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When you are just becoming a teenager you think you know everything and understand people but now that I’m twenty-two and I look back, I just think about how I didn’t know anything. I remember it as a time without big responsibility but everything counted back then. I was still only learning how people work and how to make and keep friends. I just remember staring up at the sixth-year girls and thinking, wow, they must know every single thing that’s going on in their lives, and then when I was eighteen I knew I’d been a complete fool. I have a sneaky feeling that the assumption that older people know what they are doing is a myth. I am still waiting for the penny to drop.

 

A little speech to my younger self:

You are in a brilliant time in your life where you have lost some friends that weren’t helping you live as your true self. This time is so exciting and fresh because you are meeting all new potential friends. You came from such a small primary school, where there were a small group of children and you didn’t feel like anyone was truly friends because there were just so few of you and you couldn’t really choose your friends.

You are going to meet brand new friends that you will have with you for life and have actually met some of them already. My advice is to sit beside lots of different people especially when you first get to a new place because you will be amazed at how many people are looking for friends as well. If at first, it feels really awkward for you and you feel nervous, but you’ll actually realise that they are really nervous as well and all they want is friends too. I found that when you’re just going into secondary school or joining a club or sport for the first time, that is the easiest time to make friends. Just introduce yourself!

Definitely join groups and clubs and take all the invites and opportunities that come your way. The only time I say don’t go is if you know that after you go to something you actually feel bad afterwards. It’s not that kind of nervous feeling about new things, it’s if you feel a lot worse about yourself and the things you do after you’ve been with certain people. If something or someone isn’t aiding your confidence and is actually hurting you then you can let it go with relief!

Something that I wish you realised more is that the things you say without thinking do have consequences. I am still learning this skill today and still have a long way to go. Take my advice to just take a few seconds before you speak, because some things you say, that you don’t think are hurtful, can still offend people. Please study French harder because you went to Paris this year and you couldn’t speak two sentences.

At this time you don’t even realise that you’ve gained so much of yourself back. You’ve learned things about yourself that you never knew before secondary school. Now you are such a brighter and shiny, well-rounded person and you only get better the more you believe in yourself.

I’m so glad that you are happy, energetic, loved, smart, funny, friendly, and confident. Many people you know, don’t believe in their natural confidence or love themselves all that much and I know we had moments where we lacked confidence but I’m proud of you that you trusted yourself. You might not think it but it actually has made you unique. Keep being you, it has always stood to you and will never make you feel like you’ve made the wrong decision.

Love Joy x

 

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