May 2, 2012

A Letter To My High School Self

While trying to figure out the best advice to give my niece and nephew who are still navigating high school, I couldn't help but reflect back on my own high school years. There were things I loved, things I hated and things I wish I could go back and change. Would I go back and do it all over again? Yes--but only if I could do it with the wisdom that comes with hindsight and experience. (After all, I'm not completely insane.) Or at the very least, I wish I could send some advice to the teenage me. This is what I would say:

Dear Slacker Teen,

You did it! You made it through middle school. Now you just have to survive the next 4 years. I know the idea of high school is a bit daunting right now but, for the most part, it's not as bad as you fear. You're going to feel a little timid about getting involved in things at first--don't! Jump in with both feet! These years will go by so fast; soak up every experience.

When you get the chance to take Advanced classes, sign up--and stick with them. Challenge yourself. And when you get straight A's, don't start thinking you're all that. You're not. You will find out after you meet graduates from other schools that your 4.0 GPA is highly overrated. There are schools out there that have a much harder curriculum. Don't make the mistake of thinking you are smarter than anyone. And while we're there, throw out all your pedestals right now. No one deserves to be perched on one. Not boys, not friends, not teachers, not celebrities. Pedestals are rickety and unbalanced and the fall from one can hurt both you and the person seated on it.

Don't pick on any of the nerdy kids. It will take you awhile to admit it, but you are one of them. Those smart kids? Those drama geeks? Those goody two-shoes? They are some of the best kids you will ever become friends with. And while we're at it, don't pick on anyone. Ever. You have no idea what's going on with them inside or what they are dealing with at home.

When your best friend asks you to go to church with her, go. Don't wait, because when you get older you will find yourself wishing you had had more than 2 years' worth of devotionals, youth rallies, camp and hanging out with the youth group. Those kids will become lifelong friends and you will wish you had spent more time with them.

Spend less time with boys. Having a boyfriend isn't everything. Right now your Daddy is the only guy you need. Don't put yourself in a situation where you will have to deal with temptation. You are not strong enough. And when that boy that you are convinced you love threatens to break up with you unless you have sex with him, junk punch him and run in the other direction. Despite what you will think at the time, he is not The One. For that matter, neither are any of the other guys you will meet in the next few years, so don't waste your time. Trust me on this. You will meet your Prince Charming not long out of high school, and your relationship with him will be more than you ever imagined. Be patient; he's worth the wait.

You will have moments of bravery, moments when you put yourself out there and throw caution to the wind. Good for you! Do more of that! Be that girl and take risks. Don't ever let the opinions of others stop you from doing something you want to do. That is the person you will grow up to be. You will be the girl who dresses up when no one else does. You will be the goofy mascot or the loud cheerleader--whatever it takes to make your family and friends laugh and feel better. You will embrace every opportunity to perform in public--even if it means embarrassing yourself. You might as well start getting used to it now.

My last piece of advice for you is the most important. If I could go back and force you to do one thing, it would be this: Stop Worrying! Don't stress so much! Boys aren't worth it, you've got the schoolwork down, and you'll never see most of your classmates again after graduation. Just relax; have fun. Concentrate on enjoying your friends and doing what you love. Stay true to yourself and never mind anyone else. Once you get this lesson down, the rest is just cake.


  1. "junk punch"...yea I giggled when I read that...

  2. It is a nice thought to want to go back and give the younger version of yourself advice but cliche as it is you would not be the Sherri that I love if you had not experienced everything you have. :)

    And as usual, you made me giggle.