A Letter To My High School Self: Ellen, University of Manchester

Hey there 17 year old me,

What’s up? How’s it going? Wait, I already know. It’s pretty terrible right now. You’ve just been dumped for the first time by your first ‘real’ boyfriend, and then dumped even harder by your best friend. You’re hanging out with some shady people, and doing some things you won’t be so proud of in a few years. No, believe me, you’re going to look back on some of these decisions and regret them.

But it’s okay, because it all works out. One day you’ll actually be the girl 6-year-old-you dreamed about becoming. So you can relax. But hey, why not get started on the road to self-improvement a little bit early, and cut out a year of crying and doing stupid things? Here’s what you need to know, girl.

Stop wasting your time on guys who are idiots. That guy you’re obsessing over? He’s actually an idiot. He’s rude, he’s dumb, and you deserve a lot better. You’ll realize that pretty soon, because in a few years time you’re going to meet someone incredible, who actually cares about you and who’s actually worth being with. Trust me, he’s amazing, and you’re going to be so happy. So don’t waste your time crying over a guy who tells you that you’re boring, and who makes you feel like your body has a defect. Ignore him when he makes you feel like no-one will ever be attracted to you. Walk away, and don’t look back. He was never worth it and he never will be.

Give up on the friends that gave up on you. You’re not weak for caring about them, but crying over what they did won’t make it better. I know you loved them like sisters, but they let you down when you needed them most. Move on, and don’t let them break you. Forget about the rumours and the bitching. Stop skipping class just to avoid hearing people talk about you. Walk into school with your head held high, and focus on what you truly love: learning. Work hard, not because you won’t get good grades otherwise, but because you know that deep down you love learning. You love books, and writing essays, and getting the best grades you can. Pour your energy into that, focus on what the teacher’s saying instead of the girls sitting around you.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re fat, or ugly, or stupid. Don’t let them call you a slut. Turn around and say something, show how strong you are. Show everyone who you are. Follow your passion and embrace it – wear the clothes you want, be independent, write stories, pursue your dreams, get an A in maths while also loving fashion. Don’t be ashamed any more, because you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. You are strong. Strong for surviving, strong for forgiving, strong for doing what you want. Stop pretending, because deep down you know who you really are and what you want, and what you’re doing right now doesn’t reflect who you are. Start working towards who you want to be, and be patient. Happiness is just a few years away.

– Ellen

PS: Start saving some cash for plane journeys, you’ll need it to see someone pretty special.

A lot changes between high school and college. Living away from your family (sometimes far, far away), leaving behind old friends and making room for new ones, gaining roommates and professors and a few hangovers — over the course of just a few years, you look back on your high school self and realize just how different you were way-back-when.

Because we can’t actually travel back in time and impart wise words on our 17 year-old selves, we’ve decided to do the next best thing. Over the coming days, you’ll see letters on the site from the CC staff writing to their high school senior selves. If you’re getting ready to graduate and are looking for a little guidance before setting foot on campus in August, take notes. We’ve been through it all and want you to learn from our experiences — for better or worse.

Read All the Letters Here!

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