My name is Selma and I’m 15 years old. Recently, I’ve been feeling lost internally. I’ve kind of given up on my dreams and no longer feel like I can have a decent future. I go to a very academically challenging school and my grades aren’t the best and I don’t believe I can get into the colleges I’ve dreamt of. As hard as I try to achieve good grades, I still do badly. This has made my life extremely difficult these past two years. I also have lost a lot of good friends and feel really alone. I don’t know what to do anymore, and I just don’t see a decent future for myself anymore. Do you have any tips on how to fulfill happiness in times like this and how to set myself up for success?
First of all, I know it’s hard to see it right now, but academics and college actually aren’t everything. When you’re 15, it feels like your entire life depends on how well you do in school and what college you go to. But let me tell you a little secret that you only learn once you’re out of college: where you go to school or what grades you get does NOT affect the rest of your life.
Parents don’t like to tell you this because they want you to try hard and it’s good to work hard and aim for the best. But just know that you CAN and WILL do just fine in life, whether you go to a good college or no college at all. All that matters is that you listen to yourself, find yourself and what’s important to you, and focus on creating the life you want for yourself.
I know this probably sounds very elusive right now, so let me see if I can explain how to think about it all in the present. The fact that you want to create a successful life for yourself already puts you one step ahead. You’re thinking about your future and wanting to better yourself — that’s amazing! A lot of people don’t do that.
I think what you should start thinking about is what “success” means to you. It doesn’t have to mean going to the best school or getting to the top of your field. The great thing about life is YOU get to define what success looks like. I think that’s pretty awesome. So take this time to think about that and what’s most important to you in life. When you are clear on what is important to you, you can start to think about the kind of life you want to create and start taking your own path to get there.
I hope this helps! You will be just fine, I promise!
Photography by Kendall McLeod.