Just as every girl is unique, so is their high school experience. For girls like me, my high school years were some of the greatest years of my life up until now. I look back on my high school years and all I can do is smile. I'd go back and do it all again in a heartbeat if I could. But for many girls, high school was far from a good time. Of course I didn't realize how great it was until it was over. "You don't know what you've got until it's gone" - in my case, this was exactly right.
I had highs but I also had many lows. I went through the typical phases of a teenage girl. I encountered huge amounts of drama. I lost friends and I made new ones. I fought with girls I didn't know over boys who didn't deserve me. At times, I felt inferior. I got in my share of trouble. I tested my parents' patience and I lost their trust. When I got bad grades, I thought it was funny. I did what all the other girls my age did. At first, I just wanted to feel included. Before I knew it, it was all second nature and I had become completely consumed by conformity.
There are so many things I know now that I wish I knew in high school. I had tried so hard to fit in and keep up with my peers that I failed to realize something I consider very important today. Why was I trying so hard to be like everybody else? I didn't realize that being my own, unique self would get me much further in life. I realize I had being trying to grow up way too fast.
To the girls who are growing up way too fast in high school,
Stop and take a minute to breathe. Although it may seem important to you now, the measures you may take to get you where you want to be may just be the ones that tear you down.
You may have your mind tied around being the prettiest, most popular girl in school. You may think that you have to wear clothes that everyone else is wearing. You may put on way too much makeup each day because you are scared of looking ugly. You probably think you have to do these things because you are terrified of being judged for your imperfections. It's okay to admit it, I admit I did the same.
Years later I realize how ridiculous I was for wearing so much makeup to school and for always worrying about my appearance. Going into the bathroom between every class to check myself or staring at myself in the mirror hanging in my locker. The majority of high school girls have acne yet I was upset to go to school with a pimple. I was unhappy with my body and I was constantly comparing myself to others. I was so hung up on covering my imperfections that I didn't realize that everyone often shares common flaws and insecurities.
If you're anything like me, you will slightly drift from your parents during these four years. You will do things you know they do not approve of, and after you get caught you will act like you don't care. Regardless of the knot inside your stomach, you will sneak around and lie anyway. I hate to say it, but it's a teenage girl thing and it is almost inevitable.
Years later I look back on some of the choices I made and some of the positions I put my parents in. You may think your parents are being unfair or uncool, but in reality they always know what is best for you. You may think they are depriving you of your freedom but they were your age once, they know why you want to do the things you do. I wish I knew how much I would benefit from just being honest with them.
When it comes to academics, work your ass off. At the time, I thought I was working as hard as I could. Looking back now, I could've done so much better. Do your best and get good grades. Believe it or not, they matter. When you do well, be proud. Never dumb yourself down for anyone. It's not cool to not do your homework or not study for an exam. Intelligence is so attractive - playing dumb isn't. If you don't do your best, you'll get to college and regret it. Trust me.
Don't take your time at home for granted. Appreciate your hometown. Appreciate being within a few miles of your best friends and your favorite places. Appreciate seeing the same faces you've seen from elementary school, through middle school and high school. Appreciate coming home from school to your parents, your pets, and a home-cooked meal. Before you know it, you'll be moved out and taking care of yourself. Soak it all up while you can.
Girls are growing up way too fast these days. Don't do it. You'll regret it I promise.
A girl just like you