What a question. If I could go back in time, I would do high school over again. Don’t get me wrong, High School was a fun time for me, but there are so many things I would change if ever given the opportunity. One of things I would tell high school Aisha is LOVE YOURSELF through it all and enjoy every moment because these four years are going to fly by.
“Aisha…girl, I know you are going through some things, I know so many people doubt your ability…but girl, you got this! Just keep going.”
These are the words I could have used for myself during my high school years.
I did so much during high school. The goal was to stay busy and market myself to get into one of the best colleges. I had a plan from the start of 9th grade. I knew there were certain classes I needed to take, I knew there were certain opportunities I needed to take advantage of, and I knew that I had to study extremely hard to score at least a 1200 on my SAT for that full ride. I made Captain of the cheer squad my junior year, Senior Girl Scout, Praise Dancer, and so much more. My high school was small but mighty. Each student had to pick an Academy that they anticipated they would go into after high school/college. We had the Finance Academy, Health Academy, and the Technology Academy. I joined the Finance Academy. I learned so much about what I wanted to do after high school from that Academy. I got my first paid internship at a Brokerage Firm because of the Academy. I learned all about the Stock Market and fell in love.
Becoming the Cheer Captain was a game changer, but it came at a cost. I had to give up on some of the things I really wanted/needed to do. One of the main things was having surgery on my feet. In the 10th grade the doctor told me I would continue to have pain in my feet unless I have surgery. It would mean that I would have to be off my feet for a minimum of 6 months. That meant giving up my spot on the squad. If I would have done it, I definitely would not have made Captain. That was not something I wanted to give up. Little did I know I should have. Now as an adult and still dealing with the pain because I waited, I wish I would have told myself to just do it. Plus, the healing as an adult was far worse than if I would have done it as a teenager. Again, something else I wish I could have told my younger self to think longer on.
One of my biggest problems in high school was I listened to the negativity of others and let it stop me from doing so many things. My counselor told me even with the grades I had and the extracurricular activities I was involved in, I would only be good enough for a Junior College because my SAT and ACT scores were so low. I was a horrible, standardized test taker. Prepping for the SAT and ACT caused me so much anxiety. When it was time to take the test, I would just blank out, each time I took them (3x with SAT and 2x with ACT). I believed him and decided to not apply to college until Dr. Brazil, my College Prep Pastor, made me rethink how much I truly need to listen to other people. If only I could go back in time and tell Aisha to keep applying, even to the schools you didn’t think you could get into. I probably would have opened more doors for myself. I applied to some HBCUs, but I was in fear of going because I was told some things by my counselor that scared me into staying local. I got into a few HBCUs and was ready to take the leap, but not getting my financial aid packet in time held me up a bit. If I could go back, I would definitely tell myself to take that leap of faith and GO!
I struggled with my self-esteem all four years of high school. I took the societal “standard of beauty” as life. I would read a certain magazines and wish I could like the models in the photos. I would let what boys would say is beautiful and try to do whatever I could to match it. Unfortunately, that meant doing harm to myself. Most days I would only want to eat once a day and live off Certs and Pepsi because I did not want to gain weight. At one point I was making myself vomit if I had to eat more than “normal.” I had to keep the image that everyone else said was beautiful. If I could go back and tell high school Aisha anything I would say, “Love Yourself Girl! See the beauty in yourself. Don’t let anyone or anything make you feel like you are not beautiful.” I would tell myself to set my own standard of beauty. I would also tell myself to get up from that toilet and let that food sit. Don’t do that to yourself. You are too beautiful Aisha! I know I still struggle with self-esteem and weight, but I am looking at myself differently than I did as a teen.
I know I can’t go back, but as I sit back and reflect, I know I would be a happier Aisha if I could have just told myself to live life and enjoy it! Think about the Future you and not just the Right now you!