By: Erin Settlemier (She/Her)
Editorial Team Member

Dear 2024,

You have finally arrived and I find myself standing at the edge of a significant transition in my life’s journey. You represent not just a year on the calendar to me, but a threshold between the familiarity of my past and the uncertainty of my future. The closing chapter of my high school days will converge with the dawn of college and adulthood.

As a high school senior, everything seems tinged with the bittersweet flavor of “lasts.” The final strides through the hallways that have been my second home, the last gatherings with friends both current and past, whose paths will only be parallel for a few more months before the imminent divergence into myriad directions. Amidst a sea of faces, some will fade from memory, but they all represent the current fabric of my known world. They have been constants in this ever-shifting landscape of my life. Yet, the unknown looms large – the college choices, the undecided major, the mystery of roommates. The possibilities shimmer like distant stars, both exhilarating and daunting. What if I choose wrong? Will my future match the dreams I’ve woven over the years of working towards this moment? Only you, 2024, hold the key to these mysteries.

This year, I come of age, turning eighteen and officially stepping into the world of adulthood. Yet, the weighty title feels misplaced. Soon I will be able to vote and pay taxes, but I still sleep with my stuffed animals every night. I recently had my last annual appointment with my pediatrician. It was one of the consequences of getting older I had never thought about until this year. I know I won’t automatically be on my own just because of a birthday, but there is a sense of independence that comes with it, a feeling both exhilarating and overwhelming. My understanding of the world is still limited, yet the world is only going to get bigger from here.

While I cannot predict the intricate details of your existence, I write this letter with optimism, hopeful that amidst the uncertainties I’ll find my footing, hopeful that it will all turn out ok, and hopeful that this year will be filled with so many amazing beginnings that I have less trouble letting go of the past. It can be hard to focus on the future when I am blinded by my shortsightedness, but leaving everything I know behind hurts less when I stop and truly acknowledge the endless possibilities of this unwritten chapter of my life. 

2024, may you be everything and more

Love, Erin Settlemier

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