Feminism, friends and family…Ruby Karp, author of Earth Hates Me: True Confessions of a Teenage Girl, deals with all the day-to-day ups and downs of being a teenager, but with a comedic flair that will no doubt make you LOL! No one said it would be easy to be a 16-year-old in 2017 (especially with social media and college pressure like never before), but luckily Ruby is happy to share her wisdom and help guide her fellow sisters of the teenage generation with her hilarious (and true!) stories. No wonder Amy Poehler (one of our fave role models) raves that it’s “filled with juicy young person wisdom.” Ruby took a second to jot down sixteen things she’s learned at 16. Read on for her tips!
16 THINGS I’VE LEARNED AT 16
1. Not everyone has to like you. You may not be everyone’s friend in high school. You may encounter bullies, meet people you don’t get along with—who knows. But you will not be able to get through high school if you are concerned with what other people are thinking about you. Not everyone is going to get you. But as long as you understand you, and know that it is okay that not everyone likes you, you can then start enjoying the person you are.
2. You are special, even if someone doesn’t return your affection. High school heartbreak is rough. Unrequited love is one of the worst things ever. But just because the person you like doesn’t like you does not mean you aren’t worth liking. You are beautiful inside and out—and anyone would be lucky to have you. You just may not have found the right person to like you yet.
3. Call yourself a feminist. EMBRACE YOUR GIRL POWER! Teach your peers that boys and girls are of equal value. Educate those who don’t know what feminism is and tell them what it means. The future is female and you are the future.
4. Love your body, and love yourself. This is so much easier said than done, but you must remember to embrace your beauty. Constantly remind yourself that your body is your temple. You (and only you) can validate yourself and your body, so make sure you give yourself some credit for being you.
5. Some friends are only phases. Not every friend you make in high school is going to be your soul mate. High school friends come and go—and that is okay. You will flow in and out of friendships throughout your whole life. Friend breakups are really hard, but if someone you are supposedly friends with becomes a toxic presence in your life, it can be better to cut ties with that person to enhance your happiness.
6. Your parents don’t have to be your enemies. I live alone with my mom, and the best choice I ever made was developing a trusting relationship with her. I made her my friend as opposed to my enemy early on, and because of that, we’ve had a strong trust between us throughout my high school years (which made fighting minimal in our household). I would encourage you to do the same. Your parents were kids once too—no matter how much it seems like they have forgotten it.
7. Take risks more. Enjoy being young! Experience new (legal) things. Face your fears. You only get to be young once, so allow yourself to enjoy it as much as you can.
8. Feeling sad is normal. Staying positive is really, really hard in high school. You’re not going to feel 100 percent all the time. Your mental health is the most important thing in high school—take care of your happiness first. Mental health days are okay if you are feeling down or need to recharge your batteries.
9. Delete social media sometimes. Deleting your social media apps is a necessary detox once in a while. Give yourself a break from obsessing over what everyone else is doing for a weekend. Try focusing on enjoying the moments you should be present in, instead of constantly refreshing and typing.
10. Peer pressure is relative. Peer pressure in high school is a lot less aggressive than you would expect. It is more psychological than anything. It’s not so much like the movies, where peers are screaming, “YOU HAVE TO DRINK THIS!” Know that it is okay to say no to things you do not want to do; nobody cares that much. And if they do, they aren’t worth your time to be around or to try to impress.
11. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Hang out with people you get along with the best. Don’t try to fit into friend groups that you know aren’t for you. You know yourself best; you know who is bad for you.
12. Self start. If you have a cool idea, do something about it! If you want to be a writer, start a tumblr. If you want to be a dancer, take a dance class. Get involved in as many activities, groups, or causes as you possibly can. And if you don’t know what you like, try everything! Open yourself up to the possibilities and resources you have in front of you—you may just find something you are truly passionate about.
13. Stop girl-on-girl hating. Ending slut shaming starts with girls being nice to other girls. If we go through life shaming each other, how do we expect society to respect us? Stand up for your girlfriends and stop them from being mean to each other. Girls need to stick together, now more than ever.
14. High school doesn’t have to suck (that much). We all talk about high school like it’s the worst place ever. Granted, it has its down sides, but school doesn’t have to be the worst. Learning is a privilege that we all forget we have. Throw yourself into your school work and school activities/groups and get the most out of the education you are lucky to have access to.
15. There is life after high school. It’s hard to believe in the moment, but there is life after high school. In fact, high school will be the shortest and longest four years of your life. Enjoy it while you are in it and know that life will go on long after it’s over.
16. You are you, and that is enough. It’s easy to forget and you probably hear this more than you would like to, but, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to be any certain thing for anyone else. Make the most of the time you have in high school. Being a teenager means making mistakes and learning from them. Know that as long as you are doing your personal best, that is all that matters.