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A letter to my 13 year old self

Written by Mikah Appel – Country to Canberra Teen Blogger

As the end of Year 12 years, I can’t help but reflect on how I’ve changed since I started high school.

If I could, I would love to dispense some wisdom to my past self in regards to what I should and shouldn’t do, however my mistakes have ultimately led to valuable learning opportunities that I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.

Here is some advice nonetheless – whether it be to myself in year eight or any other anxious teens who are at the beginning of their high school journeys.

To an apprehensive yet optimistic, acne-faced, nervous, 13 year old, year 8 student,

You’ve just finished primary school and you’re beginning your first year of high school. I know how nervous and uncomfortable you feel since your friends have left. By now, you’re already beginning to feel the pressures of teenage-hood: wondering whether people will like you…worrying about your grades…and letting insecurities get the best of you. But worry not- in a few years you’ll find that high school, while it didn’t always go to plan, was some of the best days of your life so far. Without telling you what to do (I know you hate being bossed around), I need to bestow some wisdom upon you.  

ALWAYS remember to:


You won’t enjoy high school if you don’t get involved in the school community. Fundraisers, competitions, sports carnivals, student council…you aren’t too cool to join in. You’ll actually enjoy it more than you think you will, and you’ll make some really good friends doing so along the way.

13 year old me, you only get to do high school once – do as much as you can!


Yes, your grades do matter, but high school is not all about grades. Enjoy spending time with your friends and engage in activities that lower your stress. It is important that you work hard and knuckle down at times, but not so much that it consumes you. Relax as much as you can now, because the workload will only get larger as you get older!

You are only 13 after all…

  • BE YOU

Stop focusing on what you look like and what others think about you, and start focusing on who you are on the inside.  Allow your qualities – kindness, honesty, tenacity, and intelligence – to replace the insecurity and anxiety that you feel burdened by.  You don’t need reassurance from others to feel like you are enough; you have everything you need inside of you.

In a few years you’ll understand that you were never meant to fit the stereotypical mold that society places you in. Most people appreciate your individuality more than your desire to fit in with everyone else.

As long as you keep these things in mind, I assure you, you will enjoy your time in high school and the days of you wondering whether people will like you, worrying about your grades, and letting insecurities get the best of you, will be far behind you.

All the very best!

From an excited, relieved, slightly less acne-faced, confident, 17 year old, year 12 student.