1) Nobody thinks you’re stupid for asking questions. You look even stupider if you don’t. Especially in grade 10 math, when you don’t know how to do trig and everyone else does. It’s not your fault that your junior high didn’t teach it. Just get your teacher to help you get caught up, it’ll honestly take like ten minutes.
2) Nerd out. Seriously, don’t ever worry about “looking like a nerd.” You are a nerd, embrace it. To be honest, you were never hiding it very well anyway. Also, you’ll end up meeting a ton of nerdy friends who will love you for your love of Shakespeare and physics jokes and Doctor Who, so don’t even stress about it.
3) You’re all in the same boat. You are not the only high school student with tough stuff going on at home, or the only one unsure about their future. You’re certainly not the only one feeling lonely. Just get some balls and talk to people instead of sitting by yourself and pretending to look at something interesting on your phone. They’re probably hoping someone will come introduce themselves because they’re too shy to do it. Most of the friends I made in Grade 11 I wish I had gotten to know in Grade 10. We could have had a lot more time together and they probably would have helped me get through some of the tough times, like my mom’s death.
4) Your alcohol tolerance is not as high as you think it is. So for the love of god do not try to keep pace with Nob and and Jo at that one party. You will take too many shots and you and Nob will both puke and Jo will have to carry you to the car because Jo is a tank and vodka is like water to him. Puke is hard to wash out of your hair btw.
5) Don’t pigeon-hole yourself. Okay, yes, you’re good at soccer and writing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try other things. Maybe I would have also like martial arts, or debate club. I guess I was eager to stick to what I knew because I was confident in that. I wish I could tell my Grade 10 self that it’s okay to be a beginner at things. No one expects you to be an expert right away. And more than that, you don’t have to do things just because you’re good at them. It’s okay to do something you suck at if you’re enjoying yourself.
6) You don’t have to plan your whole future out when you apply for university. I mean, you can, but it’s kind of a waste of your time, because it’s going to change right away anyway, because a) university is different than anything you could have ever imagined, and b) You will change and so will your goals. In January, I was 100% sure I wanted to be a journalist when I grew up. Now here I am with two university journalism classes under my belt, realizing that I’m pretty sure that’s not what I want to do with my life. My favourite class so far is philosophy; I did not expect that. All I’ve figured out is that I have absolutely nothing figured out. I used to have my whole life planned out, and now I don’t even know what I’m going to do a year from now.