Linnea Lindell: An open letter to an incoming freshman

Linnea Lindell on Sept. 13, 2021 in Rochester. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin
We are part of The Trust Project.

Dear Incoming Freshman,

Congratulations! You’ve graduated middle school and you’re now on a journey to a new, significant period of your life. As a recent high school graduate, I am writing this to impart the small nuggets of wisdom I have gained from the past four years of my life and hopefully ease some of the thoughts racing through your head.

For some context, I just graduated Mayo High School after attending Rochester Central Lutheran School, where I'd been enrolled since preschool. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at RCLS, but becoming part of a class 20 times larger proved quite daunting. Take my advice as you will, as I am aware that your background and high school experience may vastly differ from mine.

  1. Get Involved!

As a brand-new freshman, I recommend starting to involve yourself in school functions. Attend popular school events and games, sit in on club meetings that spark your interest, and try out activities or sports that you might enjoy. Doing this will open up a whole new world of opportunities; you are able to explore your interests while connecting with others and making friends in the process. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, and don’t be afraid to go by yourself.

  1. Know that Things Will Change

I may be the first to break it to you, but you will most likely have different friends than you did in middle school, whether it be because you have different classes, activities, or schedules. Keep in mind that you are learning and growing exponentially in your high school years; your friends will change and you will change. Don’t let the idea stress you out or dictate who you talk to. There are plenty of new people to meet — especially those who share the same budding interests as you.


  1. Develop Good Habits Early

Though life after high school seems light-years away, no time is better than freshman year to develop good habits when it comes to studying and organization. Regardless of your post-high school plans, learning how to manage your time and maintain a transcript takes time and effort. Try your best to stay future-oriented, and develop habits that will benefit you in the long-run.

  1. Be Open to New Things

High school is a huge time for exploration. Don’t be surprised if your life changes course, or things don’t turn out as you expected. It is an uneasy feeling, but I believe it necessary in order to discover and enjoy new ideas and opportunities. Mapping out your goals for these next four years (making varsity, leading a club, receiving an honors diploma) is important, but don’t be surprised if new goals come along the way.
High school is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and is wildly different for everyone. Do know that there are so many other incoming students who feel precisely as you do.

As always, be a contributing member of your high school community, and foster inclusiveness and collaboration among your peers. No matter what, there is always a place for you, and you will always be a valued student in the eyes of counselors and administration.

I hope my nuggets of wisdom can somewhat quell your apprehension and provide some insight into what you’ll expect this coming fall. Good luck on your new high school career and future endeavors!

Linnea Lindell is a 2022 graduate of Mayo High School. Send comments on teen columns to Jeff Pieters,

What to read next
Highlights of events in 1997, 1972, 1947 and 1922.
View "slice of life" photos from around the area.
Question: I have a question as a dad who wants to alert other drivers that my newly licensed daughter is on the road. I would like to put a “student driver” decal on the vehicle. Can I do that? If so, does a student need to be driving?
A growth of the suburbs led to a low population count in the early postwar years.