An Open Letter To My 15 Year Old Self


Dear Joyce,

It’s September, and you have just started 10th grade, and just had your birthday over Labour Day weekend. 15 years old, huh? You’re so old now. The pinnacle of your teens.

I know you feel so many different things at once: excitement for the new school year, confusion over the fact that you should start thinking about a viable career path to follow (can anyone say Planning 10?), and hurt over some of the negative people in your life.

Allow me to help you clear up some of the question marks in your life.

This term will be your worst academic term to date, because you have so much going on in your personal life. Granted, you will still make Honour Roll, but they aren’t marks that you’re going to be proud of. Don’t be too hard on yourself, because from here, there is no way to go but up. Trust me, you’ll see.

I know how much you hate math and science right now, but your jaw will drop when I tell you that they end up to be your top marks in senior year, and that you’re actually (gasp) good at it. You just need to work a little harder, and find the resources and support you need.

Stop making excuses for your boyfriend’s behaviour, and leave him. You don’t deserve to be treated that way. You will part ways later in the year, but why prolong the suffering? Joyce, you will see that your world is so much bigger than your relationship, and you will realize much greater dreams than having somebody at your side. Down the road, you will break some hearts, and you will suffer heartbreak, but these issues will seem trivial as you figure out and pursue your dreams.

Have the courage to speak up to the “friend” who constantly manipulates, undermines, and upsets you, who has brought you nothing but grief all these years. This year will be the turning point: you will finally decide that you’ve had enough of being a pushover, and you will walk away from all the hurt and frustration, and never look back. But it’s not until maybe six months from this point that you decide to do so.

Also about six months from now, you will come across the school and program of your dreams that you never knew existed before. You will spend maybe 10 minutes conversing with school representatives, completely fall in love, have your heart set on entering said program, and never look back. And you will achieve this, despite the odds. I know it sounds like a stretch right now, but you will surprise everybody who ever doubted you. It will be a pivotal point in your life, because from this you will gather the motivation to work hard and work relentlessly, and your performance will increase tenfold from here.

When you enter said program, you will THINK that you know what you want to do with your degree. Well guess what darling, you don’t. You will struggle for the first year or two to figure out your passions, and luckily enough, you will discover them.

And let me tell you that chasing your dreams will be so, so much more fulfilling than slaving away at something you don’t enjoy just because you think it will earn you more money, or that other people think is the right path. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Trust your gut instincts. The happiness that comes from following your passions and doing what you love will be something you wouldn’t trade for the world.

Hang in there, Joyce. Your world is about to change- you just don’t know it yet. Don’t settle for less than what you deserve.


4 thoughts on “An Open Letter To My 15 Year Old Self

  1. studentlondon3 says:

    There’s a lot of this I wish I could say to my 15 year old self. I now wonder what my 27 year old self or 33 year old self would like to say to the present 21 year old me…
    Wow not sure how much of that made sense..!

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