What I Wish Someone Had Told Me My Freshman Year

Gabriela Danger, Opinion Editor

Senior Gabriela Danger agrees to her fellow Royal Courier staffer’s suggestion she pose for a photo illustration. The staffer, Danna Chalela, currently the sophomore class president, included this photo in a satire she wrote regarding how much she would miss the senior class. That article appeared in an earlier issue. (Danna Chalela)

Now that I’m graduating, I have much to look back on, and a lot I wish I knew before that would have made my time here so much easier. But I’ll keep it simple for you guys so I don’t bore you in the hopes that I can spare someone reading this the trouble I went through.

I’m going to say it.

I know it’s cheesy, but I don’t care because it’s true.”

— Gaby Danger

The most important thing I wish someone had told me freshman year was just to be myself. I know, I know! Please don’t stop reading and let me explain.

Study all you want. Get straight A’s. But, that WON’T make you fully happy here. Whatever you do, don’t lose sight of yourself to meet the expectations of others. Freshman year me was chronically blue because I felt so much pressure from peers to be someone I wasn’t. I listened to music I straight up didn’t like, I wore jewelry I thought was tacky simply because, “all the other girls were wearing it.” I said things I didn’t believe, and I lied about my interests to seem more “normal” to others. I grew my hair out as a sophomore to look like the other girls because people didn’t like how short my hair was freshman year, and they made sure to tell me as much.

By far the most ridiculous thing I did was make my parents buy me black Nike ankle socks because even though I already had the slightly longer black Nike socks, they weren’t the ones everyone was wearing.”

— Gaby Danger

I made them spend money on socks that I basically already had! By that point I couldn’t believe myself. I had created a weird, warped version of myself. Middle school me would have been ashamed.

The remedy to this is easy. Find people who actually like you, and understand you. There has to be at least one. There are too many students here for it to be zero. Once you find that one, just focus on being yourself. Seriously. It’s really not worth it to make yourself miserable in the name of high school fads. Once junior year and senior year came, I just had an “I don’t care” attitude. People will always talk, and there’s nothing to be done about that. But at least they’re talking about the real you.

Once I found my friends, and I was ok just being me, life got a whole lot easier.

So the only worthwhile piece of advice I can give to you all is to just be yourself. Listen to that song, even if nobody likes that artist. Post incessantly on social media. Wear those shoes even if they are too loud for your outfit. Say that phrase you heard on the internet over and over again until someone tells you to shut up (and then just say it quietly). Be a good friend. Obsess over that piece of media that appeals to you. Who cares? Seriously? At least you won’t be lying to yourself and to others.

Again, I know it’s cheesy, but I hope it helps. That’s the last thing I have to say to you ILS—the most important message I learned, and what I wish somebody had told me freshman year before I made my parents spend $40 on two packs of socks I didn’t need.