A Letter to My 13-Year-Old Self

A Letter to My 13-Year-Old Self

If only I had learned this earlier.

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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).

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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The Importance Of Passion

Without it, you'll never get where you want to be.

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I've been told time and time again that I'm "pigeonholing" myself.

I've been told what I want to do with my life makes no sense.

I've been told that my desired career field is small, and therefore unrealistic.

I've been told not to set such a specific goal for myself, and that having my heart set on something makes me narrow-minded.

I've been told that keeping my goal in mind is just closing myself off and that it's therefore obsessive.

Although it's important to keep an open mind, it's also important to keep in mind what makes you happy. You'll go nowhere if you aren't passionate about what you're doing. If your heart isn't there, you won't be fully present. Passion is the fuel to your fire; it drives us to better ourselves each and every day. It makes us more determined, and more willing to rise to challenges. Passion can take you extremely far, and help you bring something entirely new to the table.

In my opinion, passion is one of the most vital character traits one can have. Passion is what sets you apart from others. It's clear when you're discussing something you're really into, and it's often commendable. It gets people invested in your conversation and really helps drive home the point you're trying to get across. It's something people will remember when you walk away.

As a college student, I am well aware of the fact that I need to keep an open mind. And I am keeping my mind very open. There's a difference between closing oneself off and having a goal to work towards, although many seem to believe there is a very thin line (if any line at all) between the two. There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting a goal for yourself. Having a "grand plan" is a great way to keep yourself motivated. I know that I need to take what I'm given, and that's what I plan to do... but I see anything I do prior to reaching my goal as a step to really get there.

I'll leave you with a quote... anyone who knows me will not be surprised that the quote that immediately comes to mind is from my all-time favorite musical, A Chorus Line. As stated in the show by Cassie, "I want to do what I love as much as I can and as long as I can. But at least, now - I'm doing it for me. Who are you doing it for?"

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