What my Younger Self Needed to Hear
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
By: Brianna Gadaleta
1. Stand up for what you believe in
Especially in such a politically significant time, I wish there was a person to encourage me to stand up for what I believe in, and to promote positive change. Middle and high school are suffocating for the budding personality of a developing mind; the social norm is to be the same, don’t be different, don’t think differently. As a young kid it's common to assimilate into the culture that surrounds you, even if that means adopting ideas that aren’t empowering yourself or others. I would tell myself to venture outside of parent’s views, friend’s and peers' comments and challenge myself to deeper thinking and self reflection; even if it’s uncomfortable to talk about.
2. Change is natural
With time comes change, which can be something amazing but also something terrifying. When I was younger, change scared the hell out of me, switching from middle school to high school, and even on to college. The fear of the unknown crippled my mind of the positives that come with change; I could never see the bright light at the end of the tunnel. I urge young people to embrace alterations, whether they stem from a good or bad place. The simplest way to put it is, life happens, things happen you have to roll with the punches, and not let them hit you in the face, make something out of it.
3. Be grateful for parents, guardians, aunts, uncles, grandparents and any form of role model!
Up until recent years, I didn’t understand how much my parents really did for my brothers and I. As young kids we know that parents have the job that makes money, but not another thought was given. I’m fortunate enough to have my hardworking father who puts in so much effort to set my brothers and I up for a successful future; and to have a Mother who tirelessly took care of doctors appointments to soccer practices up until we could handle it ourselves. Family members do all of this, but don’t expect anything back, they do it out of unconditional love. So next time somebody does something for you, treat them to a meal, do the laundry, clean the kitchen or simply say ‘thank you’.
4. Hard Work trumps talent
Growing up in a small town and excelling in basketball at a young age made me get attention. I always thought that it made me special and that one day, I would play in the WNBA. As I started playing club basketball, being exposed to girls from around the country, I had to learn the hard way that people have the same talent. But what sets you apart, is the determination that carries you towards becoming better at your talent. If you have the focus, drive and the sheer will to work hard, you’ll beat anybody at their own game. Mental toughness is dramatically undervalued in this world, and it can be the one thing that makes you rise to the top.
5. Don’t rush growing up
Although I’m still young and I’ve got a lot to go, my teen years have seemed to fly right under my nose. The mindset growing up is I can’t wait until I get to drive, or have a credit card, or go to college but in reality it's not as pleasant as movies and tv shows write it. I miss the simple times of getting my Mom to allow me to sleepover friends’ or hearing the gossip on middle school couples, playing sweet and sour on the bus. This world throws you into adulthood real quick, forcing you to sink or swim and you’ll be wishing for the times when all you had to memorize was the times tables. I’d tell my younger self to soak in all the moments of each year, enjoying all the adventures and dreams of being a little guppy in a huge pond.