Every year around this time a new class of students completes their current level of education and must decide if they will advance to a higher level or enter “the real world”. I was 17-years-old when I graduated from the charter arts high school I had been attending in Michigan. I had been accepted to Savannah College of Art and Design’s Fashion program with a scholarship and was so excited to be beginning this new chapter all on my own.
That was years ago. I am very different from the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, out-of-state pupil I started out as. If I had to go back and do it again, there are definitely things I would change and some I wouldn’t. But since I can’t, hopefully this open letter to my former self will be of help to those now in the same shoes I once wore.
Congrats, girl! You survived high school! No offensive, but there were some white knuckle times when I really didn’t know if you were going to make it and they have nothing to do with your intelligence or academic performance.
It’s a good thing you went to two high schools. At least now you have some experience starting all over again in entirely new surroundings. This will come in handy when you get to pursuing your degree. I’m not going to tell you how many universities you will attend because I don’t want to freak you out but let’s just say it’s best if you pace yourself. You won’t get anything done if you burn yourself out.
As much as it pains me to say it, it’s also good that you experienced your very own version of Mean Girls early on because those won’t be the only mean girls you encounter. There will be more and they will be worse. I’m sorry to tell you this babygirl but they will beat down your spirit and make you feel like nothing. Tears will most definitely be shed.
But it will get better. I promise you, I promise you, I PROMISE YOU, those very same girls who threw shade will later be squinting their eyes at the sparkling light you give off ‘cuz you’re gonna be such a star.
I know Mom always stressed how important it is to excel at school and while there is merit to that, it’s not nearly enough. The world you’re coming into is a world increasingly run on networking and social connections. Economic times will be tough and people always want to work with their friends, even if their friends know less than you. Later down the line no one is going to ask you how you did on that philosophy essay so maybe take a few hours away from writing it and invite a classmate out for coffee. Take the C+ if it means you form a new, meaningful relationship with someone who may be able to help you out in the future.
Have fun trying on different careers. Optimally, people should know exactly what they want to do before college, that way they can streamline their path while in school. That’s not gonna be the case for you though. Right now you know the industry you want to be in but not the kind of job you want. That’s ok too, but since that’s the case, you’re gonna go down a few different paths.
It’s gonna get discouraging and you’re going to lose hope at times but resist the temptation to give up on yourself. Each previous path will leave you more well-equipped for the next path.
Get acquainted with the fact that everyone in life is just doing what’s in their best interest. You’re going to meet people who you think have your back but honey, let me tell you, they have it for as long as they need it. Whether in friendships or professional relationships, stop holding on to dead connections that are no longer mutually beneficial.
Want the best for yourself enough to recognize when maintaining stale relationships is hindering your growth. There’s an art to knowing when to leave. Master the well-planned exit.
This is going to be the hardest thing for you to learn and you will struggle with it because of this false sense of loyalty you’re going to develop but the sooner you learn to put yourself and your needs first, respectfully of course, the better off you’ll be.
Girl, there’s so much I wanna tell you about what’s to come! So many joyous moments and many sorrowful ones as well. You’re going to have victories and many of them will come to an end but they are making room for new opportunities. You’re a pretty emotional person so I’m not gonna tell you to dull that down but rather to go head first into them. Ride those crashing waves of feelings (LOL). You’ll be aight…I think. I can’t say for sure ‘cuz I’m only in my mid-twenties but I’m trying to stay positive. You go, Glenn Coco!
Jacket by Missguided
Bodysuit by Forever 21
Skort by Kirra available at PacSun
Heels by Zara