An Open Letter to Middle Schoolers

Middle school is rough. We’ve all been there. It’s awkward. You just can’t wait to get to high school and get away from the confines of uniforms, miniature lockers, and the dabbing-ban. You want to grow up and distance yourself from the stigma that being in middle school often carries. On behalf of your older and slightly wiser peers, please set down the fidget spinners and the Musical.ly for just a minute and allow me to give you a few pieces of advice to guide you through the next few years.

First: realize that the way you brand yourself stays with you.

The dissent you have for adolescence is just now ramping up, and it’s easy to get lost in tween rebellion by sharing an edgy VSCO or finsta post. Be mindful of the image you are putting out into the world; in our sphere of existence, any mistake you make could be used against you.

That being said, it’s okay to make mistakes. That’s the only way that you can grow and learn as a person. Just remember that someone is always watching.

When I was in middle school, my Instagram was full of cringey selfies and bad filters. I consistently broke the “only-post-once-a-day” rule. I must honestly say how impressed I am with how mature your Instagrams look (especially when compared to mine when I was your age). I realize that even though we are only a few years apart, your childhood was pretty different than mine.  Instagram, Snapchat, and all the other large social media platforms weren’t popular until I was in about the sixth grade, which means that they began to gain popularity when the youngest of you were in kindergarten.

We are the first generation of this new frontier. We are the guinea pigs; no one has been through the social media age yet.  It is hard to figure out how to conduct yourself and how to act with all of this newfound media.  Nothing is private anymore. Your Facebook profile reveals all of your personal information while your Instagram showcases everyone you know and your Snapmap shares your location. I advise you all to be careful; I am only a few years older than you, but I have seen the damage social media can do. When presented with two choices, take the high road. Be smart. Don’t put yourself in a position where you could be hurt.

Second: don’t try to rush things or act older than you are.

I have never heard anyone seriously say, “Man, I really peaked in middle school!” In middle school, everything seems permanent. I can assure you that the bad test grade you just received doesn’t define you, the fight you are in with your best friend will be resolved, and the braces will come off.

Enjoy your time in middle school. You know what they say: you are only twelve once. Relish the time you spend with your parents in the car. Remember what it feels like to consistently go to bed at 9:30 p.m. Go as hard as possible when “Cyclone” (if you even still listen to that) comes on at all the bar mitzvahs you attend. You don’t have to grow up yet.

Finally: be nice.

You would be surprised how far kindness goes. Don’t earn the reputation of a mean person. These years of our lives are spent trying to figure out who we are. If someone is different from you, don’t judge them for it. Love them for it. No one expects you to get along with every single person you meet, but it is incredibly childish and immature to belittle or disrespect someone you might not particularly like. There is something admirable about people who have the ability to work with and appreciate everyone around them.

Middle school is one of the most confusing times in your life, but don’t worry. Once you get to high school, you can dab, whip, and nae-nae to your heart’s content.

Sincerely,

      Olivia Marrus

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