During my past 19 years of life I had always felt rather lonely. That is, until I got here: college. However, these are things you simply cannot express to other people in your high school. In high school, you cannot risk seeming weak, because the vultures will prey on it. No one can ever know the real you, because you cannot risk your reputation. Well... to hell with your so called reputation. If I could go back, I know there are several things I would tell my old self.
1. Not all girls are mean like they are in high school.
Hold the phone! This is not a joke. Not all girls are not mean like they are in high school. Growing up, I was always that girl that was one of the guys, because the guys were just less drama. The sad thing is that it starts young. If you did not own an Aeropostale shirt in 5th grade, you might as well have been the kid that ate dirt. During high school, you try to do things, say things, wear things, and be something that you're not to impress people that you don't even like!
I'm here to let you know that college isn't like that... at all. Your best friends are girls that are exactly like you, yet they're their own person. You've only known these people for six weeks, yet you've shared more of who you truly are with them than you ever did with people from back home. And to be quite honest, you could probably be wearing a onesie and they would genuinely believe you are the fabulous person that you are.
2. People don't always thrive off your failures.
Growing up in a small town isn't the easiest thing in the world. Don't get me wrong, I will never forget where I came from. Marshall, Illinois gave me more scholarships and memories than I can ever repay it for. But the problem with small towns is that everyone knows everyone. We all know who has money, who goes to church on Sunday, and we even know the name of the crazy old man that rides his bike across town. While some of these things are convenient, everyone is waiting for you to fail. If you're in the lead for valedictorian and you get a B, your "friends" will be there for you, but they'll secretly be thriving off your loss. If you get a boyfriend, you better watch out cause next thing you know you're pregnant. You haven't noticed any symptoms, but man the town sure does know more about your life than you do.
However, true friends do not wish the worst for you. Good people are out there, you just have to find them. When you did bad on you first calculus test, your friend showed up to the dorms and surprised you with your favorite ice cream. When you go to college, you are surrounded by good vibes and constant happiness. There is no longer that sense of competition. All you want is for your best friends to be happy and successful, and I am sure they wish the same for you.
3. It's OK to ask for help.
I wish someone would have told you that it is OK to ask for help. I wish I could explain to eight-year-old-me that it wasn't your fault when you had melt downs. You are not your anxiety. You are not your depression. You are not your panic attacks. You are beautiful in every way. Finally, at 18 years old you admitted that prescription medicine might be the best way to go. This is nothing to be ashamed of; you know that now. Your only regret is that you did not reach out and ask for help sooner.
4. Money was tight, but it wasn't that tight.
You didn't have to eat a 30 cent doughnut for lunch every day in junior high. Mom wouldn't have been mad if you would have asked her to send the school money. I have talked to her myself, and you should have talked to her back then. Money was tight, but not tight enough you had to go hungry all day.
5. It will all work out in the end.
I remember being laughed at for being a "tryhard." Everyone teased that my math book was my bible and I should go study some more flashcards. All I wanted to do was explain my story to them. Maybe if they knew that in third grade my mom told me "I don't have a college fund for you," they would understand. Just to be clear, my mom was not saying this, because she did not want to help me. My parents would give me everything in the world if they could, but unfortunately some of us are dealt on the lower hand in life.
You didn't have to have to work as much as you did. You didn't need to work holidays and every weekend. You probably shouldn't have agreed to work until 12 a.m. on school nights. You should not have worried yourself sick about how you were going to pay for school. If only back then you would have known that you would pay off a 2011 Kia Soul and your first year of college without taking out loans, you would have saved yourself a lot of stress. But, life is beautiful and a crazy ride. There are ups and downs, so just enjoy the present and have hope for the future.
6. You are going to be someone.
There will be times when people will try to bring you down. There will be people that try and tell you that you are going nowhere in your life. There will be bullies that make excuses and say that you get handed everything. They’ll try to say you don’t deserve homecoming queen or team captain. But, do not, under any circumstances, give in to these people. Don’t let someone else’s envy make you doubt yourself; because, you are going to be someone.
I know this because you already are.
You were important then, and you are important now.
I wish I could go back and tell the old me where I would end up. But, I bet she wouldn't believe me. I'm OK with that though, because she was in for the best surprise of her life. The biggest piece of advice I can give is don't blink. One day you're struggling and stressing, and the next day you're walking to class on a beautiful campus, crying tears of joy because you did it. And you really did.
You made it.