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Letter to My 16-year-old Self

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Everyone becomes a victim of nostalgia at some point -- it's common to look back on fond memories and also question past motives. Individuals come to important realizations in the midst of these recollections, courtesy of hindsight bias. The looming question is: what to do with these newfound understandings?

That's where Simon and Schuster's new book comes in. Dear Me: More Letters to My Sixteen Year Old Self by Joseph Galliano was published this past October and is a collection of letters written by celebrities addressed to -- you guessed it -- their 16-year-old selves.

J.K. Rowling wrote the foreword to the book, so clearly it deserves a place on my bookshelf. The compilation of narratives also demonstrates the ability to reminisce on good times while also providing imagined advice to the teenage versions of ourselves.

At the risk of assuming I've already reached a sense of maturity, I decided to write a letter to 16-year-old Krystie. Even though it's hard to imagine that I've come to a plethora of realizations in only five years, a lot has gone down between the middle of high school and the end of college.

Without further ado, here's some insight into my past and inspiration for other students to do the same.

Dear Me,

You just turned 16 -- the first of all your friends and close peers -- and are in the process of planning an elaborate Sweet 16 party. Do yourself a favor -- save the energy, money, and slight embarrassment and don't have that sweet 16 party you're driving your parents crazy about. There are more modest ways to celebrate your birthday that don't involve expensive invitations and intricate party favors.

On the subject of things not to do, make sure not to waste your time on petty high school drama and gossip. All of that "he said, she said" jargon isn't worth losing quality friendships and the struggle to get them back.

Love a lot, because it turns out that love is pretty damn important. It's the one emotion at the root of all things -- even hate stems from love. Use this deep affection in your relationships, work and every day life. Say thank you when you mean it and express generous amounts of gratitude. Don't apologize when it's unnecessary, because you tend to say "sorry" even when you shouldn't.

Cheer for the "right" team in March Madness, not just the team your boyfriend's rooting for -- it's never too early to don the famously loud t-shirt shirt that reads "Real Champions Wear Orange."

Get a job, woman. I know it's hard to have an accurate perception of money because your parents have always placed you in the privileged position to not worry about cash flow, but it's a valuable lesson to learn. Especially because you'll be a broke college student in three short years.

Don't be nervous about still being in the process of formulating a concrete political consciousness. Explore different ideas, histories, and current events that instinctively spark your interest, and trust that instinct. Being consumed with identifying with one specific political party isn't important, but maintaining your passion for specific issues is.

With all that said, don't do anything differently. Live without regrets because the decisions you're making right now will eventually lead you to be the person I am today, and I'm pretty happy with the way things have turned out so far. I know you're not Shakespeare's biggest fan, but the man put it best when he wrote, "Let's not burden our remembrance with a heaviness that's gone."