Hey, To Myself At 16-Years-Old, Listen Up

Hey, To Myself At 16-Years-Old, Listen Up

You'll soon start to forget these memories anyway, because you'll soon realize much better moments are to come worth remembering.

Dear Sharen,

You're about to start your junior year of high school. You aren't in the happiest state of your life, and I know. Just remember, things get better. Things get better if you really want it to. Don't cut your hair again.

You've had a rough break up and you've lost all the girl friends you've had due to this break up along with your over thinking and anxiety. No one wants to talk to someone who is constantly dragging them down because you are broken up. This is high school, not college. Friends don't give a shit about you until you get older, they really don't. They care about their image more than anything in these years.

College is where you find better friends. I'm telling you right now, people in college are all out on their own just like you will be. People will be more considerate when you're older. Don't lose hope in the term "friends". Your guy friends will all change. Guys are easy to get along with, true, but that does not mean they deserve the title as your best guy friends. You can find guy friends everywhere. Don't settle or it'll make you feel like you never want to leave home.

You shouldn't be so hung up on this guy who just broke up with you. You are making yourself believe that you are in love with him because of how much he's getting under your skin. That isn't how this works. You're about to date two guys who are amazing and deserve your attention, don't use them. Sure you love his family, but you are making yourself believe this is the only guy you'll ever find, that this is the only family that you'll ever meet. He isn't the only fish in the whole damn sea. You guys will get back together, but it honestly comes with delaying your life.

Appreciate your mom and your dad. Stop blaming them and their divorce for everything. You may want to be 16 forever, always under their aide, but once you're older, you WILL regret not humanizing them earlier. Everyone's the same age eventually... meaning dealing with the same problems. Dealing with trying to get the best deals, trying to be healthy in every day choices, struggling to make that last final paycheck last. Money runs the world, so don't waste your parent's money. Go out and find something to occupy yourself right now, rather than hanging out with friends. There's more to life than them. You'll soon start to forget these memories anyway, because you'll soon realize much better moments are to come worth remembering. Also, stop blaming them for yourself not being good in school because no one ever pushed you. You'll realize that your stubborn self is the only reason why you didn't end high school with a good GPA.

Explore, but don't explore too much. Just focus on school, I'm not shitting you. You're gonna get so caught up in loving the young adolescent life, partying and staying out late, that you aren't going to think you are good enough to go to a four-year university right out of high school. Honestly, you're going to regret it by the time you graduate community college, getting all A's, because you realized you could have been this good in academics in high school if you gave a shit about it earlier. But, it's not a bad thing to stay in cosmetology and go to that community college. Just know, that you will regret it a little bit for not being able to learn at your amazing university longer.

The next chapter of your life after letting go of the past is going to bring you to write something like this. It's going to bring you so much happiness that you're going to be a little saddened you hadn't figured it out sooner. Adulting isn't scary. It isn't going to ruin your young spirit. The only thing that's going to ruin you is holding yourself back because of everyone else besides you. You will get the chance to find yourself. You think you've found yourself already, but you haven't. You aren't a badass. You know absolutely nothing besides hate and depression.

Challenge yourself. Fast forward to 6 years and you ARE on the pursuit of being total badass material. Take my advice, and you'll probably be even greater with an awesome boyfriend who pushes you to be your absolute best, with many jobs lined up and a better sense of self. If not, you'll be just fine.


You in 6 years.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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Making a Decision: an Indecisive Guide

To all the indecisive people out there: you are not alone


I am the queen of indecision. For me, making a choice will have me frantically calling both of my parents, asking all of my friends' advice and postponing all studying until the decision is made. Of course, this is because I do not want to make a choice that I regret – such as the time I decided that starting my job at 6:30 am would be a good idea, or the time when I scared my friends with how hyper I was after drinking both coffee and Boba tea. Yet when I take this caution of making the wrong choice too far, the decision-making process itself ends up being regrettable. So much so that I called my mom approximately seven times this weekend to ask her advice on a decision. So much so that my brother used an example of me not being able to choose what kind of shoe I should wear in his article.

This weekend, I was presented with two amazing opportunities to make a difference in the world this summer and I entered a stage of decision paralysis that I did not know was possible. No matter which angle I looked at each situation from, they both would provide me with a phenomenal experience, and would both require sacrifices. Despite not (as of yet) reaching a concrete decision, I learned a lot about the decision-making process and what to do in the next time I am faced with a difficult choice. So, in the spirit of finding summer jobs, gearing up to register for classes and deciding what on earth we want to do with our futures, here are the tips and tricks that I would follow to make the best decision that you can.

Don't overthink it.


Really, this goes without thinking! Or, unlike most of us, it goes with a LOT of thinking! Seriously though, if you overthink things, they will turn into a pudding mush in your brain until you don't know what you don't know anymore. There is a very fine line between thinking through all your options and overthinking them – and judging by the number of times I called my mom this weekend, definitely crossed it.

Always use the pro-con list


Ah, the Gilmore Girls. Not only did you inspire me to read every single book under the sun or have a witty conversation full of cultural references no one else understands, but you also taught me the beauty of the pro-con list. Choosing what you want can be messy and difficult to find because of the fears you might have. distinguish from the fears. Writing it all down on paper can often illuminate the right decision and show you which path is ultimately better.

Decide on your make-or-break factor


Sometimes even the best pro-and-con lists will not be enough and will leave you in a frantic analysis ("should I go for the decision with 3 cons or 3.5 cons?") When even the Gilmore method fails, fear not! Consider which factors you truly do not want to compromise on and go from there. This can mean that even the worse decision may be the right one for you.

Trust your gut


As much as it is difficult to dig through your feelings to find your true motives behind a decision, your gut can sometimes tell you what you are most passionate about and therefore what decision is best for you to take. As my Emory Reads friends tell me, passion trumps everything. Choosing which decision aligns with your values will often lead you to make the best and most-satisfying decision.

But trust your head as well


But your gut can't always be trusted. It can lie to you, and when you overthink too much, it can change its mind. Your gut feeling may be one that is furthermore borne out of fear of the other option. In that way, I have made many a good decision based on the pure basis of rationality. Using only our heart to make important decisions allows fear to be one of the factors, whereas looking at the decision rationally can help you see the ultimate path.

Ask around


When I am puzzled about making a risky decision, I often consult the people in my life who are on my side and want the best for me. These people can help you gauge what your heart truly desires, bring up factors that you haven't considered and even act as a support network for you while making this decision. When your mind kicks into over-analysis, sometimes a fresh perspective is all you need to truly make a confident choice. Decisions are hard, people. Don't make them on your own.=

Don't ask everyone


There is such a thing as consulting others to make an important decision, and there is such a thing as relying on them to make your decision. If you ask too many people from too wide a pool, you'll end up having opinions for and against what you are proposing, which means that someone will always be disappointed in your decision. The bottom line is, asking too many people for their opinions is frustrating, no matter what – whether they have contradicting opinions, or they just nod their heads and go "hmmm, tough choice" (thanks, I guess?). In order to avoid frustration, consult the people in your life who know you the best and are dearest to you, rather than the stranger in front of you in line for fries at the DUC.

"Would my dad be proud?"


Or your granddad, or your mom, or your professor, or even a TV character. Whoever you know whose morals you can measure your decision up to will often provide reason and illumination. If the decision you are making is not too wild and you feel that you will have their approval, then it is likely not detrimental.

Stick with your decision!


Resolutely make up your mind and refuse to turn back. Exercise your right as a free individual to make a choice for yourself, and then do not second-guess it. Please don't do what I did and email a company two days later saying you've changed your mind. Please.

There is not always a right decision


Sometimes both decisions you are presented with have different but equally good opportunities. In that case, lucky you! You have two amazing opportunities and therefore cannot mess up. Rather than stressing that you are picking the wrong choice, know that you cannot go wrong in either.

Realize you will grow no matter what


Decision-making should be viewed as a challenge and a privilege rather than a burden. Make big, bold and beautiful decisions. Making up your mind can lead to a phenomenal experience that you will adore or a difficult experience that will only fashion you into a better person. Positive consequences can come out of any decision, even if we land in an upsetting position. Each choice we make can positively contribute to our character, fashioning us into the person we are becoming, day by day.

By the time this article is published, I will know my decision. And hopefully, by the end of this article, you will know yours. Let's continue to make decisions courageously, following both our heads and our hearts. Let's be determined to grow through our decisions, realizing that we have made the best choice we could, and never looking back.

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