Wait: Wasn’t I Just a Freshman Five Minutes Ago?


Delaney Elder

Time Flies: Staff writer Lilly Nail talks about the struggles, rewards, and surprises of suddenly swimming up shore from a freshman to a junior, and the lessons that she has learned along the way.

I remember my first day of freshman year like it was yesterday, and sometimes I really do think it was. Consider what happened that first day. At Sutton, I had been top of the food chain, one of the big sharks on campus. Upon arrival here at the start of the 2016-17 school year, I was relegated to being the tiny shrimp, bottom of the heap and bottom of the building, literally. I was small, but I didn’t see myself that way. And I was naive, but I didn’t see that either.

Now, I’m halfway through my 11th grade year in an 11-story building with 11 million things to do before I graduate. I have like four unfulfilled credits — totally my bad! Sorry Mr. Robinson! — because I thought taking multiple art classes instead of course requirements was a good idea. I’m drowning in IB work, trying not to fail all of my classes, and simultaneously managing a job and SAT prep and a “social” life. By “social” life, I mean I really just go to Chick-fil-A on Fridays with my friends.

I think of school as one of those necessary evils, except it’s one of those necessary evils I avoid until I make myself so stressed I can’t even count all six of my fingers on one hand … I mean five? Yeah five. But to the point: I’ll get like 10 assignments in one day and I’ll say to myself, “Ok man, this isn’t due for a few days so you can get it done early and not worry.” And then I end up sitting there the night before at 11 pm with it unfinished saying, “You know, I really can’t do this! I’ll just take that L,” until my friends push me to finish a couple hours after I said I’d start.

And now, here I am. I’m 16 years old, no longer a baby in my own eyes but definitely in my brother’s and father’s eyes, and trying to figure out what I’m going to do with my life. I remember asking my bud and fellow Class of 2020 classmate Olivia (the same one who always goes to Chick-fil-A with me) the other day what she thought she wanted to do when she grew up. By grew up, I meant two years from now, the legal age to vote and die for your country, but not to drink. She kind of just shrugged and said, “Guess we’ll find out.”

I think that pretty much sums up my advice to all the big sharks turned into tiny shrimp. To be honest, no one really knows what they are going to become or what the answers are to the universe’s biggest questions. We pretend we do to avoid being pointed at and called ignorant, but if there’s one thing I do know it’s that I don’t in fact know.

Wait a minute. I realize I wasn’t thinking about any of this when I first got here. But I guess that’s all part of the process of growing up — and realizing that time is going by way too quickly. Hey freshmen you think you’re young and the future is far away? Just wait.