Nothing quite says “wow, I’ve really improved my writing” like reading your old work. It can be so rewarding to leaf back through papers you wrote years back and take note of all the ways your writing has improved since. Of course, the process can be equally painful in an I cannot believe I ever wrote that sentence, this is horrifying sort of way.
Still, embarrassment notwithstanding, reading through your old work can be a tremendous confidence booster. You want proof that college was worth it? You want proof that you’re learning something here? When you’re packing up your room to head to Wesleyan, include a folder of some of your best writing from high school. Save it under your bed and pull it out at the end of the year or so to compare the old with the new. I bet you’ll be impressed by the strides you’ve made even in just one year!