My Bad Haircut

Rachel Gauer, Page Editor

At the beginning of freshman year I was given an English assignment to write a letter about my current, freshman self to my English teacher, Mrs. Obbagy, to explain my goals and who I was in a brief summary. I constantly say I’ve barely changed since freshman year: I feel the same, I look the same, and essentially believe that I am the same person. However, when finding this old letter, I felt as if I was reading someone else’s work. Though, evidently, my writing style and skills have changed with my wider English education, I quickly realized that the person writing that letter was not in fact the almost eighteen year old about to graduate. But why do I feel the same? 

I think of my high school self-development as hair. I began freshman year with the worst haircut I’ve had to date: a short bob that barely touched my shoulder. Making it worse, my thick hair would never properly sit and would create an awkward curl sticking outwards. Paired with my (what seemed like) eternal braces and drugstore makeup, my hair was unfortunately not the worst part of my appearance. The awkward bob slowly grew out and eventually, to my surprise, returned to my long, boring style. Though the old style left, I truly believed that I continued to still have the same hair and looks as my freshman self. 

Throughout high school I always thought something would change to make me truly feel ready for whatever stereotypical high school event that was occurring. I pictured each of these milestones paired with a new perspective and new self.  But time and time again, my same, regular self would show up feeling unprepared and immature for whatever was happening.  But was I the same, or did I only view myself as the same? Like hair, change is only evident over time: an outsider will view it as entirely changed after time has passed, whereas I cannot see the clear progression. 

It’s clear to me that I likely will never feel ready to take on chapters of my life that, to me, belong only to those who are mature and “ready.” Throughout high school I felt cheated as each event passed, as I was never who I felt I wanted to be in that moment. My view of a freshman in high school, throughout my childhood, was someone that was cool, old, had a lot of friends, etc. (for a clearer picture, think of the girls from The Babysitters Club books). As my year went by, I never became that person. I internally fought myself throughout high school, as I was dissatisfied with myself at the moment. I didn’t remember any of the cool high school stereotypes from books and movies including bad acne, an involved mother/personal driver in a minivan, and the stress of finding partners for group projects, among other unexpected and unfortunate surprises. 

Though high school was absolutely not what I wanted it to be or what I expected it to be, I think that it gave me the opportunity to prepare for the rest of the expected milestones in my life. Expectations are false realities and will likely not happen. Maybe my physical appearance has only changed in the slightest within the past four years, but my perspective on myself and my experiences has transformed entirely. Though I didn’t notice it as everything occurred slowly, my way of speaking, friends, daily life, hobbies, interests, etc have all changed, just as my hair changed.