Today is your first day of high school, and other than making a number of us feel old, I’m excited for what you’re about to go through. High school is this weird place, but I guarantee you that you won’t peak there and you’ll make it out alive. I thought I would write down some advice for you. While you generally ignore my advice (as I normally ignore yours), I hope you realize this comes from a place of love and experience, please don’t roll your eyes too much.
Grades Matter: High school grades matter so much, and while you are not your grade, do figure out a system that allows you to get things done well. Your teachers care, make sure to give them a little grace. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, no one is too smart for help.
Give it your best, then let it rest: Give what you commit your time to your best. That means grades, sports and volunteering. But after you given it your best, let it rest and walk away. If you couldn’t quite get that A, or didn’t make varsity at least you can say you did your best. That’s all that really matters down the line.
Trust Few, Be Kind to Many: High school is rough as it is, try to think the best of everybody. Find a couple people you can trust and be there for them when times get tough. Keep their secrets and trust they will keep yours.
You’re going to change: If you don’t, you’re not doing it right. You might grow out or away from certain friendships, but that’s okay. People change and while it’s sad, try to make your distance amicable. Don’t burn too many bridges. But burn them if that person just isn’t good for you. Accept that you’ve changed, and I know that it will be for the better.
You do You: If you want to date, then date. (text me first though). If you want to be single and fabulous then do that. But if you date, be your own person. Do your own thing, no guy (or girl, all God’s children) is ever going to complete you. One day you’ll find someone who complements you really well, but until then be your own person.
Try new things: It may not be cool, or what all of your friends are doing. But try news things. You may find new best friends, a new passion or get a better idea of what you don’t like! Don’t be afraid of going on a trip without your friends, or taking a class that you don’t know anybody in. You can make friends, but you can’t make up for lost experiences.
You don’t have to figure it all out: You don’t have to know what you want to do, or which college you want to go to. You don’t have to know which person you like or what dress you’ll wear for homecoming. Time will bring the answers, just keep doing you.
You are enough: You yourself are enough for anybody. You don’t need to be more of anything than yourself. You don’t need to be more like me, or our brother. You don’t need to be more like Mom or Dad. You definitely don’t need to be more like anyone your own age. You are enough just the way you are, and I don’t think you can hear that enough.
You have at least 4 people who will always be there: Maybe I’m a little biased, but you have this wonderful family who just wants to see you succeed. Whether I’m 2 hours by plane or car away, whether our parents are doing taxes or fighting crime, whether our brother is watching football or studying we are all just a call away. If we’re not there for whatever reason, we have grandparents, second parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who will be there for you. Don’t take them for granted.
Have fun: Go to bonfires, coffee houses and parks with your friends. Try out that new festival, but take advantage of just hanging out at home Make a couple bad decisions (sorry Mom & Dad, but seriously don’t break any real laws). Don’t total a car though (seriously, 2 in this family is enough).
Don’t do something because everyone else is: I get that high school is hard, and fitting in is great. You already are so great at just doing you, but if the time ever comes that you don’t know if you should do something, don’t. Or call me, and we’ll talk it out.
Mom & Dad are right, but call me too: You may not know it yet, but you’re pretty lucky to have two older siblings who have pretty much been through it all. Butting heads with parents is something all teenagers must do, but try and pick your battles. Mom and dad don’t do things the way every parent does, but they’ve churned out two pretty good kids so far, just trust them. They did it all too, so they are wiser than you think. Remember that their advice comes from a place of love and experience. I really hate to tell you this, but at 14, you have so much to learn. At 21, I still have a ton to learn too. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, so take our advice as it comes. (Don’t let this go to your heads parents)
Above all, I love you. You’re going to be so much better at high school than I was, and I’m excited to see what the next four years holds for you. Because you’re going to do amazing things A, and no, this does not mean you can borrow my shirt.