16 years old, your sophomore year of high school -- you're trying so hard to find your place in the world. I remember it like it was yesterday. That's where my sister is right now. First AP class, soccer practices, too much homework, no sleep and no free time. I'm sure we've all been in a similar situation. Because of that, this is a letter to her, but also to all of you. We could all use a pick me up sometimes. So here are all the things I wish I had an older sister to tell me about.
You don't always need perfect grades
I know it's easy to get sucked into the competition of school, with everyone shouting out their GPA, SAT scores and what they got for question #4 on the last math test. Without even realizing it, you start to compare yourself to everyone you're talking to. Maybe you even feel bad when you find out your friend got an A on an essay and you got a B. Almost overnight, school goes from playing in sandboxes to staying up until 3 a.m. because you have 35 pages of reading for AP European History.
But I have a trick to surviving high school: just try your best! It's honestly as simple as that. If you have a hard time on a test that everyone else did great on, so what? If you got a C+ on an essay, so what? As long as you try your best and you're proud of the work you put in, the end grade isn't as important. School should be about learning, not grades. Don't get down on yourself; you're still going to be successful in life!
Having a date isn't that important
I remember being bummed out when all my friends had great relationships while I was single. I wanted to be the one going on dates and doing cute couple-y things. Even though all of that is fun, you're still super cool even when you're single! So learn how to be your own boyfriend. Take yourself out on dates, buy yourself presents and go to all the dances and parties even if you don't have a significant other to bring. You can totally have fun all by yourself.
Your art is amazing
I know you get down on yourself because you're not the greatest at math or science, but you're still smart! If everyone was good at the same thing, the world would be so boring. Math doesn't have to be your thing. Focus on what makes you unique-- maybe in your case, you love to make art. I know I haven't told you this enough, but you're super talented and I hope you stick with it. Stay true to yourself and follow your passions no matter what they are.
You're beautiful just the way you are
I really should have believed this when I was 16. There's no need to change anything about yourself to try to fit in. I never want you to feel like you have to dilute your personality to make other people more comfortable. No matter what you do, do it proudly. Be bold. Be courageous. Be loud, funny and wild, and embrace your big crazy hair that suits you so well. Never apologize for being exactly who you are. Sure, some people might not like it, but the people who stick around love you for your true self.
This goes along with having fun all by yourself. At the end of the day, you have to be your best support system. Taking care of yourself might make you think of eating enough vegetables, getting eight hours of sleep and getting exercise, but it's also about treating yourself and enjoying your life. Never skip out on ice cream or Netflix marathons, and give yourself a chance to have some fun.
And most importantly, remember I love you
You're the peanut butter to my jelly, the sun to my rain and the best little sister I could've ever asked for.