A Letter To My High School Self: Katie, North Central College

To My High School Self,

Hi Katie! I’m writing this letter to you not only because the rest of the CollegeCandy writers have decided to do this, but because sometimes writing letters can be a therapeutic experience.

If I know you, right now you’re probably worried about something. (Sorry to tell you this, but that never changes. You’ll still be worried about everything at 24 years old. You’ll still be struggling with anxiety.) But listen, I totally get why you’re scared or nervous or filled with worries. High school can be a terrifying place, and while I know you have amazing friends and family that are easing the growing pains you’re going through right now, it’s still okay to be a little scared. Just know one thing: everything is going to be okay. Everything is going to work out.

I’m going to toss some advice your way in regards to relationships. You’re in high school right now, which means you have an insanely large crush on a certain guy. Be careful with this one. Just focus on yourself and what makes you happy rather than following him around like a little puppy dog. Right now, I know you think that he will never notice you (he will), and I know you think that all guys think you’re repulsive (they don’t). When it comes to love, I want you to remember to love yourself first and foremost. Feel worthy. Feel like you’re pretty and sweet and funny because then other people will think the same. Have confidence in yourself because you deserve to! Confidence is happiness. Assertiveness is wise.

So the next time you start falling for a guy, make sure you and he are on common ground. Never agree to something that you’re not happy or comfortable with. Demand the best for yourself and never falter from that. You’re worth everything you need to be happy in a relationship. If he is not willing to put in the effort for you then tell him goodbye. Another one will come along—and let me tell you something, you’re going to experience real love. You’re going to experience great love. I think you might have watched The Notebook recently, so like, just think of that kind of love—you’re going to have that someday! See! All is not lost, High School Katie!

Let’s address something else while were at it. YOU ARE NOT FAT. So stop. Just stop. Stop exercising until you feel faint. Stop dieting. Stop feeling like a giant failure after you eat one cupcake. Stop obsessing over food. Stop analyzing every single nutrition fact sheet. Stop counting calories. Stop writing journal entries that are dripping with self-loathing. You’re going to drive yourself insane wishing that you could be thinner.

You’re convinced no guy will ever look at you like you’re sexy or desirable, but I have super good news—they will. You’re going to have guys like you despite the fact that you have a bit more meat on your bones, and that’s a good thing! No one is perfect, and you need to accept yourself in order for others to accept you. I know you think that you need to be super thin in order to be loved, but you’re so very wrong. Guys will fall in love with you. Pretty cool, right? I thought so.

Lastly, cut your parents some slack. I know that sometimes they annoy the hell out of you. They ask too many questions about what you’re doing or where you’re going and who you’re going there with. They continually cross the privacy boundaries.  Let me fill you in on one thing–they only do this because they love you. They love you, a lot. Contrary to what you think right now, they do understand you. They raised you! They support you in everything you do, and they only want the best for you. They are not out to ruin your life. Try a little harder to grace them with a bit of your time. The moments spent with them will become more and more rare the older you get, and believe it or not, you’re going to miss them when you go away to college.

Don’t be afraid of change. Take some risks. Take lost loves and friends in stride. Learn from your mistakes. (You’re still making a bunch of those, by the way.) Remember to believe in yourself and pray when you’re feeling lost and love everyone around you. Treat others with kindness and respect. Don’t be reckless with other people’s feelings. Stand your ground when people hurt yours. Remember to smile. Keep readings lots of books. Be honest. Be brave.

Good luck,

Post-Grad Self

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!

Katie recently finished her undergrad at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. She enjoys wasting hours on Facebook and tweeting things no one cares about. When asked the question, “Do you do marathons?” She promptly responds, “Of course! Which show?” Follow her @KatieGarrity! Or read her personal blog where she talks incessantly about Ryan Gosling and hummus here!

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