Dear 13 year old me,
Congrats on finishing middle school! I can remember feeling like middle school was the end-all-be-all, so finishing it actually means that there is more to life than the Lizzie McGuire fantasy. I wanted to write you a letter because looking back I feel like 13 is when everything actually started. I wanted to give you a little advice that you can use each year in your life since, well, I've already been through it.
Let's start off with 14:
Ah, freshman year. If theres one huge setting event that you should be aware of it is that yes, braces made all the difference. You had a hard time getting a boy to even look at you but let me tell you those struggles are about to end. You'll have your first real boyfriend this year. He's a really nice guy and cares a lot about you. Make sure that you don't take advantage of that because the second you do, it'll become a habit. Also, I can not reiterate enough that staying loyal to the people who support you is so important. There are friends who have been around your entire life. They are so much more important than the people who you're trying to impress. I know that it is hard to believe but being popular in high school is so minuscule and the friendships you preserve could last you a lifetime. Don't buy into any bullshit about changing the way you are just to be cool. Trust your instincts. Also, freshman Friday isn't a real thing and it is okay to wear blue on the first day of school.
I'm not going to lie, 15 years old is such a tough age. Not just for you, but for everyone around you. It is the last year that your mom is still driving you around and you're not quite an upperclassman, so don't be fooled that you are not at the bottom of the food chain. 15 is especially tough for you because you will have your first broken heart this year. Honestly, it will change everything. Your friendships, your confidence, your relationships. It'll take a real toll on you but the most important thing to remember is that you got through it. Yeah, it was really hard and the people around you in school definitely did not make it easier. However, it is one of the most important stepping stones in your life that made you who you are today. Don't discount that.
On a lighter note, being 16 is the most fun age of your life thus far. From going to a pretty depressing sophomore year, everything turns around junior year. One of the biggest points I can make about junior year is to just enjoy it while it lasts. School will get pretty hard but it is so important to also have some fun. High school seems like it lasts forever, but it doesn't.
Finally, it is senior year. You can watch any chick flick ever made to get the idea of how senior year goes. However, your senior year was a little bit different. The difference between you and your friends is that you will have a pretty serious boyfriend who is away at college. You will constantly be asked, "why are you wasting your senior year dating someone you only see once a month." I'm here to tell you, stay strong in your answer. Don't let the past keep you from the experience. Yeah, senior year of high school is meant to be a last hurrah and most people don't like to be tied down, but you do. It's not considered "tied down" if you don't actually feel tied down. Every relationship, good and bad, is so important. It helps you grow as a person, and this one is no exception. I can assure you that you'll never look back and regret being "tied down" and I know most people can say the exact same thing about their own experiences. Situations always feel more suffocating than they are. If you ever feel like something is too much, step back and think of all the reasons you are thankful for that situation. I guarantee it'll help you feel less stuck and more grateful.
Woooo, adulthood! 18 is amazing, I don't have much to say about 18. If I could give you one lasting piece of advice, it would be to say YES to everything. It is your first year in college, make sure you are experiencing it to the fullest. With that being said, it is also important to know that keeping your mental health in check is most important. It is okay if you don't go out that one Friday night. Trust me, FOMO is real but so is driving your friends to the ER with alcohol poisoning.
Here, we reach the tough age. Currently, I am 19. I know what you're thinking, "19 is such an irrelevant age." Well, you're kind of right. I chose to write this letter because this has been one of the hardest years of my life. Every time I turned a corner I felt like something was falling apart. Things were falling apart with the sorority, with friendships, and with just life in general. 19 is the first year when you realize that maybe not everything always works itself out. You'll loose the only person you truly believed could make you happy. But, if there is one thing I can say about sophomore year of college it's that, just like sophomore year of high school, it is a learning year. Sometimes you need to fall down and get kicked in the dirt before things can turn around.
All in all, you're going to do some pretty cool things with your life. You're gonna go to a good school and you're going to decide to be a teacher. Isn't that all the matters?