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Dear 13-Year-Old Me

By Maria Teresa Calva-Xolalpa
I am the 19-year-old version of yourself about to graduate from the school you are about to go to. Tomorrow will be your first day at your new school, Stanstead College. You are now also living in the town as a day student and as you can see, it is VERY different from the city. You went from having 6000 things close by to, now, having only six. The town will grow on you, though.

I know that it is scary to go to this new school where everyone knows your sister but no one knows you. So here is a heads up about some things that you need to know in your journey as a “lifer.” Yes, a lifer, someone who goes to Stanstead for six whole years. Yes, you WILL keep coming back.
 
Firstly, you will meet some incredible who that will become your second and third family. You will have amazing coaches and mentors. You will soon realize who they are, so appreciate every moment you spend with them. They will guide and shape the person who you will be in six years.
 
You will discover that there are other sports than swimming and other instruments than violin. Stick to them and spend more time on music and rugby because they will get you through. Just watch out for the Cavanaughs... You’ll get what I mean.
 
Soon you will meet lifelong friends who will always want what’s best for you. And soon you will also realize that sometimes other’s intentions won’t always be the best. Don't be naïve; choose right. Trust your gut.
 
You will have MANY roommates starting with the best one, who will soon live in your basement, and then meeting your soulmate in Australia. Others in between will just be part of the experience. And you’ll do a full circle by ending with who you started with.
 
I would say stay out of drama but you will see that it is kind of impossible here. So I will just say to stay true to yourself. You don’t owe anyone an explanation even if you’re with them 24/7. It is your life so own it and have fun. After all, it’s just high school. Be smart and remember… bending the rules is not breaking them.
 
Year after year you’ll hear the same prefect speeches about what Stanstead meant to that person and how it changed them. But as years go by, you will realize that it is impossible to explain that, as it is constantly changing. Some years will be good, some others will be bad. In fact, you will have two hard years where you will become life’s guinea pig just like you were in history class in Grade 7. It will be very difficult but don’t give up, you will have support and you will make it through. I promise.
 
Later on, the world will crash… not metaphorically but literally. You will find out what COVID is… I will not spoil it, you have to go through it just the way you will, but just remember that word and find a comfortable mask, you’ll need it.
 
You will create thousands of memories that will make you fall in love with this place and make you want to come back year after year. And you’ll also discover many many flaws, and bad things that will make you question that decision.
 
You will learn that life is not always fair. You won’t always get what you want or deserve and some people’s explanations will never make sense to you. But guess what, it will only make you stronger.
 
In the end, Stanstead College will become part of who you are. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but it is an experience that you will never forget. Trust and be there for yourself. You are entering as Marisol’s little sister but you will leave here with your own legacy.
 
Last piece of advice is: don't take Physics in Grade 12.
 
And good luck, you’ll need it.

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