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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UWB chapter.

From elementary school through high school, I was a very self-conscious and shy kid. I didn’t have any older siblings or cousins to look up to, but I always wished there was someone a little older to give me advice. If I could go back in time to tell myself five lessons I’ve learned, these are what they would be:

There is no need to be overly concerned about what people think of you

Although it’s normal for teenagers to be self-conscious, it really ended up hindering my life. I had a very hard time being confident in myself, and I was easily affected by what people said about me. I would like to remind my younger self that it won’t be easy to stop caring what people think of you, but working toward that will make you a happier person.

Drop the people in your life who make you feel horrible

If someone is treating you badly, you don’t have to stick around them. If you feel nervous every time that you’re in their presence, or you get a bad feeling every time you leave from hanging out with them, these are signs to get out. Some people will manipulate you and take advantage of you, and that is your opportunity to advocate for yourself and know when to say no. Vocalize how you’re feeling and walk away from those people. Ask for help if you need to. Advocating for yourself will come with practice, but being in tune with your feelings helps tremendously.

You don’t have to follow the crowd

You are not expected or required to be just like everyone else. If something is not for you, that’s okay! Listen to your intuition and don’t be swayed to do things that you’re not comfortable with. Believe it or not, you get to choose your own path in life.

Enjoy the present moment instead of anticipating the future

When you are young and have fewer responsibilities, you should be able to enjoy every second of it. Not that life is supposed to be easy at this time, but you should be able to appreciate the small wonders in life. You might think that being an adult is cool and they have everything figured out, but I promise you that no one really, truly knows what they’re doing. Adult life is tough.

You will be okay

Nothing is going to be perfect and you may not be in the place you thought you’d be at, but you will be okay. The bad times are temporary and will eventually pass. The good times will far exceed the bad ones, but you mustn’t forget that even the difficult experiences will shape you to be a better person. You are who you want to be. Don’t ever allow anyone to tell you you’re someone you’re not.


I implore you, the reader, to take some time to think about what you would like to say to your younger self. I find that it’s helpful to look back on who you were at a younger age and give grace to who that person was. They are the reason you’re the person you are today. And maybe you’ll learn something new. Sometimes the advice you would give to your younger self is advice that you could still take at your current age.

Nina Jouval is a student at the University of Washington Bothell majoring in Media and Communication Studies. She is currently a Program Coordinator in Outreach and specializes in social media, marketing, and recruitment. In her free time, she enjoys being with her family, friends, and her two cats, and is also passionate about writing and creativity. Her goals include traveling abroad, publishing a book, and working to make a positive lasting impact.