Dear Mercy freshwomen,
By now you have survived your first week of freshman year! You have broken in your brand new (and very stiff) uniform shirts and kilts, gotten shushed in the Media Center by Mrs. Corte, finally navigated the color-coded maze of the halls of Mercy High School, and have probably already gained the freshman 15.
High school will give you countless opportunities, trials, struggles, joys, ups, downs, and many memories. This is my fourth year at Mercy, and during my time here I have learned several tips that I would like to share with you to help you live these next four years to the fullest.
1. Grades aren’t everything
Yes, by now you have realized that Mercy is hard. This isn’t called a college preparatory school for nothing! When I began freshman year, my grades were nowhere near where I expected them to be. It’s difficult transitioning from being a straight-A student in middle school to not getting the grades you want in high school, but it is manageable to succeed. Study, work hard, use your resources, and don’t obsess over PowerSchool because grades AREN’T everything. Let me repeat that. . . Grades are NOT everything. Set reasonable goals for yourself and take things one step at a time, and I promise that you will get into college. If you aren’t meeting your goals don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your teachers, friends, and other students want you to succeed and are always here to help you.
2. Boys aren’t everything either
Whether you have already had a boyfriend, you’re talking to that cute boy from the Catholic Central ice breaker, or maybe you still get culture shocked whenever you see a guy . . . regardless, don’t get too focused on those smelly meatheads. When you are having boy problems (because you will), your Mercy sisters will be here for you. Make sure to have girl time, stay true to yourself and your values, and don’t change for a boy. Look forward to dances like homecoming, A-Ball, and prom, and don’t feel pressured to take a date because you can have just as much fun — if not more — with a group of gals. Ladies, don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t deserve you!
3. Take risks
Each year I accumulate a mental list of regrets I’ve collected over the past two semesters. “Wow, I really regret not playing field hockey,” “I wish I would have done the musical a year earlier,” “I regret going on a date with that boy.” (You get the point). My wish for you is that when you look back on each year, you won’t have any regrets because you would have put yourself out there and taken chances. After I regretted auditioning for the U of D musical my freshman year, I auditioned sophomore year and it became a major part of my life. You will be given an abundance of opportunities so make things happen, take risks, and step outside of your comfort zone, because I promise it will be worth it.
4. Friends take time
As a freshman, I became instant friends with a big group of girls that I met at the beginning of the year. We went to football games and had sleepovers, but I didn’t have many classes with them so we drifted apart. Sophomore year I had another really big group of friends who were nice, but who I didn’t feel connected with. Junior year my friend group shrunk to a little clan of my closest friends. I learned that I am the type of person who is better at having a few super close friends, rather than being in a giant friend group and not being as tight. Senior year rolled around and I can honestly say that I have found my group. It took me three years, but I am so lucky to be a part of such an amazing group of girls. As you grow, you will learn what type of friend you are. Friend drama does happen in high school, especially at an all girls’ school, but if you surround yourself with people you feel comfortable with, you will find your group and you will be happy.
5. You WILL find your place
Freshman year I joined EVERYTHING. (Literally everything). I wanted to be involved with the school and I was scared that I wouldn’t find my place if I didn’t join as many things as possible, so I made sure to give every club a try. Junior year I found out that Link Crew, U of D theater, and Newsprint were for me. It took me two years, but I found my place. Everyone is accepted here at Mercy, and everyone has a special place here. Join clubs, get involved, and do things you love because you will meet people who have similar interests as you.
6. Have fun!
Mercy girls may not sing all day and have dance breaks in the hallway like they do in High School Musical, but we do have many fun events. Go all out during spirit week, support the sports teams and drama department, participate in the talent show or at Ethnic Bazaar, stuff your face with Chef Mike’s delicious creations, go on the retreats we have to offer, and make sure to take a break from studying to have fun because you only get to experience high school once.
7. Live every moment to the fullest and make memories that you will cherish forever
I wish you the best of luck in high school, and know that you are a woman who will make a difference. Remember that things take time and there are people at Mercy who want to help you succeed. Make your mark on this school and cherish every moment, because, before you know it, you will be a senior like me wishing for another year.
Love from your Mercy sister,