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Letter to Myself From Eighth Grade

Throughout the course of the summer, I finally wrote back to a fourth-grade teacher who sent a card to me after my high school graduation. I never got a chance to respond until a year later. During my time at home, I had more time on my hands than ever. After reflecting, I felt that it was time to really go back in time and enjoy memory lane.

Dear me in eighth grade,

I vaguely remember writing this letter back in eighth grade. The smell of Crayola tempera paint brings me back to the middle school art classroom. When I look at the letter, I see a two-sided piece of paper with words written purposely in a small size. This is my own handwriting, and I measured each word to be on average three to four millimeters long. I remember how fast my heart was beating when my art teacher reviewed my letter in the envelope, but that means I get to react to it now.

A few lines into the letter, I already felt bad. This is the question: “how are your grades?” Middle school is a transition to a more independent learning lifestyle. You start your teenage years at that point, and there is so much to figure out. It is bizarre to see how people start obsessing over grades at that point. I feel bad knowing all the stress and anxiety that kind of question reminds me of because it took so much energy to fight back. Believe me when I say that grades do not determine how intelligent you are.

The following question asked if I am still friends with certain people. My response is that you will never know what happens. I believe that I asked these questions knowing that life is unpredictable. However, life definitely taught me lessons that I constantly learned from. Because of that, I found the amazing friends I have today.

I find it interesting when people, especially writers, tell me that there is nothing interesting about them. It is ironic as I say the same things. We all have different things that set us apart, and I can see what makes me unique. Some stories have me feeling bashful, but all these stories from my experiences at camp to a trip to Six Flags’ Hurricane Harbor made me realize that I did do something with my life. I made each moment fun somehow.

While reading this letter, I can see where my priorities were while writing it. There is a part where I told myself to apologize to someone for something trivial that happened in seventh grade. I definitely apologized during graduation, so that is one less thing to prolong. In the end, I told myself that I would write another letter if I had more to say. I did, and it is lost somewhere in the abyss of the world. This experience really made me think about funny instances of my past. My gut feelings tell me that I was not trying to make my present self laugh, but I wish that was the truth. Underlying all these silly stories, I was telling myself that these memories are worth it. The past is not as bad of a time as I remember it to be, and I am starting to believe it.

Part of me was surprised that the contents of this letter made it to me four years later during my graduation. And there is a relief that it was back for me. There is too much to address in this letter, but I really appreciate its existence. Before opening the letter, I knew it would be hard to look back at the past without cringing on all the little things I did. In all fairness, I was growing up, and when you grow up, you will make mistakes. You will do the things that you wish never happened, but at least, you know better this time. Simultaneously, you will look back and think about the times that you could have done something but didn’t because of last-minute reservations. Well, it will always happen, so my advice is to just keep going.

As I am writing back to my eighth-grade self, my mom starts reminiscing about the past. She reminds me that I am now in my second year of college. Time does pass by so quickly, and I hope that I can always treasure sweet moments in my life even without a letter.

Sincerely,

Me from this moment of time

Jena Lui

Susqu '23

To go on an adventure means to set off into a new environment and to take it all in, keeping what is important to you.
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