For The Eleven Year Old Me | First Day Of Secondary School

You’re off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way! – Dr. Seuss.

DEAR ELEVEN YEAR OLD FAYE,

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Well, it’s not that big of a deal, but you are off to big school, and that is both scary and incredible at the same time. You will be amazing. You will do so, so well. You will make friends for life, and you will lose friends who you thought would always be there. But, that’s okay. Sometimes, friendships don’t last, and you will learn all of this over the next seven years.

First thing’s first: the size of the school. It’s pretty massive, and you’re going to get lost, no matter how many times you visit that one classroom your first week. And it will be busy. Older, scarier looking kids with way too much makeup on or no makeup on at all; with fierce looking scowls and clown-grinning faces will all be either running to classes, or shuffling along slower than a tortoise. They’ll probably not see you and bump into you, because you are one of many. But, there’s only one of you. Never forget that.

Yes, you are quiet. You never want to raise your hand in case you get a question wrong; in case that flood of embarrassment takes over you and you want the ground to swallow you up. Believe me, that won’t matter within a year, even within a week or so. And if anyone gives you grief about it, that says more about them than it does about you. Not that they will – you’re too quiet and too nice for them to take notice. Being quiet allows you to take in your surroundings, allows you to listen more, focus more. You’ll find yourself wanting to be more like the other, louder, girls who shout out and talk incessantly – they seem braver, more popular – but you’re not like them – you’re like you. It’s a great thing to be quiet, to not be one of the louder ones, to take everything in, to be a geek or a nerd, or whatever name someone may or may not call you. You’re a reader, and you’ll still be a reader, growing into a better one every single day, after school, even when you’re an ancient twenty-five year old.

You’ll feel overwhelmed, and that sense of overwhelming will gradually increase year by year, but so will your mind and your capability to do well. Don’t stress too much about exams. They are important at the time; they determine how well you are doing. However, don’t let them define you. Don’t lose sleep, or weight – or let your hair fall out – for the sake of a few pieces of paper, or some letters in bold. You’ll learn how to cope well with the revision, how to remember facts and figures, how to structure your sentences. You will learn all of this, so do not fret about disappointing mum and dad – they’re proud of whatever you do – and don’t worry about disappointing yourself. You do amazing in the end.

It’s a huge learning curve. You will cry. You will laugh. You will love. You will hate – for short periods of time. You will become a teenager. You will want to rebel. You will turn sweet sixteen. You will become an adult. All of this will happen during your time in this one place. You will hate school at some points during your life, perhaps even for longer periods at a time, but once you’ve left, you’ll miss it. A lot.

Be nice to people, but don’t be a doormat.

Enjoy every moment of your first day. The rest will fall into place.

LOVE TWENTY FIVE YEAR OLD FAYE XO

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