Hey Freshman Me,
How’s it going? I’m sitting here in Venice Beach thinking about what I would want you to know as you went through high school.
First off, high school gets better. And life has this way of becoming more and more awesome.
Remember when you thought your bright orange Jansport backpack was the coolest thing ever? And you went to high school with your braces bands in your favorite color – bright neon green.
When you walked in on the first day and were on top of the world. And then you realized that people thought you were a geek.
They made fun of you for reading a book while walking.
How your braces didn’t match your skin color.
You had acne and it was embarrassing.
Your jeans were too big and your favorite shoes were Nike sneakers.
You were crushed.
Sure, the cool kids had Keds or Vans shoes. They had their older siblings drive them to school in neat cars. For some reason, it made them feel good to talk about your hair or glasses. Your shoes or awkwardness.
You’re not alone.
I want you to know that out of the one thousand kids at that school, you were in the larger group.
Other students were right there with you. And I’m so glad you shrugged a lot of it off.
Embrace the freedom.
Freshman year is the time you get to start being more independent. Your classes are more intense, you have more classmates, school is larger. It’s the time to express yourself.
Find friends who smile back.
Find friends who you can talk about your family and teachers with. Find friends who are kind.
School might seem pointless sometimes. But you’re going to be learning your entire life. It doesn’t really stop. So pay attention. Even if you hate a subject, focus, be good at it. It’s a victory to learn something new. You aren’t learning facts for no reason, you are learning how to learn.
Really embrace PE.
Isn’t that the last thing you want to do? Oh god, running on cement and being forced to play sports sounds torturous. But it’s not! If you can find it in you to put as much as you can into playing new sports and working as a team, you might find activities you really really enjoy. (Spoiler alert – you start to play tennis next year instead of PE and it rocks).
Start taking an interest in your physical health. PE is a great chance to know your body and its limits.
Feel confident about your choices.
If someone makes fun of you for the braces band colors you choose, remember that you chose them because you liked them, and that’s what matters. You are choosing things that make you happy. Not for the kids who bully and laugh at other people. It’s for you.
Talk to someone when you feel sad.
Make sure you take care of your emotional health. Talk to a friend, your sister, your parents, or someone you trust when you’re not happy. Sadness is coming from some place where you feel discontent. Talking about it can help you identify what that is and how you can change it.
Don’t fall to the pressure of body image.
You are seeing everywhere what a ‘perfect woman’ or ‘perfect man’ should look like. Most of this stuff is thrown at the world photoshopped and fake.
What you have to remember is you can always look and feel your best when you’re healthy and happy. If you feel the pressure to look different, talk about it with someone.
I want you to be confident and happy.
Brush off comments that don’t suit you and surround yourself with people who you care about and who care about you. High school isn’t forever, and one day you’re going to be a real adult. So enjoy, really enjoy the time you have now to learn new things, chat with your friends, read all you can, and come home to mom and dad. Those times end. And you’ll miss them. I promise.
With loves of love,