Everyone is going to tell you this stage of life is temporary. They’re right. It is a small portion of a lifetime even though in the moment it feels like a lifetime in itself. You’ll also probably hear to enjoy this time or that it’s the “best time of your life.” Honestly they may or may not be right. It differs for everyone. Although I obviously hope you enjoy this time, I know that won’t always be the case. Whether you particularly enjoy it or not, please remember it’s only temporary, a small stepping stone, and make the most of it.

Don’t spend too much time worrying about the opinions of others. Much easier said than done, trust me I know. It feels like you’re under a microscope some days, especially when social media is around to document everything. Seriously though, no one is paying even remotely as much attention to you, your clothes, or your hair doing that woo-hoo thing as you may think. Chances are they are much more concerned with their own issues and hoping no one else notices too.

This time is temporary and so are the rumors. Your actions are not. While the rumors may be fleeting, the things you do and say will stick with you for years to come. You can’t take them back. Your actions will leave a lasting impact on you and those involved. We never know what someone else is going through so why even risk making that worse? Don’t make choices for the moment that will haunt you for years to come.

Plan for your future, but don’t forget right now. Of course studying is important, but so is being a good friend and a good person. You can do these things right now. You can listen to your friend cry about her broken heart. You can have pizza night with your girlfriends and watch your favorite rom-coms. Making memories is as much a part of this time as studying for midterms is. You being a good person is actually more important to me than your ACT score ever will be.

Be kind. If everything else I have ever told you goes in one ear and out the other, hang on to this one. A kind word goes farther than any of us may even realize. We don’t know what battles other people are going through or how powerful and needed a genuine kind word or comment can be. Everyone appreciates a kind word or sincere compliment. Don’t skip them. Don’t feel silly. Those kind words might also find you some of the most genuine friendships in life.

Know your worth. No boy, mean girl, pant size, or test score will ever define that. You are far more complex and important than any of those things. They don’t show the full picture, not even close. Don’t compromise your beliefs or principles. No one’s friendship is worth it. Anyone whose friendship is worth it won’t ask you to change for them. They’ll like you for you.

It’s OK to feel lost during this time. Maybe you don’t know what you want to do with your life. Maybe you’re trying to reinvent yourself or find yourself in the first place. This is a great time to do so. Not everyone feels as put-together as they may seem, either. We all feel a little lost and lonely time and again.

Most of all, please know that I am always here for you. I’ll be your safe place, even when you crash-land, even if you think I’ll be mad. I’ll listen to your rambles about boys, friends, and whatever else your heart desires. I want to hear your dreams, fears, and all the little thoughts in between. I want you to know that you can talk to me about anything. You will never be alone. I will always fight for you.

You may also like: 

Dear Teenage Daughter, I Will Be Right Here Waiting For You to Come Back

I Will Always Love You Anyway

Dear Teenagers, Be Patient While I Let Go

Dear Daughter, Hide These Truths in Your Heart as You Become a Woman

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Megan Vollmer

Megan Vollmer is a wife and mother of two. She writes about motherhood, marriage, and faith. She thrives on faith, sarcasm, and coffee. She has been published on Today Parenting Team, BabyGaga, Her View from Home, and in Chicken Soup for the Soul.