Letter to My Teenage Self


Dear high school self,

It sure doesn’t seem like it now, but getting a C on that test isn’t the end of the world. Finding out the boy you like doesn’t like you back isn’t the end of the world. Not knowing who you are yet is not the end of the world.

Though right now it’s hard to see outside the scope of high school, it’s important to understand that this is just a tiny, little stepping stone in your life. No one knows who they are, what they want to be, where they want to go, what makes them happy yet. And that’s okay. ​

It’s been four short years since high school and I feel as if I’ve lived a thousand different lives in that time. In high school, I got straight A’s, participated in a handful of extracurriculars, volunteered in my spare time and had all the friends I could ever possibly want.

College life changed my perspective on myself REAL fast.

I was getting regular C’s on tests, wasn’t making a ton of new friends and overall wasn’t adjusting well to my new life. I spent so much of my high school years feeling better than the town I grew up in, feeling as if I was smarter than everyone else and my time was more valuable than my peers’. But if that is true, why did I miss home so much and why was I a B-average student?

I guess what I wish I could say to myself in high school is to slow down. Your whole life is still ahead of you. You don’t have to be put together and successful at sixteen. Hang out with your friends as much as you can. Eat what you want, but also GO FOR A RUN AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN. Appreciate all the opportunities you have available to you in high school. Get to know new people and hold real conversations with your teachers. You’re not too good for this town or this school or your friends, and if you begin to lose your humble, life will put you back in your place.

​Trust me.

In high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do in college. All my friends already knew they wanted to major in biology or chemistry or engineering and I had no clue at all. It felt like because I was smart, and because all my friends were doing it, I should only apply to big name schools and get a degree in Pre-Med and become a doctor. Even though that wasn’t at all what I wanted to do, it’s what I tried to do. I applied to only state schools with massive tuition bills for biology programs. I got accepted into each school for each program and didn’t even feel happy or fulfilled.

​It felt wrong.

I changed my major three times before finding what I really wanted. It wasn’t until I stopped thinking about what my friends or parents wanted and just considered what I actually LOVED. You cannot go through life with external influences always in the back of your mind. Do what YOU want, because YOU love it and it’s important to YOU.

​Yes, eighteen really is too young to try to understand what you want to do for the rest of your life, whether you go to college or straight into the work force, but that’s life, and if you let others choose your path for you, it’s very likely to be a miserable one. ​

High school self, you don’t know it yet, but everything turns out okay. You graduate college early even though you thought you’d never make it out alive. You move to CALIFORNIA. Can you believe that?! You make it on your own in San Francisco and live life for yourself. You make all your own choices, take care of your health, and make some of the best friends you’ll ever have. And none of it would’ve been possible if you hadn’t worked so hard in high school and let all the stresses of life get to you. ​

The biggest lesson I have learned since high school, that I SO wish I could go back in time and tell myself, is that time is precious. Never, ever, ever take your friends, your teachers, your family, your health, any aspect of your life for granted. Do everything you can to enjoy every stage of your life. The little things you stress over, that feel like they are going to end your world today will mean nothing in a year. Everyone will find his or her own definition of success and happiness in the years to come. Life isn’t a competition. You find what you love in your own time and often it will mean making mistakes along the way, but that’s okay. One of my favorite song lyrics to think of when I’m going through a difficult time is “life’s not out to get you, but trust me you’ll be fine because I’ve been moving mountains that I once had to climb.” Everything will come together when it’s supposed to, high school self. Don’t hurry to grow up so fast.

Stay humble. Be kind. Do what you love. Live YOUR best life.