To the middle school girl,

Middle school sucks. As many times as your friends, parents, and babysitters have tried to tell you otherwise, you know it, I know it, and they know it, too. Everyone goes through the awkward phase and the dramatic phase. Some people never actually get out of that phase. While every experience is a little different, we've all done it and lived to tell about it.

First and most tragically, middle school girls are mean. SO mean. They're mean for all kinds of reasons ranging from jealousy to pure boredom. What you need to remember though, is that usually, the things they're saying have very little merit. Girls insult other girls when they want the things they don't have. Girls insult other girls when they're having a bad hair day or think the boy they have a crush on doesn't like them back. Girls insult other girls because they want to be more like them. Take those insults as compliments. If they're taking the time out of their day to think about you, you're doing something to get their attention.

People don't just disappear after middle school. For some reason, everyone seems to think that after 8th grade, all of the people you despised in middle school just go away. Sadly, this is the farthest thing from true. There are one thousand reasons you should try to be kind to other girls but this one should resonate the most with you. Being a bully in middle school really does carry with you through high school and sometimes into college and life. A reputation is way harder to break than it is to make. I run into mean girls 6 years after "graduating" from middle school and still consider them to be bad friends and untrustworthy people. Do yourself a favor now, make more friends than enemies.

The "cool kids" don't stay cool. It can be so incredibly tempting to want to be friends with the cool girls. Unfortunately, "cool" is short-lived. The worst part about the "cool group" is the damage they end up doing to themselves. They break house rules and consequently break the trust of their parents. They hurt others and consequently hurt the potential for friendships and opportunities later on. They break real-life rules and run the risk of dealing with tickets and police officers. Is it all worth being seen as one of the popular girls? Is it really worth risking it all? Trying to earn back the trust of your parents is one of the hardest things possible. No one loves you as your parents do but that means the hurt they feel when you break their trust is much worse than the hurt you cause others. Give it a few years, the cool girls won't be cool at all.

School matters. It may seem like the second you step into a high school you're setting the reset button and in some ways you're right, but in other ways, you could not be more wrong. High schools and colleges may not look at your middle school grades but the habits you create now will carry you through the rest of your time in school. Doing well in your classes will also determine the high school classes you're placed in and that absolutely DOES matter. Colleges look at your high school grades and class placements from your first day of freshman year to your last day of senior year.

Middle school is hard. Every single second of it. There are very few people you will meet in your life that will claim to love middle school. That being said though, middle school is super important. The friends you make and the habits you develop will not go away. Do yourself a favor and put in the work now. It'll pay off later.

Sincerely,

A Middle School Survivor.