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An Open Letter to My High School Classmates

Dear High School Classmates,

As each day passes, another addition to our differences is tallied. High school was long enough ago that it’s irrelevant to our lives now, and we’ve all changed so much in such a short period of time. We’ve all grown and developed a new part of ourselves that didn’t occupy those worn desks and cramped hallways years ago. But no matter how far apart we drift or how different our lives become, there’s always one thing that seems to never change.

After years of our lives intertwining each and every day, we’re now taking new steps towards our separate lives. Some of us went to college, some of us went to work, and some of us are still figuring it out. We’re all seeking brand new goals and different aspirations.

And yet you still ask me how the parties are.

We no longer park our cars in succession. We no longer walk the hallways together. We no longer complain about the same homework, laugh about the same jokes, or favor the same teachers. We have new struggles and new jokes and new memories waiting to be shared.

And yet you still ask me how the parties are.

In a time when we are so independent and free, we can decide who we want to be. We can surround ourselves with who we want in our lives, who agree with our thoughts and push us to be better than we were yesterday. The liberation we have to become our own, unstructured selves has never been more present.

And yet you still ask me how the parties are.

This is not a jab at partying or drinking or any activity that I don’t agree with, and this is not a passive-aggressive blow at normative college culture. This is a challenge, a challenge to you that the next time we come together, you ask about me. I am not who I was back then, and I will never be that person again. We have the unique opportunity to experience separate togetherness, where we stay connected through our pasts but move apart in the present. But why do we keep ignoring our differences the more and more different we become?

Each day out of high school, I am shaped. I am molded and sculpted into a new person every morning I wake up. I’d been itching to get this chance to explore me and to find out who want to be, and now I can. I am no longer confined by our town and high school pushing me into a box, keeping me there to wait for a diploma-shaped key. But that’s not what matters to you. You don’t ask about my goals or my likes or my dislikes. You don’t bother with my aspirations or my thoughts. Half the time you don’t even ask about my major. I’m a new person now, we all are.  Each day out of high school, you are shaped, too.

And yet you still ask me how the parties are.

The bubble of high school has burst and blown us in various directions, forcing us to prosper on our own! And even better, we’ve had time to adjust. We’ve had time to get into a rhythm and routine that works for us. I’m not the girl I was years ago, and I know you are not the same people you were either. We’ve never been more out of sync at this exact moment, so we will never be the people we are again at this exact moment. Why wouldn’t you want to get to know me? I want to get to know you.

So the next time you see me, don’t ask me how the parties are. Don’t compare me to other classmates that go to my school. Don’t make me feel like, because I don’t do what you do, I have less value. The parties will stay the same, but I know I won’t.

If you see me, ask me what I think. Ask me what I want. Ask me who I am. I promise you those answers will change, and they will change faster than any picture of my life ever could. So if you really want to keep up, all you have to do is get to know me. In return, I’d love to get to re-know you too. 

Images courtesy of: Cynthia O’Connor and Scholarship Points

Cyndi is currently a sophomore at the University of Michigan where she is studying Communications and Spanish. She loves traveling, laughing, and most importantly, eating ice cream. Holidays are her favorite time of year (literally every holiday) and she's an animal lover. If she had it her way, she'd be out traveling the world, but for now she works and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, where she answers phone calls and tries to brighten people's days.
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