Senior Nexans write emails to freshmen selves

Hello Devanshi (9)! 

⁠—The return address of this letter may confuse you. As big as our dreams were, I don’t think you could have foreseen this⁠—us, living in San Diego, chief of the school newspaper, bound for Santa Barbara. 

I don’t mean to offend you when I say that I’ve disregarded the visions you had for our future. You and I are not infallible, but we’ll spend our lives trying to come close. 

As a 14-year-old, you don’t know what you want to be, and even now, I only have a slightly clearer vision of what that means for us. But, I do know exactly who I want us to be. And when you’re my age, you’ll learn that we’ve been growing to be that person from the beginning. 

It isn’t easy, but things do fall into place. You become more selective who you spend your time with based on how they inspire and support you. You become more truthful with yourself. You realize how important it is not to compartmentalize. You understand what love is and what loss is. Writing becomes our solace and our mode to communicate, advocate, and develop our identity. You’ll learn the most about yourself in coffee shops and parks. Most importantly, you become kinder to yourself. 

If there’s any advice I can credibly give you, it’s this: Open up more and don’t spread yourself too thin. Your heart is not a stone. Believe in the law of attraction.

Continue to pursue environments and people who inspire you. Stay creative. Love with everything you have. 

All my love, 

Dev (12)

Dear Kevin (9),

You were never one for plans, were you? I hope you know how much harder you made your life, and I’m writing to you now, from the future, to express my grievances.

But in some ways, I am glad that your mind was an unplanned mess, unsure of what to do and where to go next. I’m not sure you really understood the importance of what you were doing, in class and outside of class. Rest assured. You’ll ultimately find things you care about, and a direction in your life you want to pursue.

I expect that this is probably one of the only things that’s on your mind right now as you enter high school, but please, for your own sake, stop and enjoy what’s around you while you can. Go out and get to know your friends better. Attend a school dance (although I can already tell you that you’ll decide to put it off until senior year, when unfortunate events occur). Be nicer to your brother, because he’ll visit only a few times during the year. Listen to your parents, because they usually know what they’re talking about (if they don’t, tell them nicely). 

There are many more things I would tell you to do, but I don’t want to spoil any more surprises. I’m afraid you might forget the plan anyways :). 

Kev (12)

Blake (9),

At times, life may feel like a racetrack, like you’re only traveling the same route as before, over and over again. That’s anything but true. 

You’ve heard it a thousand times before from your percussion coach: Speed is the least impressive thing. This philosophy undoubtedly extends beyond your music but you’ll learn that the hard way. You’re still learning that and much more. 

Learn how to work the brakes before you step on the gas. Learn how to navigate the walls of Westview and the streets of San Diego before you meander greater maps. Learn how to drive before you try to race. 

Even if life is a race, there’s no telling who wins. There’s no trophy or prize money. So put in the time and the effort to become the person you want to be, not who you think the people around you need. 

Those calluses on your palm from the constant drumming are only going to keep imprinting themselves, but the way you mold yourself will take greater adjusting to. Don’t confuse immaturity for relentlessness, haste for drive, or egoism for confidence. 

Pause before turning on your engine, but press the gas with confidence. It’s okay to not know where you’re going, but wear that feeling. Wear it because being lost can look good on you just like a deep blue.

And Blake, please, use commas. Take breaths and brakes with the same commitment that you do opportunities. Allow time for growth, for others, for yourself.

I know you hate cliches and you’ll continue to hate them. But you’ll begin to realize that they’re cliches for a reason. Maybe you’ll even accept that life can be cliche, that you can be cliche. 

So I’m going to tell you now to enjoy the journey and take your eyes off the destination. 

Start small and start slow, but start soon.

—Blake (12)

Alec (9), 

If you’re reading this, congratulations! The space time continuum hasn’t been torn to shreds by you receiving this letter from the future. Oh, and we got into college, but that’s besides the point.

As I’m writing this now, it’s safe to say that we’ve become a very different person over the course of our high school career. You begin to understand that the world is much bigger than your immediate surroundings. You eventually gain a work ethic and welcome challenges instead of avoiding them (we actually picked up writing, something we detested, and joined the school paper. Wild, right?). But most importantly, you realize that you can’t spend the rest of your life alone. 

Sure, you have friends right now, but you never truly connected with them. However, things do get better. We eventually learn to tear down our walls and open up to the world. The concept may seem alien now, but you’ll realize that forming genuine relationships with people is one of the greatest gifts the human experience has to offer. 

There’s always more to say, but that defeats the purpose of everything that happens over the next four years. So go out and make as many meaningful connections  as possible.You can never have too many good friends. 

Alec (12)

Dear Grace, 

You’ve never been the first person to approach people, let alone say “hi” back to a stranger. 

But that’s all going to change on the first day of school. 

You’ll go from holding awkward five-second conversations with classmates to having three hour late-night car talks by the beach. You’ll definitely get homesick, yes, but you’re also going to meet amazing people who fuel you with the energy and love that keep you afloat. 

You’ll spend countless days outside swimming in the sun and inside the Nexus hallway, cramming in articles while stuffing yourself with In-N-Out fries and chocolate chip cookies. 

You’re bound to face obstacles and fall, but don’t worry, you’ll learn how to get right back up and keep moving forward. 

I’ve always admired your work ethic and strive to achieve greater things, but you’re going to learn the importance of taking a step back and giving yourself a break. No matter how many times you read the bio textbook, in the end, it’s about taking care of yourself first. So put that pencil down and go for a walk, talk to a friend, or buy yourself a treat. 

Trust me, you’ll need it. 

Love, 

Grace 

Hey Julie, 

It’s me! You! But older. And unfortunately not taller. I know you’re struggling and high school is not what you thought it would be. It’s a lot harder, and for the first time, you’re facing actual challenges. I wish I could tell you that these struggles get easier when you’re a senior. That is NOT the case. In fact, you’ll encounter countless stressful times and face complicated problems you never imagined would happen.

I know this sounds awful, but while the problems don’t get easier, you become strong enough to handle them. You learn how to write eight-page essays in under 10 hours and manage entire clubs. You find out you can feel joy in simple things like changing your hair color or discount baked goods and spoiler alert! You do find a career you love! 

I promise that whatever you’re going through now and in the future, high school has a happy ending. Stick with who and what you love. It doesn’t lead you astray. 

All the love in the world,

Jules <3

Hey Sarah (9), this is Sarah (12).

Bet you never guessed you’d end up writing for The Nexus, huh? Bet you thought you’d figure out this whole college thing, including what to pursue. Heh. Sorry. Bet you thought you were busy. HA. Sorry.

I’m still mindlessly exploring and avoiding thoughts of the future. 

But don’t worry, I’m happy. 

And you will be, too.

You’ll meet so many fantastic humans, and you’ll learn to shed those who aren’t. You’ll flail in the face of a deeply flawed world, but you’ll learn to reach out and stay afloat.

You’ll gain so many skills! Yes, an exclamation-point-worthy quantity of skills! I won’t give you any spoilers though, except that you’ll learn how to play the contrabassoon (Google it).

You’ll try to get yourself involved with way too many things (wow, what a surprise, right?), thinking that every activity and group will provide you with a unique, profound and valuable experience. They will, just not if you’re only able to participate in every single one at a shallow level. I know it’s hard to pick and choose, but it’s an important life skill to develop. 

I’m still working on it.

Please keep in mind that I’m only a few years older than you. Although you’ll learn a tremendous amount in that time, you’ll always have more room to grow. Take everything I say with a huge grain of salt.

Your senior year will not end the way you expected it to, but fear not: you’ll still find meaning in it, whatever that means.

I know you won’t be able to help it, but do try to stop negatively comparing yourself to everyone. Give yourself some more credit.

You’re in better hands than you know.

頑張れ。

That’s all from Sarah (12), over.

Hey bud,

I agree, this is pretty trippy. Anyways, I just wanted to let you know I’m fine, and nothing you did messed anything up. In the four years of experience I have on you, I’ve come to learn that everything you’re meant to do, as painful as it might be, will evolve naturally. Only try on the things that actually matter: your future, your family, and your relationships with people. Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up. I’m now also thinking about going into art professionally, but I think you already kinda knew that. My path from here on out is my own, but again, thanks for leading me here. 

Great working with you,

Dorian