• Gina Denny

Dear High School Gina,

Today, I am writing a letter to my high school self. If you happen to be a long, long time follower of my family blog (which I will not link to and is not searchable- so please don’t try), then maybe you’ve read part of this before.

But I doubt it. Because about six people read that blog every day. And two of them are my parents. So… yeah.

Anyway, in regards to this Dear High School Me letter, most people’s messages probably have a lot to do with the Nike theme of “Just Do It.” You know, dance even though you don’t know how, go ask out that guy/girl because the embarrassment is not real and the possibility that you will have a good time is, etc.

I don’t think I needed those messages. My high school self struggled in a different way, I guess.

Dear High School Gina, Waaaaasssuuuuuuup. Uh, yeah. I graduated in 2000, which means that this commercial was THE Super Bowl Commercial of the year: and High School Gina would not recognize Future Gina if she did not use the Waasssuuuuup greeting, as High School Gina thought that this was the appropriate greeting for all occasions. Please don’t stop being my friend.

I am talking to you from the future, and I have a few tips for you.

1. Talk softer. Yes, I know, not everybody on campus will hear you at once if you dialed it down a notch, but you will be so much more pleased with the way you come across in videos if you could just ratchet it back a bit.

2. Be a little LESS individualistic. Yes, this is contrary to popular advice; but someday you will regret wearing overalls, camo print, a pink plastic whale necklace, glitter eyeshadow, crimped hair, butterfly clips, sneakers and your Letterman’s jacket. At the same time. Pay attention to what others around you are doing and maybe, just maybe, try to follow at least a little bit of what they are doing. This is called “avoiding extremes” and “being normal”, and it is a skill you will need to perfect at some point, so get a little head start now; you’ll have less catch up to do later.

3. The juniors department is for girls without curves. The misses department is for girls with curves. And by “curves”, I don’t mean “big thighs, stomach and bra fat” I mean the real meaning of the word : breasts and hips. You don’t need a size 13, you need a size 4. Just because you developed early doesn’t mean you are fat, you’re just a different shape. Go shop on the other side of the store, you’ll feel better about yourself.

4.  Smile in pictures. You look prettier. Less funny, perhaps, but prettier.

5. Don’t worry that you aren’t dating a bunch (at all) in high school. Someday you’ll actually be glad that you didn’t kiss 15 guys before you graduated. You will share your “list” with somebody someday and you’ll be glad it’s short. Very short.

6. Your mom is right. You are intimidating. Later on, this will be referred to as “leadership” and “management potential” and you will be paid gobs of money for having it.

7.  Be honest with yourself as to what your skills are. You may think that you are “supposed” to be good at certain things, but you aren’t. Just because you are smart doesn’t mean you are good at everything. Figure out NOW what you are ACTUALLY good at, not what you WANT to be good at. You’ll save yourself a ton of money and time in college. Speaking of college…

8.  Prepare for college. Take all the classes that your adviser advises. Yes, you can get in without taking calculus, but take it anyway. Take the AP tests, not just the classes. Take the SAT, not just the ACT. When you’re in college, you’ll want more time to take important classes, like the History of Rock and Roll and Literature vs. Film, instead of wasting time on College Algebra, Biology and World History when you already completed all the work to receive credit. Take the stupid tests.

9.  Put down the Snickers bars and Pepsi. I know, your metabolism is fantastic and right now you can burn through 5,000 calories a day and stay 130 lbs, but it won’t always be that way. After you have 3 babies in 4 years, it will much easier to get back to 130 pounds if your favorite foods are not pizza, Snickers, Pepsi, Oreos, cheeseburgers and enchiladas. Branch out and learn to love some veggies.

10.  Don’t try to steal that girl’s boyfriend. You will succeed, but, ironically, you will be the only one hurt. (She will forgive you not because she is naive or stupid, but because she is a better person than you)

11. Those girls that you think are your best friends? The ones that you will “always” keep in touch with? Guess what. You do. Fourteen years after meeting, you still love them just as much now as you did then. You all have not been in the same state at the same time in… nine years? Is that right? But, my point is, don’t listen when teachers and parents tell you that you won’t stay friends with your high school friends. These are some of the greatest friends of your life.


While we are on the subject of high school, my husband and I had some common ground in high school. We were both in marching band:

And apparently red and black and white are the only acceptable high school colors… And yes. My cape has been flipped up onto my head, I am crossing my eyes and sticking my tongue out the side of my mouth. You’re welcome. Now you know, for a fact, there was somebody way, way nerdier than you in high school. 

We also graduated the same year (from different schools on opposite sides of town).

And then there is the matter of our proms:

#3DLife #SnippetsofMe

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Gina Denny is a writer, homeschooler, and former classroom teacher who writes about parenting and education issues. She also writes science fiction and fantasy for teens and lives near Phoenix, Arizona with her family. 

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