An Open Letter to the Incoming Class of 2022

Sorting out the urban legends


Photo by Alison Mckeough

Senior pens an open letter to freshmen about what to expect out of the next 4 years.

Dear Incoming Freshmen,

For centuries (or however long high school has been a thing), as graduating seniors excitedly anticipate their official release into the “real world”, middle schools teem similarly with the anxious energy of seasoned eighth graders, unsure of what is to await them in the months to come. It’s during this time that students often become stressed, fearing all possible mistakes and hypothetical situations that could hurt their grades or – God forbid – their social status. But whether you see high school as a chance of a new beginning or a source of impending doom, there are a few things you should know before you arrive in September.

  1. The pool on the fourth floor.

There are only three floors, for starters, so, naturally, one can conclude that there isn’t one. Secondly, don’t you think a pool located at the top of a school building would be, like, structurally compromising? Nonetheless, this Patchogue Medford classic has plagued the freshman classes without fail for years. Traditionally, the rumor would be passed down to each incoming class as a rite of passage of sorts. The myth has since been addressed by school staff and faculty but still manages to make appearances in the beginning of the school year.

  1. Freshman Friday

Again, that’s not a thing. Upperclassmen won’t terrorize you because of the year you were born or any other reason for that matter largely because Pat-Med is a strictly anti-bullying zone ( ). On the other hand, it’s not always obvious what grade a person is in. There are freshmen who look like seniors and seniors who look like freshmen and honestly, it’s not worth the trouble to figure it out.

  1. Cliques

The social politics that are often depicted in high school-centered movies and TV shows are cliche and outdated. Sure, you’ll have a group of friends, but the fact is that every group is too diverse to bear a label. The “jocks” are also the “art geeks”, the “nerds” are also the class presidents, and the “class clowns” are also the “theater kids”. People are friends because they enjoy each other’s company – not because their cliques “match”.

In many ways, high school won’t be what you think it will be. “I believed that the seniors were [scary],” said Metabel Assefa, freshman, West Hempstead High School, “but surprisingly, now most of my friends are seniors.” There are never any food fights during lunch and no one throws their miscellaneous papers in the air when the last bell of the last day of classes rings. Conversely, you’ll discover the heated competition of homecoming season, join clubs you never thought you were interested in, and the heart pounding terror of hallway sweeps. There’s so much you’ll never see coming – and that’s the thrill of it all. I think this is where I’m supposed to tell you something along the lines of “high school will be the best years of your life”, but here’s why I won’t: There is so much more to life than high school. There is a reason you leave high school when you’re only 17 or 18 – there’s so many more important and fulfilling things to do afterwards! With so many years to follow graduation, it’d be a shame that your best ones were so early and so few. High school is for growth – so, learn, make mistakes, stumble, and get back up. And remember that it’s only the beginning.


A Graduating Senior