3 S.R. Johannes: Dear High School Self

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dear High School Self

For those of you who don't know - Sarah Mylnowski's new book Gimmee a Break has just been released.

This book's premise is awesome. Basically, right before Senior Prom, Devi drops her cell phone in a fountain. ItJust her luck's it's broken and only calls one number...her number.

At age fourteen, three years ago!

Now, she can tell herself all the right things to do because she's already done the wrong ones.

On Twitter, Sarah was asking people what they would tell their High School self.

Here are my top 10 pieces of advice:

1. When you and your friends want to see what it's like to drink beer and cheer... trust me when I say - it' not fun nor worth the backlash. Just say no!

2. Never ever perm naturally curly hair, crimped bangs don't look good, Sun-In is not good for your hair, and don't use baby oil on your skin in the sun (it is true, the sun causes wrinkles and it will matter later!)

3. Parachute pants, Jammers, fingerless gloves, leg warmers, jelly bracelets, swatches, shoulder pads, stirrup pants, bright blue mascara, yellow eyeshadow, & anything neon are NEVER...EVER cool!

4. Duran Duran will not be the next Rolling Stones. Ralph Macchio doesn't look as good through adult eyes. Appolonia is not as cool as you think she is. Prince forgets his name. Miami Vice dudes are not nearly as hot as you think. And, even Bon Jovi realizes his hair is too big.

5. CB is not the only guy you will ever love. But I think you should stay away from anyone else who comes along before the age of 21 (especially the guy in your 8th grade Home Ec class because that will be the biggest heartbreka of your life. Oh yeah, and it DOES NOT work out. Just know you will find the one and you will get married. Contrary to what yo believe, you will not be a spinster or alone FOREVER.

6. Pay attention in English lit. You do need vocabulary and grammar. However, you were right - you DO NOT NEED Algebra or Trig. (calculators will be available on phones)

7.Eat a cookie! You are not fat! Someday you will wish your were still the size you are now. Oh yeah, and keep all your journals and writing projects. You will want them later.

8. Don't give up guitar or singing for cheerleading. You wont be able to cheer after college and you will miss not signing with your guitar later in life.

9. Your family loves you and wants you to be happy. Try not to think they are ruining your life. In reality, they saved your some serious heartache and your brother will be one of your closes
t friends. Your parenst love you and you will not know how much until you have your two babies.

10. Life in high school is nearly as hard as life as an adult. Don't try to grow up too fast. Enjoy where you are. You will regret it later and wish you had more time.

More than anything - love life. It is precious!

In the end, all this would not matter. Because my HS self would never have listened anyway. :)

What about you? If you could talk to your high school self, would you> What would you tell your HS self if you could? Would you avoid any heart break? Would you do things differently?


Heidi Willis said...

I followed a bit of this on twitter last night. Very interesting!! A great concept for a book, and for marketing the book!

I think advice is wasted on the young. :) They have to learn it themselves. But I would tell myself that I end up okay...happy, married, published. I don't think it would take away the heartache, but I think it might give me hope that those heartaches aren't forever. Sometimes when you're young you forget that. :)

Jonathon Arntson said...

great post--i'm laughing about ralph macchio! what would i tell my high school self? hmm. tough one. maybe that at some point in TIME, it will actually be preferable to be a bit absurd!

Candyland said...

I'd tell myself to let go. Too many things held me back, and now I'm trying to make up for it.

Janet Johnson said...

What fun blurbs! Awesome concept for a book.

I would tell myself to be less shy and to be nicer to my family. Weren't we all little brats back then? :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I would tell myself to relax - it's not as BIG and CRITICAL as I think it all is.

Anonymous said...

Damn, I had an idea about a person mentoring a younger self, too. Guess it's too late to write that one!

It is so true that your high school self wouldn't have listened. Or at least wouldn't have believed you.

BTW, I disagree about Ralph Macchio. He's still a cutie. Well, at least his younger self is. I haven't seen him as an old guy.

Carolyn V. said...

Dear me,
rethink that hair wall. =)
Awesome post Shelli!

Kim said...


Love your blog. But I have to say that as a current math teacher, you really do use Algebra and Trig, even if you don't always recognize it.

You may not use the equations, but your brain definitely uses the logical thinking patterns it developed in those classes.


Jeff said...

Duran Duran > The Rolling Stones... ok maybe not. But why hate on the band that makes us hungry like the wolves?

D said...

OMG what a great idea for a book!!! What would I tell myself...hmmm...
I think I'd eat more donuts, I'd be a better friend, and I'd take time to appreciate how worry-free my life was. When I think back on it now, with a mortgage and all this responsibility, I can't believe some of the things I worried about. Well, I guess I did need to worry about some things like the pontiac not making it into the school parking lot without stalling, lol. But basically, life was worry-free.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Hah! What a great--and very traumatic--storyline!! Re-visiting myself at age fourteen. (Shaking my head so violently, giving myself a headache.) LOL.

Kristi said...

HA! What a GREAT post. Seriously awesome. I agree with all the high school things you mentioned...took me back just reading them all. And how right that our high school selves would never have listened. I might just have to read this book. Thanks for the much needed laugh and break!!!

Happy Wednesday!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

busted by the math teacher :) sorry kim! I love math teachers just not math! ;)

Anonymous said...

I love Sarah Mylnowski. Her prose is so fact-paced & enjoyable. I read her years ago - had no idea she became so successful in the meantime.

As for the high school advice, I'd say, "Everyone else is as self-conscious as you are. Kindness works."

Kelly Polark said...

Too fun, Shelli! I was wondering what that was all about on FB last night!
I agree with most things that you said, except the part of Duran Duran. I still and always will love them! :)
I actually wouldn't tell myself to change too much, because I love how my life turned out. I wouldn't want to accidentally alter the pathway there!
What a cool concept for a book!


My high school self would snort, roll her eyes, and say, "Yeah. Whatever, old lady!" And then she would do the same stupid stuff she did the first time around.

And you know what? I'm not one of those, "Oh no! I'd never change anything b/c it's made me who I am" types of people (Helloooo, teenage self: LAY OFF THE TWEEZERS!) But ... If my less-than-wise self hadn't done these things when she was younger, maybe I would've done them later (not realizing just how much of an asshat I was being) and made an even bigger fool of myself.

And that would've sucked something awful.

Unknown said...

That sounds like a great book.

I love Your English tip (I never did pay attention in class) and I would probably tell myself tell myself to stay away from my friends 18th... I think I could do without the knowledge of what the back of a police padiwagon looks like (long story).

Ann Marie Wraight said...

I'd probably tell myself not to be so stingy with the ladyshave...I'm very dark haired and extremely light skinned so NO - I couldn't get away with the once a month leg shave that most of my blonde friends did...OOPS....so THAT'S WHY the boys called me "soldier legs"

If only I could go back and change that....

M Pax said...

Oh, but Duran Duran was sooo pretty.

Jemi Fraser said...

What an awesome premise for a book!

I love your list too. :)

If I could send back a message to myself it would be to be braver, talk to more people, take more risks and to just relax!!

Kristine Asselin said...

I so love this idea. I wish wish wish I could tell my high school self to get over the crush I had for 4 whole years that made me ignore all the boys who might have been nice! Oh, and keep writing. ;)

DL Hammons said...

In the end, all this would not matter. Because my HS self would never have listened anyway.

This is so very true for all of us...and unfortunately our kids right now. :)

Gail said...

Let's see.... I'd tell my HS self to quit smoking right then because the family history of heart disease would catch up to me later. (And not smoking might have postponed or prevented that.)

I'd tell myself to not be so obsessive-complusive and such a worrier. Life's too short to worry about stuff you can't change and later on, you'll wonder WHY you were so compulsive or obsessed over things!

I'd tell myself not to obsess about getting married; life is fine and joyful even if you're still single later in life!

And I'd tell myself not to hate writing so much because later in life you will love it and want to get your books published!!!

lexcade said...

i'd tell myself that psychology is NOT the route to take when English is true love, and that it'll cost way too much money to go to a private school for 2 yrs just to end up, much MUCH happier, at a state university. you'll meet awesome people, make some interesting friends, lose and love and lose and love, but in the end, it'll all be worth it. there IS a point to all the BS.

Christina Farley said...

I love those 'tips' and pictures. Reminds me of the day....

Advice to myself? Maybe to keep writing and not to give up so easily. If I'd kept up with my writing, I'd have been a lot futher along than I am now!