I was sixteen years old a Long time ago. Why then do I remember so much about it? I had a super-busy social life and I also had a lot of homework. What would I now consider the important things? Is it what I did wrong or what I did right? It’s actually the reality that I forgot things from yesterday yet remember details from back then that stands out to my aging self.
My teen years were a bit different from those of my friends because our household was me (only child) my doctor/mom, our Central American housekeeper who spoke little English and our dog. By the time I was sixteen, my mom was entrenched in teaching and doing research at NU Med, and I had a lot of time to myself to take care of school and other kinds of growing up. Oh, also, my dad lived in Puerto Rico and was married to his second wife. Complicated? Not for me, really!
What would I tell myself now? Start here:
Academics: High school was just enough of a challenge. I was in high-level classes and took 2 foreign languages (French and Russian). But I think I could have done better. Doing well junior year in high school is so important. Be aware that college admissions will be greatly dependent on junior year grades and curriculum. Spend your 16th year focusing on your further academic education. Keep singing in choir and be part of the chorus of a musical (yep), but perhaps learn an individual sport and play on a school or other team. That’s “enriching”, too.
Friendship (basics): Is being “popular” important? What is it anyway? Who decides who is “cool”? This clan of some anointed few might be better looking or more successful athletes or perhaps have cool cars and money. Know what? They may become just like all others after graduation. But being super-cool at sixteen can fade quite quickly. Take time in high school to enrich friendships. Some can and will definitely last a lifetime. That is truer than I would have ever imagined!!
“Life”: Enjoy your family, your own room, your pets and your friends. Work on leaving drama behind. Take a look at your life and appreciate its imperfections. This is the “coolness” of school, and this is all that’s around you. If you are watching the Beatles performing on Sunday-night TV, you will want to remember it. If you are watching a mission into space there won’t be That many to look back on. Keep your “feet on the ground” as much as you can when big events blast into your life. We might not know all of the significant events as they are happening, but at sixteen, world events will present themselves as quite obvious. Do your best to focus on the news and the world. Watch it.
(and…looking forward to reading the posts of others!)
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