To 16 year old Sophie,

I went on my Facebook today as per every day of my life and realised that it was 5 years since I went to my school prom. I’m not too sure where the last 5 years have gone. Looking at pictures of me from Prom, I’ve grown up in so many ways. I now know what it’s like to live away from home and be a bit more independent. I know how to look after myself. I know how to handle myself better, I’m getting better at biting my tongue and I’m taking experiences in that 16 year old Sophie would never fathom she’d have the chance to. Back then, I was driven and confident, but not too sure where I was going. I was a bit too cocky at times. I knew I was going to do well in my GCSE’s, but I couldn’t see myself failing anything or at least failing anything in my eyes, we all have our own definition of failing and disappointing ourselves and that’s okay too. Zoom forward 5 years, to a 21 year old Sophie who’s got one more year of education left. I had no clue when I was 16 of what uni(s) I would be going to, let alone the fact I’d study abroad! I knew I wanted to do a History degree, but I had no idea of a career path. I still don’t, really, but I know roughly what I want to do and that is a start.

So, 16 year old Sophie, here’s some things that you didn’t know then but I wish I could tell you now. 16 year old me would be cheering me on the sidelines, I bet. She’d be the younger person in school that would be in awe of the older kid who seemed to have their life in check (even though I realllllly don’t!).

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It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to feel self-doubt every now and then. It’s okay not to do your best on every single assignment. We all need to learn, pick ourselves up from a bad day. Not every piece of work is going to your way. You’re going to get knockbacks from job applications and uni applications. It’s okay that you’ll cry when you don’t get the results you want. But, everything will naturally fall into place. It has to. The world won’t crumble around you, and the ground can’t swallow you up. It’s fine to have a cry now and then, but you’ll surpass everything you ever thought of yourself and what you could do.

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Working hard will open doors. It’s hard to see it at 16. You’re putting in the effort and it feels like you’re not going anywhere. Keep grinding, keep ploughing at the work and you’ll reap the rewards, I promise. Keep the smiley face and being a polite person, people will remember you for that. They’ll want to work and keep in contact with people who have a genuine interest. If you remain open about something, the door will never close on you. It’s always there.

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You will become a woman. You’re 16, you’re at Prom and you feel that this is ‘it’. You’ve never felt so glam in your life and you honestly think you’ve peaked. Little would you know that this is just the start. You’ll learn what works for your body and what works with you. Don’t stick to the typical outfits that the girls around you wear. Yes, things can be fashionable, but part of fashion is about having your own style. As Elle Woods say, being true to yourself never goes out of style…

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One more little thing, you will finally learn the importance of eyebrows shaping your face and you will get your eyebrows waxed.

I was proud of myself at 16, I’m proud of where I am at 21. Who knows where I’ll be at 26?

Sophie x

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