Dear Incoming Freshmen

Dear Incoming Freshmen:

   So you're excited. Your first year of high school is about to begin. Feelings of excitement as well as anxiety are overcoming your thoughts. A new stage of life is on its way, a period of new opportunities, friends, classmates, and memories that will be remembered for a lifetime. This is a time of renewal, of identity; the days of your 'high school self' will begin shortly.

As I approach my last year of high school, I've learned a lot over the past several years:

1. Your identity is not defined by what others think or say. Regardless of what people think, you are YOU. You are created by the hands of an Almighty God. Don't let the words of others or the labels that others place on you define who you are or what you can do. There is no one like you, so embrace yourself. Smile at the little things that would normally lower your self esteem and remind yourself that you have been created by a God who is holier than holy (no one can raise the bar of perfection above Him!). He knows what He is doing and that certainly didn't change when He created you.

2. From the first day of high school to the last day of senior year, work hard and make wise choices. This is a mistake that many students make and one that I have been blessed enough to learn from the start. Study hard and don't give up. There will be lots of assignments and exams in your future, but high school is about education more than anything else. Do what you have been called to do in high school, and work at it with all of your being. Set your goals high, and I have no doubt that you'll reach the stars. If you wish, do as many college classes as you can while they are free and easily accessible. Dual Enrollment is my top recommendation and it will save you a ton of money and time by doing so. Reach the finish line at the end of senior year, assured that you gave it your all and that you said no to any decision that could ruin your future.

3. Get involved and pursue your passions. Whatever makes your heart skip a beat, give it to God and then chase it. God has placed the passions on your heart and He does not do anything without a purpose. If you like music, join band or chorus. If you love sports, join a sports team. If you aspire to be a future nurse, join HOSA or any of the other various clubs your school has to offer. No matter what you enjoy, pursue your God-given passions and get involved. I began volunteering at the animal shelter my sophomore year and have enjoyed it wholeheartedly since. Do what you love; God will move throughout the years and you'll be able to look back on memories of fun times and amazing opportunities.

4. Be the change. Be the friend to the ones without a friend; be the one who smiles to the ignored or helpless. Your ego, your popularity, and your clothes and fashion will all fade away. But kindness goes a long way. Love others, and that is what will make the biggest difference.

4. Most of all, remember that God is with you in every step you take this year. If you follow Him, and allow Him to take the lead in everything you do, true success will come. Believe me. My faith and trust in Him has grown and I have learned the power of prayer and His faithfulness in every situation. I would never have gotten the grades nor help in the difficult times if it weren't for the Lord's faithfulness in every situation. Just trust Him.

Freshmen, things are about to change. Don't fill yourself with anxious thoughts. Big plans are underway; your high school years are about to be great!

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