freshman me from senior me

An ode to freshman me from senior me

Mackenzie Shrum

This is an ode to the freshly out of middle school girl that saw high school as a jungle with vegetation covering every corner, a mind game with answers I could never answer, a million piece puzzle with all the same shape pieces, and a battlefield where everyone was given a sword and I was given a butter knife. And this also an ode to the one who has months until she leaves this crazy place who still sees it the same way she did three years ago.

 Freshman and Senior year are severely two different times in your life. When I was a freshman, the halls were unbelievably trafficked with men with beards and women who seemed so much more confident than I was, making friends with new people every second. This was unsettling to me. I was still a kid, I used to be in a school with kids. Now there were men with beards, BEARDS! I thought that was absolutely insane, and now I’m in the same grade as those boys and girls, those men and women I’d see back then. It’s crazy how that all changed so quickly.

Back then, teachers, family, and friends would ask me ‘Where are you going to college?’ I’d always respond with ‘I don’t know’ or a different college each time they’d ask. They would always respond with that’s okay and that I didn’t need to know right now. Well, now they expect me to know. All within a few years my perception of the world changed. I didn’t need to think about what I was doing, where I was going, and how I was going to do it. But now I do. 

Looking back in retrospect, I even knew then I would be dealing with everything I am dealing with now. But I don’t think my freshman self would have anticipated the life we lead. I was absurdly shy and when I wasn’t hiding, I was pretending to be twenty different people so people would like me. I wasn’t the best student, I didn’t study because I doubted I’d do well anyway. I had an insanely low self image and was nervous no one would like me. Now I won’t claim I still feel this way but I will say, man have I grown in the years here. She would be amazed that we frankly don’t care how people see us anymore, mostly because we are leaving soon, but it’s still a phenomenon. A comparison between me and her is dramatically and drastically different in the best way: the way that is a product of growth and maturity. Times have changed since I called my freshman self my own but I know that over time that we would be relieved at our own reflection, knowing we can make it.