A letter to my 16-year-old self

NUS president Toni Pearce, age 23, writes to her teenage self

Share
Related Topics

Letter to My Sixteen Year Old Self (Toni Pearce, NUS President – age: 23)

I'm writing to you from London, but probably not for the reason you might expect. You didn't grow up and become a really successful doctor, or even a not very successful doctor. This isn't where you went to university. In fact, you didn't even go to university. I know it's hard to believe. But bear with me. Other people got over it, so can you. But you did alright nevertheless..

There's so much going on in your life, and it's not easy when you’re in and out of hospital. But you will get better. And I know you wish you could spend all your time playing sport and that being disabled was never part of the plan but it'll teach you to be strong; if you can get through the next couple of years you can get through anything.

Quit your job. Seriously. You don't have to work every night after college for less than the minimum wage in a Chinese takeaway, being objectified by your boss. I know it's hard but you will find something else, and you'll love it.

Stop worrying about everything. Where you're going to go to university, how much your boyfriend likes you, being too fat, too thin. Or too much of a nerd. Honestly, someday that'll be cool.

Don't ever stop questioning everyone and everything, and have the courage to tell people what you think, no matter what your teachers say. One day you'll believe in your values so much you'll stand up in front of thousands of people to defend them.

Do what's right for you. When someone tells you to get involved in your students' union, don't worry about what other people will think. Stand up and tell people you're a feminist.

Put just a tiny bit more effort into your exams and then when everyone expects you to go to uni, make the decision you want to make. Don't listen to the careers advice that says that you'll never be successful if you don't go; it's nonsense. Choose to do something different. You won't regret it.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

ERP Business/ Implementation Analyst

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This is an e...

Engineering Design Manager (Mechanical)

£35000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: ENGINEERING ...

SSIS Developer Required - Leading Media Company

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A world leading media organisation is cu...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Miami skyline  

A new wave of Latin Americans is invading Miami – and they're bringing in wealth

David Usborne
The first woman in the Royal Navy is history to command a major warship  

If we want true gender equality, Commander Sarah West must be treated the same as any man

Jane Merrick
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz