Dear Sabina, age 10,
I know you’re frustrated right now—you fight with your friends weekly, you would give anything to quit swim team, and school is so easy and boring that you fake sick to stay home and read. You just want to be in the real world; you crave change and understanding.
In the next few years, you will begin to experience that exact thing. You’ll skip sixth grade and go straight to junior high; it’ll shock your peers—one of them will even tell you that you don’t deserve to be there—but your success will prove all their doubts wrong. Once you get to seventh grade, junior high academics will be easier than you think, but you’ll encounter tough and unfamiliar life situations. One of your classmates will die of brain cancer, and you’ll struggle to see the justice in the world when you get to celebrate Halloween with your friends and she doesn’t. You know 12-year-olds aren’t supposed to die, that’s supposed to be for old people who’ve lived their lives. But you will realize that you have to take risks and make the most of everything. She’ll inspire you to do a season of basketball, which you’ll be awful at. You’ll go home crying three days in a row, but you won’t quit, which will pay off because you will grow to like it and even become somewhat decent. Just don’t be so afraid to mess up. I know you’ll want your team to win, but take that shot in the last twelve seconds of your final game instead of passing the ball because you could have made it.
Even though it’s a source of tension in your friendships right now, continue to be outspoken. Your peers will begin to lose their personal values and become identical to the people they spend time with, but you don’t need to. You are an individual. Your favorite word is no, and you’re so stubborn. Stay that way. As you get older your stubbornness will turn into determination and serve you well.
Try not to worry so much. Sometimes it’s better to just let things happen. That being said, though, continue to pursue your ever changing interests. While your parents reprimand you for quitting everything you start, I know you’re just trying to figure out what you love. You’ll try guitar, writing, dance, tennis, stage crew, painting. None of them will fit perfectly, but through a combination of each of their good elements you will get closer and closer until you eventually discover what makes you happy—working with kids.
Ten-year-old me, you’re a lot luckier than you think you are. Try to remember that; I know it won’t be easy.
Sabina, age 16
This letter served as my application essay for college. It’s an untraditional format, but hey, the risk paid off.
Today is the first day of my April A to Z Challenge. For more All Things College posts, click here.