This is a feature created by Ginger at GReads! in which we write a letter to our YA self, give advice, and share some book recommendations. There’s also a giveaway at the bottom, too! Check out her introduction post here.
Break up with your boyfriend. Seriously, do it right now. He’s going to break your heart within the first month of going away to college, you’re going to mope, you’re going to eat ice cream for dinner, and then you’re going to go more boy-crazy than you should. Take a breath and break up with him. I promise there’s a much better, nicer, and sweeter boy on the horizon. He actually remembers things you say, even the little insignificant things. He’s going to call you Lumby, make you laugh, and make you become addicted to Lego. (I promise it’s fun, don’t judge future Lauren.) I know you probably won’t do this because you think you love him and he’s the one, but the breakup and the heartbreak are inevitable no matter what. To get through your breakup, you need to reread some Sarah Dessen books. Don’t gasp at my suggestion – eventually you’ll enjoy rereading books; you may as well start now. You should also read a few summery books as soon as they come out. Jenny Han and Sarah Ockler will become auto-buy authors for you, so start right now!
Don’t let anyone tell you what to read, by the way. Don’t be ashamed of the books you read because someday there’s going to be a whole community of people out there who read YA books even though they don’t fit into the category anymore. Keep reading what you want and support every indie bookstore you see.
There are going to be times where you feel bad about yourself. Don’t compare yourself to your friends as much. This is going to happen in both high school and college, so read The Duff and remember that everyone feels shitty about themselves sometimes. (Yes, you will still swear A LOT in your old age.) Instead of being mad at them for complaining about being fat when you’re clearly heavier than them, remember this book. Everyone, no matter how pretty or skinny, feels inferior sometimes. This is never something you’ll fully come to terms with, but maybe starting a little earlier will help you later in life. (Do this for me, alright? Because I’m sick of complaining about my weight even today.) Self-confidence is going to be a major issue for you throughout life and starting to be happy with who you are is going to make all the difference.
STOP making jokes about making your guy friends sandwiches. Gender equality issues are nothing to joke about. In college your friends are going to make you take a Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies class. You’re going to complain at first and say how stupid feminism is. Guess what? You’re wrong. Feminism is going to change your life and so is that class. I want you to stop making those jokes and start reading books about it. Even after graduation, your friends are going to make fun of you for having a shelf of books on feminism. Just ignore them because they’re stupid and you’re barely going to hang out with them after college anyways. (More on that later…)
Going along with that, HAVE FUN AT COLLEGE. I’m going to tell you right now to NOT wish it away. Try to stress less about everyone else and do what you want to do. Go out when you want and stay in when you want. After graduation, you’re going to wish you took advantage of that time even more. There’s never going to be another time in your life where you’re living with your best friends like that. Sorry to tell you, because you’re totally convinced at the moment that you’re going to be reading for pleasure nonstop at school… Netflix is going to become a thing. Essentially it’s your boyfriend throughout college. You’re going to binge-watch SO many shows that you’re only going to read about 10 books during those four years. I KNOW I’M SORRY! If you happen to have the time, I’d recommend reading these books sooner. You’re going to love these in 2014, but you should reallllly try to make time for these. (Anna and the French Kiss has an AWFUL cover in the early years, unlike the cute one below, but I promise the inside is going to be your absolute favorite book.)
I’m going to try to prepare you for something that’s going to weigh on your mind quite a lot. This is a warning, but I’m not sure if it will help. Your one guy friend who you’ve done a lot of STUPID stuff with and also has been one of your best friends (you know who I’m talking about)… is going to break your heart. Not in a love/relationship way, but he’s essentially going to cut you loose because his girlfriend is intimidated by you. He’s going to prohibit you from visiting his parents in Charlotte (OH YEAH, BY THE WAY, THEY MOVE TO CHARLOTTE AND YOU GET TO STAY WITH THEM AND SEE A PANTHERS GAME LIVE AND IN PERSON AND IT’S AMAZING AND YOU CRY A LOT) and that conversation essentially ends your friendship. At least as of right now. It’s been a year since we’ve spoken and I pretend it doesn’t upset me, but it does. I’m sorry. I don’t know what to tell you, except prepare for the worst and stop putting in effort if he doesn’t. It’ll save you some heartache later. In fact, a lot of your friendships will fall to the wayside. There’s nothing you can do really because I know you’re already doing so much to keep everyone together. Enjoy the boring Friday nights at Nate’s house, because soon his mom will move into a condo. Enjoy the gatherings in Buddy’s basement, because you won’t have as many during college. Enjoy the super late nights with Brittany, because she’ll have a (very cute) baby (that you end up loving so much) and events like that don’t happen as much anymore.
Here are 10 events that will make you happy:
I feel like there are so many things that I could say to you, but the past 6 years after high school have been full of big and little moments – none of which could really prepare you for where your life is today. I know you probably won’t take any of my advice, because you’re pretty stubborn (still are, by the way), but it’s worth mentioning.
Of course I can’t have this post without giving you a list of books that you need to read immediately once they’re released:
I’m sure you’re not surprised that I’ve rambled on for a long time, because that’s something that I’ve always done. If I could leave some advice that I really hope you actually follow: Always remember that positive thoughts make up a positive life. Attitude is everything. Stop being so down on yourself or negative about things and it will make all the difference. You can’t please everyone. You can’t control everyone else’s happiness. This is something that’s still a struggle for me today. Take a step back, realize you do more than enough to take care of others, and let yourself be a little selfish. You deserve to be happy too. Oh, and JUST WAIT until you try buffalo chicken dip for the first time. It’s going to be your dinner at college at least twice a week.