Dear Stephanie

The following is an excerpt from a letter I am composing titled Dear Stephanie. Last week, my English class was told to write a one page letter of advice for our siblings going into high school. One page wasn’t enough for me. That night I went home and wrote out everything I wanted my little sister to know. The following paragraphs are part of a much larger composition.

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Try to get enough sleep. Some nights you will find yourself staying up until two a.m. doing homework or watching movies, and some nights you will want to go to bed at dinnertime. There is nothing wrong with either. But get up the next morning. Get to school on time. Pack your lunch and prepare your clothes the night before so you can sit down and have breakfast in the morning. Give yourself time to wash your face and brush your teeth and brush your hair. Don’t forget to floss. Trust me, if you do it enough, it becomes a habit, and it’s worth it. Shower every single day. Use a nice smelling shampoo. You will feel better about yourself.

Do your homework. You’re going to want to procrastinate and it will be very hard to motivate yourself, but it’s worth it. Doing things ahead of time feels so much better than doing everything at the last minute. Tackle big projects one step at a time. Reward yourself for studying for tests. Reward yourself for good grades. Forgive yourself for bad grades and figure out where you went wrong. Teachers are really good at making you feel stupid, but trust me, they don’t mean to. If you don’t understand something, raise your hand and ask. There was someone else in that class who was too scared to. No one will laugh at you and the teacher won’t think you’re stupid.

Don’t worry too much about what other people think of you. No one really cares if you’re a boy or girl or both or neither, and no one really cares if you like boys or girls or both or neither. People just want things to talk about. The people who promise to never talk behind your back are almost always lying, but remember that gossip can be good. Your true friends are the ones who talk about how great you are when you’re not around to hear it. Your friends should never make you feel bad about yourself. If they do, they are not your friends. It’s okay to distance yourself from toxic people. I recommend it. Please remember that you will make friends you hate and lose friends you love. Boys and girls may break your heart. You may cry over them. Remember that sometimes they come back. If they don’t, accept that and move on. People come and go and it is always for the better, even if it seems devastating at the time

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