As senior year draws to a close, there have been many moments in which I have wished I could go back in time and give my freshman self a quick word of advice before hand. So, in an effort to pass that advice along to someone, here is what I would tell my freshman self if I could.

Dear Freshman Me,

Right now, as you sit crying on a courtyard bench, know that everything is going to be OK. As cheesy as that is, it is true. Right now you are at a metaphorical “fork-in-road” –the trajectory of your next four years will change drastically, depending on what you chose to do next. Stay seated on that bench, or get up and introduce yourself. Although being the “new girl” is hard, it also lends itself to a unique advantage–no one knows you. No one knows that you wore the weirdest outfits in middle school, or that you had spinal surgery a mere three weeks ago. Take this opportunity to be the best version of yourself, while still being yourself.

Don’t compromise who you are just to simply fit in. High school is weird–people will try things that you don’t want to try, and do things you don’t want to do,and vice versa. In spite of this, remain true to your goals, values and character. Ultimately, that is what will pay off the most.

Do not–seriously do not–procrastinate. If something needs to be done, do it while you are still thinking about it. The momentary bliss of “no homework” is not worth the unnecessary stress you will be under when you try to get something done at the last minute. Also (spoiler alert) teachers can generally tell when you’ve slung something together at two AM, and it’s never pretty.

Also, please please study–I know you may think you already know everything you need to know, but it never hurts to keep practicing. It’s really important to adopt this habit now, before you’re a senior taking pre-calculus (hint: you will eventually be a senior taking pre calculus). Along with studying, start studying early, but stop before it gets too late. Sleep is vital in order to perform well. Without it, you may find yourself falling asleep in the middle of a Comp. Gov movie on Nigeria.

Routines, routines, routines! Establishing a routine that works well for you early on is critical–try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day (and only an hour or so later on weekends). Establishing a routine creates consistency, and your body will be more apt to perform well when it knows what’s going to happen next. Routines beyond sleeping are important too: make sure you are keeping your cortisol (adrenaline) levels in check by working out, and eating the proper foods.

And as much as you love Diet Coke, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. By plenty I mean at a minimum 64 oz, but half your body weight in ounces is ideal. Drinking water keeps you alert and refreshed for the entire school day. Going to seven classes in one day is a lot, and no one wants to burn out during 4th period simply because they are dehydrated.

Anyways, there is still so much more to high school–a lot of which you will learn along the way–but hopefully this helps make it even just a tiny bit easier. You’ve got this.

Senior You