A Letter to Little Me

What to expect when you’re expected to grow up

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Arianne Browne

Click on the link to read the advice of your Bronx Science peers!

Join clubs! Make friends! Take lots of A.P. classes! Stand out from the crowd! Prioritize your mental health!

This is all advice that I have received over the past few years of high school, as I am sure many of you have. It might be important advice that we should all aim to follow, and, yet, it just does not seem to get the message across. Advice should be personal and from the heart, not just a few random generic sayings that we have grown so accustomed to that they mean nothing to us anymore. Advice should be genuine, and that is why this piece serves as a true reflection of what your older peers have been through and how it can help you!

And, while we are all just high school students at the moment  — having just barely even caught a glimpse of the essence of life itself — we all have snippets of wisdom that we would like to share, cultivated by our own beautifully unique experiences. 

So, without further ado, I present to you A Letter to Little Me, by your Bronx Science peers.

Everyone’s piece of advice is intrinsically unique to them and their experiences, and yet is so easily applicable to our own lives as well. That is the way that advice works, I think. As humans, we find a way to internalize everything we are faced with and relate it to ourselves. That being said, I have received so much advice over the past year from so many different people, whether it is about learning to stop worrying so much about the future, or allowing myself to be more open to change. 

I would like to believe that as we age, we grow into ourselves, our wisdom, our outlooks on life, and the way in which we treat others. Accordingly, our advice and even our reception of it is bound to change, just like we do. This world is never “stagnant,” no matter how much we want it to be. So, we personalize little bits and pieces of everything to form the mosaics of ourselves and eventually realize that even the simplest of things can have a deeper meaning and carry such an unwieldy weight, particularly regarding what we wish our younger selves knew — what we wish we could have changed. 

I sat down beside my grandfather recently and began picking his brain about everything he knew about this world, every piece of advice he could give to me. Being 94, he has naturally gained so much wisdom and insight over the course of his life, and in light of this, his advice is to simply “live well, to treat everyone with respect and kindness, and to love everything as you would yourself.” I feel like something as simple as this — compared to the absolutely nuanced paragraphs of advice younger people have given me— speaks volumes. The sheer simplicity of his advice is so often overlooked nowadays and it is something that I am trying to carry with me throughout my life, and yet I still feel conflicted. Do I want advice so that someone else could be my guide? Or is it that I use this advice to guide myself? I feel like this is a question on a lot of people’s minds, as we all seem to crave our own individuality, our own identities, and yet we realize that discovering and defining ourselves by our lonesome is far more difficult a task than it seems. 

Fellow students, friends, and even my parents have all offered me their fair share of advice, and I have realized that everyone is willing to tell you a little story, or an experience that they have had in the hopes that it can help you. Perhaps this is our way of changing history; we have realized that we cannot go back in time and change history for ourselves, no matter how badly we want to, but maybe we can inspire someone else to do what we wish we did but never could. Maybe I did not take a leap, or try to make a new friend, or was not more proactive in my life, but what if I could help someone do better than me? Isn’t that the point of giving advice? 

Deliberating over something like this has definitely led to a myriad of voices all speaking at once in my head. While advice is meant to be a guide, you must make it your own, as we tend to do naturally. Relating it to yourself and putting your own spin on it can be your way of giving yourself advice instead of blindly following someone else’s, and while that is important, your perception of any advice should take center stage. Unless you can find a way to make something your own, it will not have its intended effect on you. Therefore, it is all about defining your truth and picking bits and pieces of everyone’s advice, and relating it to your own experiences. Whether you choose to enact someone’s piece of advice into your daily life in a positive way is entirely up to you, as every word has a different meaning to all of us. 

And, while I am not the exemplar for advice-giving, I present my word of advice to you, Bronx Science.

Do not measure your failures by someone else’s success. 

I know that it is hard not to compare yourself or to feel jealous or anxious that someone else did better than you on a test, or got into a class that you did not, or has so many more extracurricular activities than you. But, it is important to remember that you are you; you are not them. You are going to succeed and do well in your own time, just like they will, and holding bitterness and resentment in your heart will only serve to hurt you. You should always celebrate your little victories, but also be happy for everyone else’s. I know that anxiety is at an all-time high for most people right now, but I think that focusing on what we can control — the way that we carry ourselves and treat everyone— rather than what is out of our reach right now, might do us all some good. 

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