Dear Jess

You probably can’t even imagine what you’ll be like at this age, but this is future Jess at 18 years old.  I know, 2017 seems like so far away doesn’t it?!

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There are a few things I thought you might want to know, but I trust that you’ll pick up most of your good habits and qualities throughout your time at school.

Take what you will from this letter, there’s absolutely no pressure for you to follow.  You’ll make the right decisions for yourself.

Perspective

Being deep inside the school, where you are now, you can see only the flaws and inadequacies of a system that is geared towards making money.  Try to take some time out to really think about all the opportunities that are open to you and consider what it would be like to go to a different school.  It is in the school’s interest to keep your best interests at heart.

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As much as it might be frustrating, try to look beyond the silly follies of your brother.  He has a good heart, don’t corrupt it.  Be gentle on him, and on yourself.  He is not a younger version of you so don’t expect him to act the same way as you do.  He’ll do things his own way, and maybe even do it better.

Create Yourself, But Don’t Force Yourself

You know that all those well-meaning pieces of advice of ‘Be Yourself‘ and ‘Stay True to Yourself‘ can only be implemented once you know who you are – but you have no idea who you are.

That’s OK.

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These years are for creating your character.  You know that well too, but be careful in the way that you go about creating yourself.

A good exercise is to list all the qualities that you have (aim for about 20 but the more the merrier!) then list all the qualities you wish you had.  Then try to think up reasons for why you want those qualities.

If those reasons are for yourself, for your own personal growth, then keep them.  If they’re for the benefit of other people, don’t.  You’ll have to live with yourself, after all.

Once you’ve highlighted the character traits you have a decent reason to achieve, think of activities you could do to help you develop them.  If it’s leadership, lead your Gold DofE team (you’ll find it quite fun, I promise!); if it’s to explore your interests, try out different things; if it’s to express yourself, write a blog.  You won’t regret any of these.

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The wrong way to go about developing these traits is to act.  For sure, fake it til you make it but keep this as a last resort – it’s uncomfortable for you and for others if you try to suddenly develop a thirsty flirty side.  Stay classy and you won’t regret anything 😉

Basically, try not to pretend to be something or someone you’re not and don’t force the conversation.

Don’t be afraid to speak up.  Whether you want to say hi to someone but don’t know if they’ll blank you (most likely they won’t, but if they do the fault lies with them not you) or if someone does something you’re not comfortable with, speak up.  Your opinion is valuable.

Sleep

Honestly, you won’t know the value of sleep until your final 1.5 years at school.  You won’t be a very tall gal so any small help will be needed – sleep and you’ll grow taller!

It might feel like a total waste of time at some points when you have so much you need/want to do but so little time; but trust me, all the successful people prioritise sleep.

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However, don’t beat yourself up if you pull one or two all-nighters – you just won’t be able to function the next day (no matter how well you think you’re managing) and you won’t pick up a liking for coffee.  Sorry.

Time Management

I don’t have to give you too many tips on this – you’ll do fine.  Just make time for the stuff you want to do as well as all the work you need to do so that you stay sane.

You control your time.  Nobody can steal your time away from you.

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Find organisational ways that work for you.  Some pointers in case you need some tips:

  • Use a calendar app.  Solcalendar syncs up to Google Calendar too AND it has the added function of to-do checkboxes!
    • Block out the time you have to be in school
    • Block out the time you have commitments (like karate, chess, music lessons etc)
    • Block out the time you make commitments to yourself (like practice time, gym, homework, chores – the sign of a successful person)
    • All the rest is your free time!
  • Habitica is also an excellent way of managing your habits and daily to-dos.
  • Write down homework (including the ones set online) in your diary or homework diary and tick them off when you’re done.  So satisfying.

Make sure to prioritise all the stuff you want to do though, you won’t have enough time to do everything!

Relationships

This is perhaps the area that you will struggle with the most.

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It’s OK for someone to not be interested in you, just as it’s OK for you to not be interested in someone.  If they’re not mature about it, that’s not your fault.  You can’t change them, but you can focus on your reaction.

And don’t worry, a lot more people are far less ‘experienced’ than they let on 😉

Summary

Although sometimes it might not feel like it, you’re doing great.  Keep grinding on and trust me, everything will work out.  You might even pick up blogging, something you thought only interesting people could do, and find out that people are actually willing to read your work!

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Keep up the good vibes and the hard work 😉

Jess at 18

P.S.  Thanks to Doni for having me on her blog!  It’s been so much fun writing this, and I hope that this can reach out to people who might feel like they’re mediocre or boring.  I thought so too, but with time and experience, you’ll find your strengths and your values!

Good luck 🙂

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