Countdown to College: Writing letters

High school has been a rollercoaster. 

At the start of freshman year, I came to Hebron not knowing what to expect whatsoever. I had no one to educate me on what the next four years of my life were going to look like academically or socially, so I had a rough start. 

Academically, I struggled a lot. The work ethic I had in middle school was not strong enough to withstand high school, and my grades started to drop. I tried to work my hardest, but it was mentally exhausting so I stopped trying toward the end of freshman year. At the time, I had true friends who picked me up and have become my best friends today.

In terms of other friendships, I had a lot of meaningful relationships break up since high school started. I am eternally grateful for those troubled friendships for teaching me valuable lessons that I had no idea I needed. Although there are some that I do not wish to rekindle, I am thankful for those people who contributed to the formation of what my identity is today. 

For this blog, I decided to check off an item I put on my list for the summer before senior year, which was to write thank you letters to all the people who have been a part of my high school journey. Here’s how it went: 

Senior year has obviously been hectic. With a stack of college applications along with my school work, it’s hard to find any leisure time. Being a heavy procrastinator makes it much worse. Getting around to writing these letters was a challenge. I caught myself staying up until one in the morning doing homework, and I would look at the pile of envelopes and printer paper and tell myself to do it tomorrow. 

Unfortunately, I got sick during this process, so when I finally decided to write the letters, I had no idea where to start. Who do I write to? Most importantly, what do I say? I decided to make a list of all the people I could think of. There were obviously so many people apart from my list, but it would take years to write a handwritten letter to all these people. I shortened the list down to the 37 former friends, current friends, family and teachers who impacted my life the most throughout these four years. 

Writing these letters was immensely therapeutic, but hard. Therapeutic because I was expressing all my feelings on this piece of paper, but hard because I didn’t know how to show my gratitude in a kinder way. In my first drafts, I started writing about what went wrong in the friendship, but that’s not what I intended to accomplish when writing these letters. The whole idea was to thank these troubled friendships for the lessons they taught me, and I was listing events that I assume both sides of the friendship wished to never reminisce about. 

After a couple drafts, I gave up. The last thing I wanted was to offend any of these people. I wanted to end these four years on a good note, and I didn’t want my words to prevent that from happening. Some were fairly easy. There was so much I had to say to those who had helped me through all the rough times when freshman year was difficult to navigate, especially with no one to guide me. 

I eventually started over when I was in a more positive attitude, which I believed to be a more effective way to write the letters. When I was done, I was satisfied. People were going to know they made a difference. In whatever circumstance they are in, I hope that my words make an impact on them, like theirs did for me.

Learn Portuguese

Write letters