Dear Aoife,

I know you’re probably stressed out right now. That seems to be your default state – stressed about school, stressed about friends, stressed about the future. I get it. But try not to worry too much. School is important, and good grades are important. But they’re not more important than your mental health. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be perfect, because being perfect literally doesn’t exist (I know your mam tells you this all the time, but she’s right!). It’s cliché, but your best is really all you can do.

People won’t always notice all of the effort that you put in. It can feel like you try your hardest and give your everything and get nothing in return. Be thankful for those who do notice your efforts, but don’t worry about those who don’t. What’s most important is that you’re proud of yourself. The value you place on your own self-worth is far more important than what anyone else thinks of you.

Listen to as much different music as you can and keep collecting vinyl. It will make you feel very cool when you’re in your 20s and have a big collection to show off! Buy clothes that will last and that you’ll want to keep wearing. One day you’ll be able to proudly tell people that the dress you are wearing was bought 5 years ago for your 15th birthday!

Find the balance between work and play- take study breaks! Prioritise people who make you feel good about yourself, and don’t worry about the people who don’t. Friends will come and go, that’s life. Try not to take it personally.

It’s never embarrassing to ask for help. I know you’re smart, but you don’t know everything and you can’t figure everything out on your own. Nobody can. This is especially true when it comes to asking for professional help with your mental health. It’s okay to need support, and there’s no use in just muddling along when a little bit of help could go such a long way.

Lastly, don’t worry about the future. You’re going to waste your time creating a step-by-step plan for college, only for it to be completely flipped upside down by a pandemic, changes in circumstances, and the college in question. Don’t stress about it, everything happens for a reason. You’re going to one day find yourself surrounded by creative minds like yourself. You’re going to make some amazing friends and create memories with them. Keep drawing and making art and being creative, and above all make sure you stay passionate about the things that you love. Don’t change, but do grow.

Love from,



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