Letters from Their Past Selves

FES and PES alums took a trip down memory lane last month.

Sreeja Yellapragada, Staff Writer

Have you ever wondered what your past self would think about how you are today? Or, have you wondered if you had accomplished all the goals you wanted to when you were younger? Well, for some NASH seniors, these questions were answered in the past couple of weeks. Students who attended Franklin Elementary School and Peebles Elementary School were surprised to find envelopes dated 2022 sitting on their desks.

The catch?  They were written by themselves seven years earlier. 

FES alum Abhi Yarlagadda said that the funniest comment in his letter actually regarded a serious topic. The younger Yarlagadda wrote, “If you do drugs, I will be very very VERY mad at you.”

Yarlagadda went on to say that his personal aspirations changed quite a bit since fifth grade.

“I wanted to apply to MIT, Harvard, Stanford, UPenn, Princeton, and Cornell, but I applied to none of them. Another goal I set for myself was to never get a B, but that might change in AP Chem this year.” 

Another soon-to-be graduating senior, Nathan Lam, said his younger self set some both achievable and unachievable goals.

“I wanted to get straight A’s and I wanted to make a lot of friends. I also wanted to become a chef, but the only thing I managed to do was make a lot of friends.”

Lam had no trouble pointing to the funniest moment from his letter.

“I wanted to go to the University of Maryland for college, but I did not even end up applying to the school. I do not even remember why I wanted to go there so badly or what I wanted to study.” 

Lydia Cwalina’s younger self was not nearly as far from the mark.

“My only goal for 12th grade was to ‘get accepted to a good college’. I said I would apply to Duquesne and more, which I did. I am attending Pitt in the fall, so my guess is not far off.”

Cwalina believes that her goals have in fact panned out the way she wanted back in fifth grade.

“I did apply to multiple colleges, so I would say my goals have been met. At the time I remember thinking Duquesne was the only possible college because my sister went there. I’m glad I learned that there is more than one college! My goal was to become a computer programmer or physical ‘theripisst’ or ‘something else.’ While I don’t intend to pursue any of those careers, at least I learned how to spell.”

Cwalina’s entire letter made her laugh, but her favorite moment was this: “I was obsessed with Taylor Swift at the time and basically ranted in my letter about how much I liked the “Bad Blood” music video and said it was ‘literally a movie.’ One could say I’ve been a Swiftie since day one.”

All three seniors were elated to receive their letters, which the staff at their respective elementary alma maters mailed to NASH.

“I liked seeing that the friends I had in the past were the same that I have right now,” Yarlagadda said. “It showed that, even though I changed as a person, there was a group of people who have been my friends for seven-plus years.”

Lam was equally delighted, but from the opposite point of view.

“It was nice seeing how much I had changed from 5th grade to now,” he said. “My future aspirations from when I was in 5th grade are completely different from what ended up actually happening.”

For Cwalina, the letter provided a satisfying affirmation as graduation draws near.

“I feel that my younger self would be proud,” she said.