My sister is 16 years old. No matter how much advice I try to give her, it seems to go in one ear and out of the other. When you’re about to leave secondary school, I suppose you have to worry about something, even if people tell you that you don’t need to.
I’ve grown in many ways since I was 16. Not much in height, a lot in confidence, and a lot into who I am. Looking back, this is what I would tell my 16-year-old self if I could.
Side note: I was about to intersperse this post with photos of 16-year-old Lisa Mae. But that would make the blog slightly torturous to read, so I’ll let your eyes off this time. You’re welcome.
- Stop worrying. It never helped anything, so keep plodding onwards and it will all come together.
- Your best friends now won’t necessarily be your best friends forever. There’s a magical thing called universiry and, if you choose to go, there will be an abundance of new people for you to meet.
- Exams aren’t the be-all and end-all of everything. Yes, they are important, but in five years you won’t be kicking yourself because you got a B in Maths when you were predicted to get an A. Get the grades you need to get where you want to go. Anything more than that is a bonus.
- Don’t worry about boys yet. If one has found you, that’s great, but even though your friend is in a ‘serious relationship’ it doesn’t mean that you have to be too.
- There’s no need to grow up too soon. Alcohol is a magical thing, and you’ll have all of your college days, uni years and twenties to figure out how much you can handle and what you don’t like. You don’t need to figure it all out now.
- Be kind to your teachers. Believe it or not, they’re humans too and they have real feelings. Showing that you’re listening or appreciated their help will go a long way.
- Talk to your parents every once in a while. They don’t expect you to pour out your heartbreak when the boy you fancied for years goes off with someone else. But they will appreciate knowing how your day went and a bit of chit chat when you get home. I know they’re annoying, but they want what’s best for you.
- Think about the future. It may seem like decades away, but in a few years you’ll have to apply for a degree or apply for a job. Take notice of what makes you happy, and there might be a way to turn it into your career if you’re very lucky.
- Follow your heart. If you’re really passionate about something, keep going with it, even if it isn’t particularly cool. If painting little figurines and playing World of Warcraft is your true joy, then carry on doing it. Your friends don’t need to know if you don’t want them to.
- Don’t let yourself be pulled into arguments. You’ll regret them later, and they add unnecessary drama to your life. If at all possible, find friends who shy away from this sort of bitchiness.
- Enjoy yourself. I spent most of my teenage years locked away in my room writing stories. If that makes you happy, do it. If you prefer going out every weekend, do that. If you follow your heart, you won’t have any regrets when you look back.
- The cool kids are probably the most insecure. The media tells us that in every school there are popular kids, regular kids, and uncool kids. There are equal levels of unhappy people in each of the three categories, and one is not better than the other. Whatever your social status, try to be civil to everyone.
- There is nothing good about bullying. Even though I’m sure your not the main bully, neither is is acceptable to sit back and watch someone be picked on day after day. Even if you feel like you can’t do anything to overtly, try to show anyone being bullied that they’re not alone and not worthless.
- If you’re being bullied, remember that all of these people will be out of your life so soon. There are lots of opportunities for fresh starts coming your way and it definitely won’t be like this forever. Hang in there.
- Be civil to your teachers. As you grow older, you’ll realise how self-sacrificing they’re being by agreeing to teach rowdy teenagers who don’t want to learn. You don’t have to be the teachers pet, but don’t terrorise them.
- School doesn’t last forever. No matter if you’re enjoying these years to the full or wishing them away, there will be a time when you get to make your own decisions, and it’s coming faster than you think. Make your mistakes now, learn from them, and use them to become a better person. You’re going to smash it.