On the verge of being cliche, hindsight is 20/20. So here’s to my 16-year-old self, and the wisdom I wish I had then, but I’m glad I learned years later.
Dear 16-year-old Kate,
You’re in high school. How great is that? Not great? High school is a strange time, with emotions running the gamut from upset and hating all of your friends one day, to loving everyone and feeling on top of the world the next. It’s okay. It’ll happen. Let it.
No one ever said high school was easy, in any respect. If they did, they’re not telling the truth, or they’re telling some jaded version of it. It sounds pessimistic, but it’s really not. At 16, certain things may seem like the end of the world–like whether or not you’ll survive honors chemistry–but you’ll realize later that they’re not.
Don’t stress too much about college yet. Yes, college is important, but don’t put pressure on yourself too early. The time will come for that.
Get involved at church. It’ll be good for you, in so many ways. Meet people, make friends, join a music ensemble. Maybe even start a worship band. Everyone will love it.
You’re going to survive chemistry class. It may not feel like it, but you will. And then you’ll never have to use any of it ever again in your life, unless you pursue a career in a field that requires it. (I certainly did not). Relax and get through it.
Find a part-time job and keep it. It’ll teach you responsibility, accountability, how to save and manage your own money, how to work with others, time management and so much more. (I was hired at 15 and a half, and worked at that place all through high school, and my first summer after college.)
AP exams may sound important, but even if you score well, colleges still want you to take their classes. Be prepared for them, and try your hardest, but don’t stress yourself out over them. (Looking back, I wish I had cut myself some slack here.)
Your friends will show their true colors sooner or later. Your real, true friends will stand out among the rest. Keep them close; they’ll always be there for you.
Learn to drive, and learn to drive well. Take driver’s ed. It’s not lame or boring or stupid. Okay, it may be boring, but it’s worthwhile and will serve you well as you get older. And when you take your driver’s test, always use a turn signal.To my 16-year-old self: no one ever said high school was easy. Click To Tweet
Work hard and put effort into your schoolwork. If you skate through high school, college will only be that much more difficult. Develop solid study habits early, so you don’t have to struggle and scramble for them in college.
Listen to your parents. On everything. Everything. They know what they’re talking about.
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Having a boyfriend may seem like the most important thing about being a teenager, but it’s not. Don’t stay with someone just because you don’t want to be single. That’s a recipe for something bad.
Don’t do something just because it’s the “cool” or “trendy” thing to do…whether it’s wearing a certain type of clothing, engaging in some activity, voting for a particular candidate, cheering for a particular team or anything in between. Think for yourself and do your own thing. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Sometimes blessings come in absolute disguise. Rejection hurts and we don’t like when things don’t work out as we wanted them to, but have faith that the right things will happen for the right reasons.
Remember that the world isn’t going to end tomorrow. Everything is going to be okay.
High school does not last forever. Thank God.
What would you tell your 16-year-old self?