Self

To All My Past, Present, And Future Friends

Photo: DisobeyArt / Shutterstock
group of guy friends

By Jonathan Gao

For those of my friends whose paths may never cross with mine again,

I remember sitting at my desk in middle school, eagerly anticipating high school. For some reason, the thought of discovering who we are and who we will become in life excited me.

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I also faintly recall one of my teachers telling us that the friends we make in high school are the friends we’ll have for life.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to worry too much about meeting new people. I knew that we’d all be going to the same school. Or at least that’s what I thought.

I don’t know when exactly it happened, but suddenly, it felt as if I fell out of my circle of friends.

I wondered: Did our interests grow too far apart during high school? Why did we start differing? Were there suddenly better people to be around?

There were certainly times when I doubted my ability to remain friends with people for a long time. What’s more, I also found it difficult to hang out because I never knew what everyone else was up to.

Despite all of these thoughts, though, I now realize that this shouldn’t get the best of me. Over time, I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s not that important to belong to a particular group. In the next four years, we’ll be even further apart.

Unlike me, most of you are going to the same college. I sincerely hope that each one of you finds your own success, whether that means your career or personal achievements.

Hey, maybe we’ll meet again and will have plenty of things to catch up on. It could be in a few months when we’re invited back for a school reunion or in ten or even twenty years when life has shaped us into the people we were meant to become.

Regardless, I will treasure our memories forever.

For those whom I’ve met and trusted in high school,

Whether you’re someone with whom I’ve spent hours doing research in the chemistry lab or working on college essays in the hallways, I sincerely appreciate getting to know you and learning about how to better myself as a person.

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From playing sports throughout high school to doing research in subjects that an average student would dread, I’ve looked up to all of these things that you all already found yourself doing on many occasions.

I can rest assured that each one of you will go to far lengths to help and serve others. In the near future, you can bet that I’ll strive to emulate you through all the qualities that best represent you.

The more I hear about the things that you all have already achieved, the more motivated I become to lead by example as well.

As for some of my mentors, I am confident that you will continue to make good efforts to make classes more enjoyable and accommodating.

As students, we seem to overlook how important the role of our teachers is. That is until we genuinely consider what we are passionate about and seek support in that area.

Apart from desk-slamming, paper-tearing, frustratingly long hours of studying, I wouldn’t have realized how important it is to take full advantage of the time we’re given by pursuing meaningful opportunities (thanks, Mr. Lee!).

I’ve had the confidence to apply for every opportunity that can help me reach my goals as well as simply network with people who can support me with my endeavors (thank you, Ms. Liu!). I would have never considered aviation and piloting as part of my dream career without flight school (I sincerely appreciate it, Dr. Price!).

And lastly, for those whom I’ve already met or will meet in college,

It’s nice to meet you! If I’ve spent a lot of time talking to you already, I hope that you will make my college experience a lot more memorable. And I wish to do the same for you.

Whether it’s passing out in the library before finals, having dumb conversations during club meetings, or getting food in between classes, I genuinely look forward to it all.

I’d also like you to know that I want to do things differently. That I’m treating the next four years as my clean slate.

I want to create a new version of myself. And I hope you’ll support me in that.

Sincerely,

Me

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Jonathan Gao is a writer, musician, biochemistry major at CUNY Hunter College, and contributor to Unwritten. Visit his author profile for more of his work.

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This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.