#1. People will change - some for the better and some for the worse.
#2. You are people, so you will also change - sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.
#3. It's ok to like your parent(s).
#4. If your parent(s) are a little strict, it's because they are actually parenting you.
#5. Some of your friends with the "cool parent(s)" are not being parented. They will make some life choices that will shock you from their lack of guidance. Go back to #4. Thank your parent(s) as soon as you figure this fact of life out.
#5. Be kinder to yourself.
#6. It's ok to go to church and like it.
#7. Don't confuse frustration with God with being an atheist or non-believer. That's a contradiction indeed. How can one be mad at something they do not believe is real?
#8. If you walk into a party where you feel VERY uncomfortable with what is happening, LEAVE. Don't stay and try to fit in. That's where you will end up making some regrettable choices.
#9. Hey, young Michelle - Guess what?! Sorority life can be an incredible experience. Don't knock it so much your freshman year of college because you're going to be one of "those girls" near the end of your sophomore year. By the time you are 45, one of your best friends will be your sorority "daughter." You will not be able to imagine your life without her. So, get off those dorm steps and quit making fun of the girls who are going through RUSH. PS the girls sitting with you on those steps will fail out of college. Maybe sitting with them making fun of sorority girls isn't a good idea!?
#10. People grieve differently. That's ok.
#11. Floss more. Quit going to tanning beds. Make walking daily a habit.
#12. Do what Tyler Perry as Madea says, "If someone wants to walk out of your life, let them go." Really. Chasing friendships, relationships, etc. only lowers your self-esteem and makes people see you as desperate.
#13. Disliking the number 13 and avoiding getting out of bed on odd numbers, is ok. (I would NEVER get out of bed on purpose at 7:53 - it needs to be 7:52 or 7:54!) Superstitions and quirks make us who we are. Embrace them.
#14. Keep trying to learn how to swim better.
#15. Take that opportunity to study abroad for a semester.
#16. Take opportunities! So many opportunities for teens are given and so few teens seem to grab on to them to see where those opportunities will take them.
#17. Don't let any "adult" make you feel inferior because of your academic struggles. To be able to overcome obstacles is one of the best traits a person can have. Hard work to earn a B outweighs an easy A.
#18. Sit on the roof with that fellow photo student you have a crush on a little longer. It's a great conversation you'll remember for decades, so don't cut it short because you're nervous about heights.
#19. Do not get into that car with the girl who lives two doors down from you during your freshman year of college. She may be seeing if people want to go on a Taco Bell run and you think it's a great chance for a study break around 8pm. Little do you know that she is a closet alcoholic who, by the grace of God, didn't get you and your friends killed that night with her total disregard and lack of honesty. Learn this: some people are very good at hiding their addictions until they have to drive to a Taco Bell at 8pm on a weeknight!
#20. Serve others more. Quit skipping out on community service projects you have a chance to be a part of via your school, sorority, and/or local churches. Service to others grows our hearts and teaches us more about compassion than any self-help book.
BONUS: Oh, and even though you don't know this yet, you're going to love being a mom.
Starting year 25 as a Journalism educator. Photographer. Mom. Nature-Junkie. Super Fan of Missouri State Parks and Conservation Lands. As a wise BJJTV alumni says, "Treat People Like People."