My Freshman and Sophomore Self,

If I had the chance to talk to the girl I was in freshman and sophomore year of high school- this is what I would tell her. Stop seeking validation from other people. Your worth is not, and never will be in this life, based on what others think about you. Beauty is based on the interior. Seriously. The word itself means full of beauty. You can wear the right makeup, and have the right accessories, but if your mind and heart continue to be ugly places, nothing will change. Being in love cannot cure an already broken heart. Take the time to heal before jumping into a relationship head first. You are more important than a relationship status, and love will always wait for you if it is meant to be. Just because you were invited to the party does not mean you have to go. Under no circumstances is it okay to judge someone based on unmerited rumors, opinions, or prejudices. Keep you mouth closed and your heart open. Everyone needs a little more compassion, why can that not start with you. Sex should be reserved for real, true, brilliant, blinding love. Wait for it. Studying is cool, I swear. It means you care about your future and do not let anyone tell you different. Your parents are not out to destroy you. (though they will likely ruin an unimaginable amount of fun between freshman and senior year) But it is all done out of love. Recite your standers to yourself if necessary. Remember your worth. It will be okay. You are so loved. Four years is not forever. Two and a half down. One and a half to go.

-Mackenzie G. (as a junior)

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