By NATALIA HAWK
Dear 16-year-old self,
I know I’ve written to you before, but I really wanted to bash another letter out. Because that letter was all about behaviour and making sure that you know not to shoplift.
This one is about things I want you to know before you leave high school in just over a year. Because I know you, and I know you’re feeling quite lost. And you’ll continue feeling quite lost all through year 11, and year 12.
It’s the period of time during which you are bombarded with advice and possibilities and orders and pressures. All while juggling dozens of hormonal friends and trying to find a formal dress.
As a result, you will end up spending your first year out of high school working a part-time job you hate and doing a uni degree you’re not quite sure about. And even the combination of the two leaves you with a lot of spare time, so you really just spend all of 2009 eating cheese & spinach puffs, napping and generally being exceptionally unproductive.
Anyway. I’ve just finished reading Rebecca Sparrow’s new book, Find your feet (the 8 things I wish I’d known before I left high school). I know that I’m 22.5 years old now and therefore five years out of high school and therefore the book is not actually particularly relevant to me whatsoever… but hey, it’s Bec and I would actually read her shopping list (like a creep) if she would let me.
As a result, I’ve come up with 5 things I’d like you to know before you leave high school – hopefully they’ll save you some time and some tears. Some of them are from Bec’s book and some of them are my own creation. Please read carefully and then destroy so nobody knows you’re getting messages from the FUTURE.
1. Your parents generally know best.
This one is exceptionally annoying, but something you will regularly come to realise over the next however-many years. Your parents want only the best for you. Also, they are smarter than you and have been around for longer, having done many amazing things over the years, so they generally know what’s best for you.
So when they give you life advice – don’t dismiss it. When they hate your boyfriend (not that they ever tell you that, but you know it anyway) – there’s probably a reason. When they tell you that you shouldn’t just do a journalism degree because it’s damn hard to get a job in journalism – they are not trying to kill your dreams. They’re being practical. Stop being such a drama queen.
2. Give up on 2 unit maths.
You’re not a giver-upper – but it’s time to grasp the whole concept of “understanding your strengths”. You’re not good at maths and you never will be, so stop trying.
You will waste 4 days of excellent HSC-studying-time in 2008 trying to understand quadratic equations when you could be getting to know more about the Aztecs and conquistadors (what an excellent word) – something that actually makes sense in your brain.