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Teens write a personal note of inspiration

Letter to Me - Writing Exercise - A New Chapter.  A Fresh Start.

This page is the official writing contest summary and results for our "Letter to Me" essay contest.

Letter to Me - Writing Exercise and PromptThe start of a new school year presents the opportunity for students to have a fresh start.  We wanted to encourage teens and college students to sit down and write about their goals, fears, and other ideas for the upcoming year of their life.

This month's "Letter to Me" writing contest resulted in scores of unique essay submissions.  For those who submitted a letter, it will remind you about where your head was for the beginning of the school year, potentially providing you some direction as you progress throughout the year.  Our student writers and bloggers are encouraged to come back and to revisit their letter (we suggest you post the link to your essay on Facebook or somewhere so others can read it, too).


For our readers, we think you'll enjoy reviewing the below personal letters submitted to StageofLife.com as part of our "Letter to Me" writing contest.



From the Letter to Me essay contest, several themes and trends emerged:

Themes/Trends

School: Many teens wrote about the upcoming school year, and the potential hardships they may face. Some teens wrote about improving their grades; others wrote about conquering the overwhelming junior year. All in all, most teens agreed that this school year would be the best one yet.

Fear: Teens were afraid of what the future could bring: in school, after graduation, for relationships, for friends, for family members… Teens are scared to break the routine that has kept them comfort for many years. But overall, many teens know that they will be okay.

Self-Esteem: Teens touched on issues that related to how they felt about themselves. Some teens opened up about their eating disorders, addiction to self-harm, and other destructive behavior. These teens are searching for comfort, and the hope that things do get better.

Motivation: Many teens wrote letters to themselves to keep themselves motivated—among the many mantras were phrases like “achieve your dreams,” “keep it real,” and “never give up.” These teens are anxious to succeed; some teens even created a list of tips and tactics to help them achieve their many goals.


Essay Writers - The Numbers

During this writing contest period, our high school and writing contest pages saw...
  • 5,482 page views from 4,167 unique student visitors...
  • ...living in 72 countries and from all 50 US states that...
  • ...resulted in over 160 qualifying essays (read below).

In the US, the top states having the most teen visitors to StageofLife.com during the writing contest were:
1. California    
2. New York    
3. Texas    
4. Pennsylvania    
5. Florida    
6. New Jersey    
7. Ohio    
8. Tennessee
10. Illinois    
11. Georgia    
12. North Carolina




The Winning Students for the "Letter to Me" Writing Prompt

Immediately below, you'll find links to the StageofLife.com winning essay, our semi-finalists and over 160 other personal "Letters to Me" from college students and teenagers that wrote about their goals and fears for this upcoming school year.

Please take a few moments to read a letter or two. If you have the time, make a comment on the responses you enjoyed the most.  We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their contest entry).

Student Writing Contest Winner


Winner: Letter to Me: Fight or Flight by sophtar (This teen has reached the year all of her teachers predicted she would fail)


Finalists:

  1. Letter to Me: Hee-Hee-Hee by bbontempo3 (Poetic piece about growing up)
  2. Letter to Me: The End by balugeffointe (This terminally ill teen contemplates life outside hospital walls)
  3. Letter to Me: Do I Know You? by bfurl (She wants to remain content)
  4. Letter to Me: Elizabeth Jorgensen by 29g8jorgense (She poetically recounts her boyfriend’s struggle with cancer)
  5. Letter to Me: An Attempted Note of Inspiration by kwolfgirl7 (She wants to change things, but doesn’t seem to think things will change)
  6. Letter to Me: Lost in Thought by lostwords1997 (This teen wants nothing more than to be a writer in NYC)
  7. Letter to Me: Dreams by charlotte.kazlauskas (“Find your water, and find your fish tail”)
  8. Letter to Me: Under the Sun by emilyhooker (This teen fondly remembers the summer, and the decisions she has made)
  9. Letter to Me: Keep It Real by dearmissjay (This teen plans on following her dream, even if it results in a low salary)
  10. Letter to Me: Fight or Flight by stareen (This teen has reached the year all of her teachers predicted she would fail)
  11. Letter to Me: Squishing the Sophomoric Stereotype by H. Slang (This teen wants to be seen as more than a sophomore)
  12. Letter to Me: Let’s Talk by JulianThomas (He recounts his struggle with school and obesity)
  13. Letter to Me: Self-Reliance by khwaish (This teen plans on following her dreams, no matter what)
  14. Letter to Me: New Perspective by kber322 (She compares her feelings about starting college with her grandmother’s feelings when she first started college)
  15. Letter to Me: Dance Like No One’s Watching by karli16 (She has overcome an addiction to chemical drugs, and wants to kick her junior year’s butt)
  16. Letter to Me: Uptight is so last season by dobohuck (This teen wants to spend less time studying, and more time having fun)
  17. Letter to Me: Rebelling Against Low Expectations by corinaballerina (A letter from Society, telling her not to try too hard)
  18. Letter to Me: Homework, Grades, and Dancing Pigs by eia12 (This teen wants to do well in her first year of high school)
  19. Letter to Me: A Year to Remember by crazy_purple_daisy_98 (After years of emotional torment, she will finally be graduating high school in June)
  20. Letter to Me: You’re not so small anymore by mbshorty2 (This teen gives herself survival tips for her upcoming sophomore year)
  21. Letter to Me: Just go with the flow by randomcat (This teen is drowning in stress)
  22. Letter to Me: Keep Calm and Carry On (Perhaps a Spot of Tea?) by iloveaparade (She learned that she can’t fix all of the world’s problems—even those in her own house)
  23. Letter to Me: The Chronicles of My High School Existence by star12345 (This teen is afraid to begin high school… again)       
  24. Letter to Me: The Dog Days Are Over by cade3lit (This teen reassures herself that the school year will not be as difficult as last year)
  25. Letter to Me: Winnie, my dear… by aeskis (She does not want to let her psychological conditions define her)
  26. Letter to Me: An Outcast in Reflection by lookingforanswers (This teen wants to spend her time as an “outcast” finding herself)
  27. Letter to Me: I Will Move On by LongviewLobo (This teen’s life was turned upside down after he entered a mental hospital in the middle of his freshman year)
  28. Letter to Me: A Snippet of Advice From Someone Who Knows You by tfam (This teen discovered that exercise can help defeat her depression)
  29. Letter to Me: But Which One? by Aria_Claiborne (This teen copes her “normality”)
  30. Letter to Me: Studying Your Own Shadow by writinglover777 (This teen wants to cherish every moment of her senior year)
  31. Letter to Me: A Life Like Cinderella by dulzwije (This teen has a three step plan to live a life like Cinderella)
  32. Letter to Me: Mental Hospital Fears by NCpollyCA (This teen struggles with an addiction to cutting)


    Aside from the finalists, we had a wide variety of teen writing contest entry letters.  We've categorized the responses.

    Self-Esteem

      Fear

      1. Letter to Me: Get Past the Fear of Uncertainty by riserthinking (This student is afraid to begin a grad program for psychology)
      2. Letter to Me: A day closer by chacon.kimberly (This teen is afraid for what the school year holds)
      3. Letter to Me: Christopher by Cdawg (He would like to make more friends this year)
      4. Letter to Me: Can We Handle a Change? by SamSlusher27 (She is beginning a new school, with new hopes and fears)
      5. Letter to Me: A Better Me by moonlistic (She withdrew from classes for fear of public speaking… and low self-esteem)
      6. Letter to Me: Letter to You by Sevendwarfs (This teen is feeling some anxiety about the new school year)
      7. Letter to Me: Order Made by Hiten-No-Rurouni (This teen fears procrastination will keep her from going to the college of her dreams)
      8. Letter to Me: Who’s Nervous and Giddy by mynameislynn (This teen is afraid to begin college)
      9. Letter to Me: The Chronicles of My High School Existence by star12345 (This teen is afraid to begin high school… again)
      10. Letter to Me: The Loss of Freedom by alangley (This teen is coming back to his old school, after leaving for a boarding school for a year)
      11. Letter to Me: Surfing the Wave by MissBrie (This teen will be moving to her fifth high school in January)
      12. Letter to Me: Live and Live Well by Ambryawna (“Don’t stress what you can’t change”)
      13. Letter to Me: Proposal by joseph92 (This teen plans on asking a big question)
      14. Letter to Me: Dear Sophomore Cierra by blueeyesoflove (This teen is dealing with grief, and wants to make it through a stronger person)
      15. Letter to Me: Fears vs Dreams by emmydear3 (She wants to remind herself that this year will be hard, but nothing she can’t handle)
      16. Letter to Me: You Need to Learn About Death by Serafina (This teen is terrified of death and the dying)
      17. Letter to Me by briansteiner94 (This teen suffered through a tough divorce)
      18. Letter to Me: Keep Calm and Carry On (Perhaps a Spot of Tea?) by iloveaparade (She learned that she can’t fix all of the world’s problems—even those in her own house)
      19. Letter to Me: Looking Back by [email protected] (This teen worries if she will be as successful as she dreams she will be)
      20. Letter to Me: The start of something new by hellohello19 (This teen hopes to complete college and move on to make-up school)
      21. Letter to Me: Consider This… by amk (This teen is afraid for what lies ahead after college)
      22. Letter to Me: Just go with the flow by randomcat (This teen is drowning in stress)

      School

      1. Letter to Me: From Me to Myself by hfrank1997 (This teen writes his goals for the upcoming school year)
      2. Letter to Me: You’re not so small anymore by mbshorty2 (This teen gives herself survival tips for her upcoming sophomore year)
      3. Letter to Me: Junior Year by KCJONH04 (This teen wants to continue to do well in school to reach her goal of being an English teacher)
      4. Letter to Me: Don’t Forget by darlingmermaids (The future is unpredictable)
      5. Letter to Me: My Junior Year by drummajor13 (This teen is excited for the school year)
      6. Letter to Me: Ashlynn by Ashlynn.hirth (She is going to begin high school this year)
      7. Letter to me: I’m more than a transcript by lydialivas (This teen doesn’t want to be defined by her grades)
      8. Letter to Me: It’s gonna be a hell of a year by Sevendwarfs (This teen is bracing herself for high school)
      9. Letter to Me: You just entered the fast lane by Sevendwarfs (College is fast approaching for this teen)
      10. Letter to Me: Just a Reminder by theoneandonly (This teen wants to have a successful school year and social life)
      11. Letter to Me: Personal Motivation by WhiteandBlackKnight (This teen has a plan for college)
      12. Letter to Me: Necessary Roughness by rogrady28 (This teen messed up school last year, and plans on making up some lost ground)
      13. Letter to Me: Don’t Blink by Eloquence (This teen has big plans for National Honor Society)
      14. Letter to Me: Who You Were, Made You Who You Are by george_strait_girl_5 (She wants to continue to enjoy her high school career)
      15. Letter to Me: A Year to Remember by crazy_purple_daisy_98 (After years of emotional torment, she will finally be graduating high school in June)
      16. Letter to Me: Forgetting, Appreciating, and Looking by RoyRebirth (This teen wants to appreciate the school year—for all of its ups and downs)
      17. Letter to Me: Never Lose Your AAA by autumnleaves (This teen wants to focus on her AAA plan: attention, acceptance, authenticity)
      18. Letter to Me: This Year by Nies (This teen wants to do well in school, and have fun along the way)
      19. Letter to Me: Best believe I’m set to win; if you’re testing me, better think again by unkamenhero (This teen has made remarkable strides in high school, and wants to continue to succeed to make his family proud)
      20. Letter to Me: Think before you do by Melg29 (This teen wants to do better in school)
      21. Letter to Me: Beginning of Sixth Grade by paige01 (She has some tips to do well in middle school)
      22. Letter to Me: Homework, Grades, and Dancing Pigs by eia12 (This teen wants to do well in her first year of high school)
      23. Letter to Me: High School, Baby by nissylay (She is extremely excited for her first year of high school)
      24. Letter to Me: A Misguided Attempt to Make Sense by Fulloflife95 (This teen is ready for the daunting task of finding the right college)
      25. Letter to Me: Year of Opportunities by bhasha (This teen wants to achieve more and do better in school)
      26. Letter to Me: On the Verge of a Hurricane by redsoxandsun (This teen learned that school is like a hurricane)
      27. Letter to Me: Ninth Grade Looks Good on Me by Melinda (She is beginning ninth grade in a public school, after being homeschooled all her life)
      28. Letter to Me: Welcome to the Jungle… by DreamyGal (She is starting high school very soon, and is nervous for the changes)
      29. Letter to Me: A New Beginning by sk8terkid (This teen wants to make the most of her sophomore year)
      30. Letter to Me: The Year of Action by loganmarieh (This teen wants to do her homework during the school year)
      31. Letter to Me: Good Thing I Have You by PatriciaGrace (She doesn’t know what’s going to happen this year)
      32. Letter to Me: Tips To Me Self by Dwoods (This teen wants to be successful in college)
      33. Letter to Me by clairecalamaio (She wants to focus more on school, and less on relationships)
      34. Letter to Me: Embrace School by katie_selena (She gives herself tips to survive the school year)
      35. Letter to Me: Brittny by Brittny_kell (This teen wants to keep control in her junior year)
      36. Letter to Me: Un-Shrug Your Shoulders by jrcollins (This teen wants to take time to figure out his future for after high school)
      37. Letter to Me: Roller Coaster of Senior Year by jsommer34 (This teen compares her senior year to a roller coaster ride)

      Motivation

      1. Letter to Me: Fight to the Finish by icecream29 (It’s okay to fail, because eventually you will succeed)
      2. Letter to Me: Rebelling Against Low Expectations by corinaballerina (A letter from Society, telling her not to try too hard)
      3. Letter to Me: A Start for Change by mirralynn (She wants to establish a healthier school routine)
      4. Letter to Me: Change Education by StephanieWilliams72865 (She has a plan to help all teens do better in school)
      5. Letter to Me: I want to be… by mriganka (This teen has a long list of goals)
      6. Letter to Me: It’s Time to Go for it by Kmitch123 (This teen’s summer was rocked by her parent’s separation)
      7. Letter to Me: You can do it! by Superstar (She wants to try new things this school year—and regain her confidence)
      8. Letter to Me: Uptight is so last season by dobohuck (This teen wants to spend less time studying, and more time having fun)
      9. Letter to me: Platform of Dreams by glaciestempeste (Success is the ultimate goal)
      10. Letter to Me: Be Scared by paige.nikles (This teen wants to focus more on school, and less on boys)
      11. Letter to Me by be (This teen wants to publish a book this school year)
      12. Letter to Me: Dance Like No One’s Watching by karli16 (She has overcome an addiction to chemical drugs, and wants to kick her junior year’s butt)
      13. Letter to Me: Me and my best friend living inside me by sevas (This teen wants to move on from high school and achieve her dreams)
      14. Letter to Me: New Perspective by kber322 (She compares her feelings about starting college with her grandmother’s feelings when she first started college)
      15. Letter to Me: It’s Never Too Late by CrEaTiViTy42 (“There are lots of Sarahs in this school, but only one you”)
      16. Letter to Me: Life is Now by ALBryson (This teen wants to discover what she wants to do for the rest of her life)
      17. Letter to Me: Change the Present by ArThUr (This teen wants a successful transition to high school)
      18. Letter to Me: High School by TheDayTripper (This teen wants to continue having fun)
      19. Letter to Me: The Year of New Beginnings by bathpinkdog (She is starting a new school—as a “freshman” in junior year)
      20. Letter to Me: Self-Reliance by khwaish (This teen plans on following her dreams, no matter what)
      21. Letter to Me: Keep Dreaming by jk3 (She had made a list of goals she wants to accomplish this school year)
      22. Letter to Me: No Thank You by bubbles02494 (Her life is not finished yet, so she does not want to write a letter just yet)
      23. Letter to Me: Stories Unheard by checktheBECK10 (She hears everyone’s stories)
      24. Letter to Me: Squishing the Sophomoric Stereotype by H. Slang (This teen wants to be seen as more than a sophomore)
      25. Letter to Me: Let’s Talk by JulianThomas (He recounts his struggle with school and obesity)
      26. Letter to Me: You Can Do This! New Year, New You by m0nkygal66 (This teen wants to focus her potential into success)
      27. Letter to Me by gabbi.ezell (This teen wants to sharpen up for her senior year)
      28. Letter to Me: Struggles and Triumphs by echapperose (She lists all that she wants to accomplish this school year)
      29. Letter to Me: You’re Going Places, Kid by 11millera (This teen is starting college very soon, and wants to make the most out of the experience)
      30. Letter to Me by kmajors327 (She inspires herself to have the best possible year)
      31. Letter to Me by KymberHarp (This teen reminds herself of all the treasures she has in her life)
      32. Letter to Me by BritneeDailey (This teen gives herself tips from the future)
      33. Letter to Me: Get Ready by GPearson666 (This teen writes a letter from his future self)
      34. Letter to Me: Fight or Flight by stareen (This teen has reached the year all of her teachers predicted she would fail)
      35. Letter to Me: The Seeds You Plant Today, Will Be Tomorrow’s Fruit by titiana2012flax (This teen is ready to meet her potential)
      36. Letter to Me: Dear “Meh” by minichen97 (She wants to open up and make new friends)
      37. Letter to Me: Beginnings, Endings, and In-Betweens by wali21 (She wants to stop being such a hermit)
      38. Letter to Me: Keep It Real by dearmissjay (This teen plans on following her dream, even if it results in a low salary)

      Hope

      1. Letter to Me: Under the Sun by emilyhooker (This teen fondly remembers the summer, and the decisions she has made)
      2. Letter to Me: Envision, believe, and make it happen by gracekimeunyoung (This teen has learned to “never compromise”)
      3. Letter to Me: The depths of starting over and where I want to go… by SweetSerenity (She wants to compliment a different person every day)
      4. Letter to Me: The Year to Change by WriterJeanne (This is the year to “seize the day”)
      5. Letter to Me: He’ll Be There by LivyluvsJC (No matter her struggles, this teen finds strength in religion)
      6. Letter to Me: Things of the Past, Present, and Future by jessicaanne (This teen is looking forward to her family vacation, the new school year, and feeling “better”)
      7. Letter to Me: My compass of trail by Pinkaholic23 (A poem about how this teen wants to succeed)
      8. Letter to Me: Back in the Game! by alicia (Financial issues caused this teen’s grades to slip last semester)
      9. Letter to Me: Reliving Life by Writer Selbe (This teen wants to remember her past “mistakes” as choices, not mistakes)
      10. Letter to Me: Lost in Thought by lostwords1997 (This teen wants nothing more than to be a writer in NYC)
      11. Letter to Me: Dreams by charlotte.kazlauskas (“Find your water, and find your fish tail”)
      12. Letter to Me: A Life Like Cinderella by dulzwije (This teen has a three step plan to live a life like Cinderella)
      13. Letter to Me: Remember Hope by lopezjacqueline92 (She wants to remember that even when life seems hard, to never give up on her dreams)
      14. Letter to Me: Half A World From Home by brittany.tang (This teen has spent the past five years living overseas)
      15. Letter to Me: Promises by ds272411 (This teen made several promises to herself to keep herself on track during high school)
      16. Letter to Me: An Attempted Note of Inspiration by kwolfgirl7 (She wants to change things, but doesn’t seem to think things will change)
      17. Letter to Me by Kayla Brindley (This teen wrote a letter to her younger self)
      18. Letter to Me: High School by haminal (This teen has tips for her younger self’s old relationships)
      19. Letter to Me by kaylalarocks! (This teen wants to be successful)
      20. Letter to Me by dinahjenkins343 (This teen has a list of things she wants to accomplish)
      21. Letter to Me by z.king24 (This teen wants to continue to improve and “build herself”)
      22. Letter to Me by andrea.mercer (This teen wants to take risks and enjoy life)
      23. Letter to Me: A Lesson for Later by Recording (This teen has written down some relevant life quotes)
      24. Letter to Me: Elizabeth Jorgensen by 29g8jorgense (She poetically recounts her boyfriend’s struggle with cancer)
      25. Letter to Me: The Year to Hope by DeemaS (This teen wants to find happiness after her mother’s death)
      26. Letter to Me: Every Minute Counts by shenped04 (This teen wants to learn more about who her friends really are)
      27. Letter to Me by JUGGALETTE_JEDI (This teen wants to remember to be kind, and to show love more)
      28. Letter to Me: Do I Know You? by bfurl (She wants to remain content)
      29. Letter to Me: A Change for the Better by bbyxboodee (This teen has more responsibilities than her friends)
      30. Letter to Me: The End by balugeffointe (This terminally ill teen contemplates life outside hospital walls)
      31. Letter to Me: Live with Joy and Passion by likethemoon (This teen wants to “plant” her “empty field”)
      32. Letter to Me: What Truly Matters by mpoling2 (Love conquers all)
      33. Letter to Me: Studying Your Own Shadow by writinglover777 (This teen wants to cherish every moment of her senior year)
      34. Letter to Me: Hee-Hee-Hee by bbontempo3 (Poetic piece about growing up)


      Last Words: 

      We could not list all of the essays submitted for this contest, but we thank every student that participated in the Letter to Me essay contest.  To enter the current Stage of Life monthly writing contest for high school students and college students:

      Writing Contest Archive - Students

      Writing Contests and Teen Trend Reports

      StageofLife.com Student Writing Contests

      Below you will find all of the monthly writing contests and teen trend reports from the last five years hosted by StageofLife.com.  Our dedication to digital literacy efforts have reached over 1,000,000 students and teachers in the last half decade, received mention on TIME.com, and features in the news.  Feel free to click through and read the top essay submissions from any given month.  StageofLife.com is honored to be one of the most-visited writing contests for students in the world.  We love working with you as we celebrate the journey as life-long readers and writers...

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      2012 Writing Contests

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       2010 Writing Contests


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