From You to Me - Cynthia Wang
Dear freshman me:
Believe it or not, I am two weeks away from graduating high school, and I can confidently say that I have become the “ideal figure” that you’ve hoped to be four years later; I’m an adult, I can handle anything with perfect poise and organizational skills, I’m always motivated to stay on track, I find human interactions easy, and I have a crystal clear plan for my future.
Before you get all excited, I’m sorry to inform you that none of that is true; well, at least not the “future” part; you have no idea how uncertain I am with my future, but that’s another story. I really want to tell you that all your visions for yourself have come to fruition, and that I am a “totally different” person than you four years ago. But to be honest, I really don’t think I’m much different from you; I still make stupid mistakes, panic over a long to-do list, and have trouble choosing where to go for food.
So, you may ask, “Senior Cynthia, what on earth have you learned in four years, if anything?” Without sounding narcissistic, I learned the most about myself, or you, in this case. Therefore, instead of giving you advice, I write this letter to be at peace with you, and to show my gratitude for all that you’ve done. Trust me, none of your doings go to waste.
Freshman year was certainly tough and left a mark on my memory: your struggles of connecting with people, fear of being vulnerable, and an overall disapproval of your own personality, which you pretty much abhorred for being too “introverted.” In contrast to culture shock, the conflict within yourself is much stronger.
It must be difficult for you at this point, but fear not, the light is visible at the end of the tunnel. Do not stop trying and experiencing life, all the spice of it, and keep digging at the questions “Who am I?” and “What do I truly believe in?” You will soon meet people who guide you in the process of discovering yourself, and be trusted with responsibilities which give you resilience and strength of character.
Love yourself as you’d love others, and vice versa, you wouldn’t make it anywhere without these two. You know, looking back, I always get astonished by how many risks you took and how many uncomfortable situations you put yourself through, just because you thought you needed the experience; and all of these became stairs that led you to me, and which I will continue doing to lead myself to the height of another four years, with similar courage and determination.
If I have any message, I suggest you let your true self out, learn to live it with, understand it, and find the beauty in it; I’m still learning to do that right now. It’s so much more fun to make discoveries within yourself, than to clumsily try to create a “new personality” and cling to a facade that isn’t yours. And most importantly, savor life as it is, no matter if it’s ups or downs, they ultimately become part of your experience and part of you.
In a way, I am as lost as you are right now, I’m about to start a new chapter in my life, and to say goodbye to all that I’m familiar with, stepping into a realm unknown. But I hope that both of us will struggle forward, boats against the current, ceaselessly into the future.