Dear younger me, embrace the education

Published 11:38 am Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Happy Medium by Erin Murtaugh

I’ve been thinking lately, and if I had the opportunity to have my future self write a letter to my present day self, I would. Here’s what I would have told myself five years ago if I could have.

Dear 14-year-old me,

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Five years from now, a lot of the things you do on a daily basis won’t matter. People won’t care if you wore makeup to school every day. Chances are, people don’t even pay attention to that now. What people do pay attention to is your personality and actions.

You’re 14 now and have your whole high school career ahead of yourself. Get involved. Don’t quit tennis. Stay at it and enjoy high school athletics while you can. Sing your heart out in choir, because one day you will realize how much you miss singing in a large ensemble. Keep playing your violin. Sure, it’s kind of a nerdy instrument, but it’s something you can do for the rest of your life.

Don’t stress out about getting perfect grades. No one is perfect, and if a college is truly the right place for you to be, you will get in without a problem. If you’ve had a long night of homework, bring a cup of coffee to school with you. Someone might think it’s a little strange, but once everyone gets to college, they’ll understand.

Chase your passions. Chase them with everything you have. Surround yourself with people who support your dreams and ambitions. You don’t need negative people in your life. Be yourself and do what you love to do. Everything else will fall into place.

Do not settle. You might fall head-over-heels in love with a guy or two while you’re still a teenager, but listen to me. Do not give up anything in life just to be with him.

Big life decisions should not be made based on a boy just because you think things are going to last forever with them. Chances are, they won’t.

If things are meant to be with a boy, things will work out with whatever big decision you need to make, whether it’s what school to go to, a job or who you’re friends with. Don’t let someone change the path of your life just because you think you’re in love. You have your whole life ahead of you to learn about love. Slow down.

Lastly, be brave. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Go test drive your dream car, just for fun. Dye your hair a goofy color a time or two, because it’s just hair. Speak your mind when something isn’t right.

As Dr. Seuss once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Just be yourself, and everything else that is supposed to happen in your life will fall into place.


19-year-old you


Albert Lea High School graduate Erin Murtaugh is a first-year student at Rochester Community and Technical College. She can be reached at