You wait little girl, on an empty stage, for fate to turn the light on.
Dear 16 Year Old Yujin,
Unlike other people who look back to their younger selves and reflect on how foolish or shortsighted they had been, I respect you as much as I respect myself now. Granted, it has only been four years since I was you, at sixteen going on seventeen. But you don’t do the sixteen-year-old things, I know. You are in your second year in college. You recently picked a major and now you are facing a mountain of transfer applications. And there’s the family business, the money… You see, you have much more grown-up issues to worry about than high school gossip or prom (you have never been, and you will never go).
A part of you enjoys being treated like an adult so soon, but a part of you pities yourself for it (especially the prom part). You are worried sick for your future because everyone is somehow impressed with you already. But inside, you know they are all horribly mistaken. I’m sixteen, for crying out loud. And who knows what will happen? Am I doing anything right? It’s a pretty dark time for you.
And the thing is, Yujin, you can only do so much. It will be okay. Actually, it will be pretty awesome.
I will try not to spoil too much for you, but yes, you get into schools. The one that you end up choosing is going to be so awesome, you are going to spend your years there just endlessly appreciating everything and everyone. You will get to try so many things and meet so many amazing people. I miss it terribly. I am currently taking a year off to help the family after graduation before I start, yes, law school.
The important thing to take away from this is that all you can be is patient and persistent. The time will come in which you get to have your own version of late teen fun, so relax and just keep trying your best. As your favorite song of the year says, the fate will turn the light on.
I do realize I sound very old here. I’m only twenty, and that’s two years younger than how old Charmain Carr was when she played Liesel in The Sound of Music. I still haven’t met the “older and wiser” guy “telling me what to do” (which sounds pretty bad now that I come to think of it, but if you are into that…). But I can at least tell you that fate has indeed turned the light on. Now I just have to show that audience what we’ve got.
Yujin Chun graduated from Duke (Go Blue Devils!) with a BA in English and will be starting law school in the fall. She’s a fan of poetry, sitcoms, ice cream, Broadway musicals, iPhone games, and avocados. You can follow her on Twitter.