A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Opinion

A letter to my younger self

Dear little me,

I am writing this knowing that you will probably only skim through, assuming this is just a bunch of trite platitudes about being true to yourself, not procrastinating and most of all following your heart. I know this is a bit cheesy, and you and many others will only give it a cursory glance, but here it is: my senior column. My last hurrah for the school newspaper, my final words to the world through this medium, and I wanted to share it with you, so stick with me.

We all know the basics of high school: a school that typically comprises grades 9 through 12, attended after primary school or middle school, or so says dictionary.com. But in reality, high school emcompasses so much more than those sparse words convey. Here’s a preview of what high school is like.

High school is hard.

Crazy.

Fun.

Awkward.

I will never lie and say that high school will be easy. For you (and probably everyone else), this will be a time filled with peer pressure, complete boredom during classes, nights staying up with homework and subsequent days of exhaustion and pressure to take on more than you can handle. Before you leave you will have experienced myriad embarrassing moments, including frizzy hair on picture day, falling up the stairs and stopping traffic during passing periods, getting hit by doors more times than you can count and conversations where you don’t know what to say. And that sucks.

However, I will never only tell that side of this story. Yes, high school is hard, but it is also pretty great. For you, it will be the home of laughter, late nights at sports and extracurriculars, meeting amazing people, hennaing yourself and my friends, butterflies in your stomach and adrenaline rushing through your veins. You’ll spend time in off periods goofing off and having fun, talk about weird and random topics, witness and create some awesome comebacks in arguments and learn about some things that are truly interesting.

There’s your trailer teaser of what high school is like, now let me tell you the lessons of the story.

1)People are weird and complex nerds who aren’t easily defined.

No matter how boring a person seems, there is always something they love and can ramble on about for days. Most likely there’s more than just one thing, and the same goes for you. It’s best to embrace those passions and put them out there for people to know, since you are legally obligated to be here until you’re seventeen and you’ll have to live with yourself and these people during that time. Tomorrow you might get hit by a bus, get crushed by an avalanche of your school books and papers or even spontaneously combust, so it’s best to spend that time being yourself. People don’t fit into boxes or stereotypes and neither do you.

2)Yours isn’t the only opinion that counts.

Spoiler alert: other people have voices, too. Yes, your thoughts, beliefs and methods matter, and don’t lose sight of that. However, there are infinity and one ways of looking at things, living your life and answering a question. Yours is just one of those, and it’s better to talk about and be open to other ideas as well, because all of them are valid. Plus, conversations are more interesting when two people are actually talking and considering the other’s views instead of just ranting at each other. You’ll learn more from the people around you than you will from any of your classes.

3)This is real life, and it’s not like the movies.

Parents, teachers, even older siblings will tell you that high school is preparing you for something called “real life”. They’ll tell you that “in the real world” things are different, and that this time is just some prerequisite course to getting the degree in Life. But it’s not. Your time, relationships and actions here are just as important as anything else you’ll experience in your life. Now is the time for experimenting, being at turns daring and responsible and most of all LIVING. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, but don’t expect it to be perfect.

I’ll get off my soapbox now and let you live your life. You’ll have a lot of successes and failures, but you’ll have to experience all of this for me to become who I am today. So buckle up, have fun and good luck.

Love,

Gabbie

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