New semester, new me?

It’s important to remember that crappy things happen every year. Reminiscing on the Girl-Scout-Cookie-selling, lanyard-making, Easy-Bake-Oven-using chapter of my life puts things into perspective, helping to even out the mixed reflections I have from years 1997 to 2017.

Facebook photos and old Myspace messages are the cringe-worthy reminders of the choppy layers that make up our youth, where we wish we could press the rewind button and change whatever it is we thought we were doing.

Some things went right, and others went wrong. Going back in time can be painful, but pulling past things out from under the rug when one year seemed to be particularly bad, can be quite the quick fix.

A conversation with an elementary school version of myself would include words of wisdom, like, “Take a deep breath when something new seems scary.” Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s bad.

If I could have a conversation with my sixth-grade self, after an “everything happens for a reason” speech, I would tell myself to skip the leggings under that denim skirt, and quit liking every Facebook page that slightly applies to your life.

If I could talk to my fifteen-year-old self, I would say, “The friends you have now, won’t be your friends forever.” I’d also tell her, “Hang in there. The braces are worth it in the end.”

I traversed the Hilltop to ask fellow Bradley students to give their younger selves advice in just one sentence. Here’s what I gathered:

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” – Sophomore psychology major McKenzie Ruyle

“It’s okay to be different.” – Junior English, secondary education and journalism triple major Andrea Morris

“Sometimes you have to fail in order to succeed.” – Sophomore finance business management major Sam Kiesewetter

“Go to class.” – Senior psychology major Lauren Jones

It’s important to have to experience the “Abercrombie wearing, carpool lane using, changing clothes for P.E.” years, so we can appreciate the years that follow where faces clear up, growth spurts occur and real friends are made. In efforts to start the new year off right, go out on a whim and take a peek into the old yearbook under your bed to know that some things are best left in the past and things can only really get better from here.