What I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was 13

How excited you are to start high school! I know you have all these big ideas and expectations of what it’s going to be like and I don’t want to crush your dreams by telling you they won’t all come true, but I want to let you know that the next five years might not always be what you hoped them to be.

First things first: yes, this is better than primary school. You are definitely going to have more friends, but that doesn’t mean you need to try too hard to get in with the popular kids. That tall girl you saw by your locker on the first day, sticking that poster of Chad Michael Murray on the door, she is going to be the longest lasting friend you will have in your life to date.

You are never going to be the most popular girl in high school, but that’s okay, because the friends you’ve made will be of better quality than any of the ones you wanted to be friends with.

Sometimes it’s better to keep things to yourself. I know that coming from a small town may sometimes make you feel isolated and you get overexcited in big crowds, but you don’t need to say every thought that comes into your head. No offense, but they are not always terribly well developed and sometimes the other kids don’t quite get what goes on in there. That does not mean they are bad thoughts and you need to change who you are, because one day those thoughts are going to make you really special — but right now you don’t need to make things harder for yourself.

Don’t push yourself and don’t rush into anything you don’t feel comfortable with. Everything happens for a reason but you don’t need to force yourself into ‘life experiences’ for the sake of experiencing life. Don’t do something just because you ‘think’ everyone else is doing it.

Also, it’s good to keep in mind that boys growing up are years behind girls mentally, so really, that boy you are “dating” is technically 11. Ew.

Those blonde streaks that are in your bangs? Yeah you know, the ones that are in your school picture? They are a terrible hair choice — what were we thinking? Also please, please do NOT buy that white Eminem-esque tracksuit. It’s so terrible and you will only wear it one time during school camp and it will get super dirty and everyone will laugh.

Try and get involved in more school activities. No, you might never become (miraculously) super athletic, but there is a drama club that you might fall in love with. You’ll wish you had started sooner.

Attend more classes and be attentive when you are actually in class. I know you don’t care now, but when you finish school and are trying to hold a semi-intellectual conversation and you reply, “Oh, I went to Gestapo the other week, I found the plate sizes too small and not worth the hype…” People will wonder what you are on about. Much like smoking, missing classes does not make you as cool as you think it does.

Always remember to tie up your sports uniform bottoms! You are going to be pantsed one afternoon by someone who you thought was ‘your friend’ and you will be wearing a thong, and everyone will see your bottom, and you will not live it down for a good two weeks. When that does happen, be strong and try to laugh it off. Embarrassment fades. You may feel like the literal butt of the joke now, but someone else will be a month from now, and your shame will be all but forgotten. That’s how the world works.

Remember what your mom said: bullies only bully because someone is bullying them, too. Telling 8 year olds this back in primary school didn’t really help, and it won’t help now either as 90% of the time, your bullies will still look at you like you are an idiot. Carry this knowledge like a shield, not a weapon.

Now, I know all this might sound a bit silly, and you are not going to listen to my advice at all, because at the end of the day I know you and you will always do what you want to do. You are guaranteed to open your mouth without thinking, you will go behind the sports building to experiment and you’re always going to skip classes to hang out with the older kids or your boyfriend (who, by the way, you really should dump sooner rather than later.) But I know you are going to do it your way and when you have finally gone through all the bullshit that high school throws at you, you will be a better person because of it. In the meantime, though, all I really want you to know, that just as the cheesy rom-coms you love tell you, it really does get better. TC mark

image – Ajari

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