Shiny and miserable.

Tonight, I’m meeting with a friend and her high school senior daughter. The daughter is in the midst of nerve wracking college decisions, and is torn between majoring in theatre or English. Seeing as how I started out a theatre major and switched to English, they want to pick my brain.

At first, I was very flattered. And then I realized that I needed to find something worthwhile to actually say.

I’ve polled a few friends with theatre and/or English degrees. We agree that it doesn’t matter what your major is. It matters that you find something you love and get experience and training. The rest will follow.

But the whole exercise makes me think of being a 17-year-old high school senior. I was so uptight and scared about everything. Scared of going to the “right” school. Scared of not doing the “right” things. Scared of not doing what “everyone” expected of me and thereby ruining my entire life.

Damn, girl. Chill out.

So, really, if I had a chance to address the 17-year-old me, I’d probably say this:

Don’t pick a college simply because the process freaks you out and your mom says she can picture you at a specific school.

Forget about what you think people expect you to do. You won’t disappoint anyone who matters. Really, the world is just happy that you’re wearing pants. The rest is gravy.

You don’t have to be perfect, and you aren’t supposed to be perfect. Stop starving yourself.

Enjoy where you are right now. Don’t stress out about the details – you won’t remember them in 15 years anyway.

And finally, how do you get your hair so shiny? Older you has hair that is dry and she looks at pictures of 17-year-old you with glossy, magazine hair and wonders if Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies – one of two foods you eat – contain magical proteins that go right to the hair follicle.

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