Saturday, 10 September 2016

075. Turn Back Time: A Letter to My 16 Year Old Self || Day 9/GGBlogChallenge

I'm sorry to have been away from blogging for a few days. Things have been so crazy busy--so many things to sort out, a few details to iron out, a few loopholes to close up. Okay, that last part's an exaggeration.

For Day 9, the challenge is to write a letter to my sixteen year old self. Boy, it's like going back through time, sifting through memories. While we can't use the Time Turner like Hermione Granger did in the third Harry Potter novel, it would be fun to write this letter, nevertheless. 

When I was sixteen, I am on my way to senior year in high school*. I was excited, nervous and terrified, all at the same time. It was a rollercoaster--but I wouldn't trade that year for all the frozen yoghurt in the world. Below is my class picture in high school--that's how most uniforms in Philippine high schools--public (meaning state/government funded) and private (fee paying, to UK readers reading this post).

Photo credits courtesy of Abby Veloso, one of my friends from high school. She's in the picture, third from left.  Haha now you will find out  how long it's been since I was sixteen!

Dear Sixteen Year-Old Layla,

Congratulations! You're going to be a senior in high school. Just a few steps away from college! Girl, you've got your work cut out for you. 

You'll have to deal with college applications, yearbook related-stuff, that Journalism project that's going to take up a lot of your time. Oh and yeah, Physics. I know you hate that subject, but trust me, you're going to make good use of it in the future. You'll never know when you're going to need it. 

Girl, you can do it. You can battle your way through school-related angst, like dealing with your groupmate in your Journalism class for the newspaper project, and the newscasting. You have to remember that not a lot of people will appreciate the things you do for them--sometimes being a leader can be a very thankless designation. But you're going to get through this, I promise you. 

Also, you have to learn when to say no. Sometimes, the timing is essential--you've got to weigh in the possible consequences before you commit to a certain project, because you will be letting a lot of people down if you can't deliver. So if you know you have to focus more on studying for maths and Physics, and you'll need more time to study, say no, even if it's tempting to go back and work for the school paper. To put it bluntly, set your priorities straight. 

So, let's forget school and academic stuff for a while. That guy who keeps on borrowing your pen and asks you out? Suss him out properly. He may be cute, but if he's not treating you well, you'll have to kiss your dreams being his girlfriend goodbye. Frankly, life's too short to settle with a jerk. You deserve someone who treats you well. Period. 

As much as you hate it being pointed out to you, listen to your parents. They have more years of life experience than you. If you can't go to your classmate's party, it's because they know it's possibly not safe to go there, because you know, teenagers in a party (especially when there's a possibility of having contraband booze involved) lose all track of common sense. Don't resent it when you go to a classmate's house for a class project and they ask for the number of your classmate's home (sorry girl, you've not yet earned the right to have a mobile phone), and when you're coming home. They might possibly ask for the home address, because they don't want you to loiter anywhere else, so they're fetching you after they go home from work. They just want you to be safe. 

When your parents want to get involved in your quest to choose your college degree and the right school, they do it because they care about you, and they are as deeply invested in your future. You say you want a career in law, so you have to listen to their suggestions about your undergraduate degree**. Something that gives you a more appropriate skill set. 

Sweetie, it's gonna pay off in the end. 

You're going to be okay. Just hang in there, and enjoy the ride.

*In the Philippines, before the K-12 education system, the year levels are as follows: Six years of elementary school (a typical first grade schoolchild in the Philippines is seven years old, and will finish elementary school at twelve, unless the school has seventh grade; four years of high school (or secondary school--a typical high school freshman in the Philippines is thirteen years of age, and will be sixteen when he or she graduates high school); then college, or university. A Filipino college student is normally seventeen years of age.

Some universities and colleges have three terms, one college even has four terms. The years of study depend on the degree programme; some have degrees that go as long as five years. It might be longer, especially if some fail their classes and they have to take the subject again. The standard length is usually four years.

**Like the US, law schools in the Philippines require their applicants to have an undergraduate degree. It can be any four year course. I have a friend who is a licensed mechanical engineer before he went to law school. My fraternity brother is a licensed pharmacist. Most of my friends in law school have studied Political Science for their undergraduate degree. I have studied Legal Management in college--which is something like a paralegal's course. I think this course is very unique and is only found in the Philippines. It's a combination of Law and Management, and second to Political Science, it is touted by some as one of the good pre-law courses.


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