You and I, and everyone in the world, have heard the quotes "hindsight is 20/20" multiple, numerous, and way too many times to count. Well, it's true. If there's something I would have wanted to tell my 13-year-old, freshman self it would be this:
Right off the bat, don't compare yourself to others. Everyone has heard this whether it's from their friends, parents, teachers, or some inspirational self-help book, it's pretty common knowledge. But, you know as a young teen it's definitely harder to change your way of thinking to this.
To my 13-year-old self, I wish I had listened harder to this. Hadn't walked into school somedays wondering if I was as pretty or skinny enough as the "popular" girls in school. Sounds cliché I know, but it's true. This mindset led me down a rough road that included battling anorexia and body image issues for many years after. Even now, it's hard to not compare myself to those succeeding around me, but it's a little bit easier than it was back then.
Another thing is: don't stress so much about where you're going to get into college. Starting in freshman year, the idea of only 2 short years until you start taking the ACT or SAT for your college apps was daunting. It didn't hit me until the summer before senior year, but I really was freaked out about where I was going to end up. It starts with questioning your worth measured in grades, extracurriculars, and awards and doesn't end until you receive all of your college acceptances or rejections. All I'd want to say along with that is: you will end up where you belong. For most people, I feel like they do end up going to the college that is the best for themselves. They grow into the community and culture there and never ever remember the worry-filled nights they had in college surrounding college apps. Everything does happen for a reason.
The last thing I'd want to tell my younger self would be to not be embarrassed about what you're passionate about. In high school, around 14-15 years old (and still recovering from that eating disorder) I started to be inspired/look up to female fitness influencers who weightlifted. I'd always been active and had been in cross country in high school but stepping into the weights section of the gym was intimidating at the very least. As silly as it sounds, I was even secretive to my parents and friends what I did at the gym. I didn't want to say that I used the weights because what if people judged me? What if they asked me a question and I wouldn't be able to answer them? Would I look like someone who doesn't know what they're doing? I would honestly say that this hesitation is what made me take so long to "get into" weightlifting, which is something I regret. I want to shake my younger self to not be afraid of what other people would think about myself.
So, as a 19-year-old now, I don't know everything about the world and life, but I can say that even while struggling with things before and even now, going through these obstacles has made me into the person I am today (as cheesy as that sounds, it's true though).