My memory of freshman year is speckled with images of my sister, who was in her senior year. She was an oddball- while I chose to dress nice every day, she chose Crocs and sweatpants over jeans and boots. Along with this, she dressed in painfully mismatched outfits- neon color radiated off her body like she came straight out of the 80’s. I complained to my Mom constantly about her lacking sense of fashion. How can I go out in public with her when she looks like she dressed herself with her eyes closed? Why doesn’t she put any effort into looking nice? Does she not care? Not only this, but she was also in a constant state of slumber. Everything was prefaced and followed by a nap. “Mom, can you wake me up at 4:15?” was a staple phrase in her vocabulary, and the sound of her phone alarm ringing and being snoozed played like a soundtrack to her life. I would sometimes wonder how she was always so tired, but my family chalked it up to just being a “Gwen thing,” constant napping was just one of her quirks, along with her fashion sense.
When I had finally dragged myself out of bed at 3:45 Tuesday afternoon on the tail end of a post-school crash nap, I understood. I understood Gwen, I understood the constant naps, I understood why she opted for comfort over fashion. I threw my hair up into a snarled knot, ignoring the bobby pins on my table that could have helped me tame my wild mane. I looked in the mirror, adjusted my bright orange running shorts, slipped into a pair of Crocs, and took off to the school to shoot a soccer gallery. I stopped caring what people thought of me somewhere in the haze of summer break between junior and senior year. Not because of some random awakening of self confidence, but because I have been at this school for too long to care what people think. I walk through these doors unphased every morning. I’ve had mental breakdowns in the middle of the commons at lunch, I’ve worn a prom dress to school on two different occasions, and I’ve embarrassed myself too many times in these walls to even think about what other people think at this point.
So, dear freshman Eliza who cared far too much if her sweater perfectly matched her boots and if everyone around her thought she was “cool”:
It doesn’t matter. By the end of these four years you’ll be far too comfortable walking these halls to care what your peers think. By the end of these four years a post-school nap will be a staple of your day. By the end of these four years you’ll be so surprised how fast time flew by that nothing except the good memories with your friends will matter. At this point, all you can do is apologize to Gwen and go take another nap. You deserve it.