We’re kind of loath to offer advice to ALL teenagers. But we do have a few choice words for our former teenage selves.
By Samantha Howard, Lindsay Patton and Tara Cavanaugh
Being a teenager is not cool.
You like movies like She’s All That and Ten Things I Hate About You.** Because in the movies, the teenage years look like an endless party. In reality, it’s an endless amount of mortification: pimples, parents, failures and frenemies as you figure life out. No worries. Later in life, you’ll find that most of the people you admire, the people who are interesting, funny and stylish adults, were totally awkward teenagers. I think it’s because high school only allows you a few categories (sporty/artsy/brainy). But most of us are a few combinations of that, and as an adult, you really do get to find your niche, and you really do blossom as a person. So no matter what a sitcom or a teen rom-com movie says, you will *not* blossom during your teenage years. Not as a person. Sorry. You’re all ugly duckling for now. You’ll be a swan after college. (TC)
**THIHAY is actually a fabulous movie. As far as teen rom-coms inspired by Shakespeare go.
You actually do have a talent or two.
There reaches a point in even the most self-respecting young gal’s life where you’ll think all of those compliments your teachers and parents are giving you are just to pad your ego because you know, it’s easy to feel like you’re great, but not amazing. Those collages you’re making when you’re bored on the weekend, or the weird fact that you can still recite half of The Wife of Bath’s Tale from the Canterbury Tales, those things add up. Perhaps your wandering curiosity comparing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World will amount to something cool someday. Oh don’t worry, little Sam, it will. (SH)
Open up a fucking book.
Being a slacker and acting ignorant isn’t cool. Maybe if you read Animal Farm in high school, you would understand how communism worked before you turned 20 years old. Good lord, you’re an idiot. No wonder nobody wanted to date you until you turned 22. Seriously. Go and read something right now. Learn about the world and how it works. And don’t pick Catcher in the Rye. It’ll just make you lazier and stupider. (LP)
Things are not going to the go the way you planned and that’s totally fine.
If you were to compare the high school life plan versus what actually unfolded, brain matter might fall out of your ears. College in Philadelphia? Nope! Majoring in journalism or education? Forget it! Quit over-planning and just do some stuff! It’s all going to work out as long as you keep working hard. Those girls you thought you’d never live without are going to slowly find their own way elsewhere and that’s okay. There are other friends and other plans. (SH)
Wear whatever the hell you want.
At your age, you can wear the latest trends, you can dye your hair purple, you can get a nose ring, you can deck yourself in thriftshop finds. Do it. Wear it. Wear it all. Later, as an adult, you’ll try to cultivate a “sense of style” for yourself. But for now, wear whatever the hell you want. If you took this kind of attitude to heart, maybe you’d stop making yourself late to school because you were obsessing over your wardrobe. (TC)
You act like you don’t care what anybody thinks about you. If that were the case, you wouldn’t be so afraid to talk in class or say ‘Hi’ to people in the halls, let alone talk to the person sitting in the seat next to you. It might surprise you, but there are some people that think you’re pretty funny. Sure, it may not go the way you’d like it to some times, but it sure beats sitting uncomfortably in your seat, drawing pictures of dolphins and birds while everyone else is talking during ‘free time.’ (LP)
You’re eating pizza for lunch every day and yet you are so tiny!
Girl, appreciate that. That doesn’t even make sense and it’s happening. (SH)
Going to your church’s youth group every week makes you feel like you fit in and are popular, but you’re kind of an asshole because of it. Stop judging your friends for doing things you wouldn’t do, because soon they’ll all get sick of you. Just do your best to get it out of your system as fast as possible, because for crying out loud, you’re going to college soon and while everyone else is partying, what will you be doing? PLAYING BOARD GAMES. You’re eventually going to become (SPOILER ALERT!) one of those evil atheists, so stop wasting your time. (LP)
So what would YOU tell your teenage self?