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Manual-for-self-care

Student Writing: Gilbert’s “Note to Self”

Dear 14 year old me,

Your family? Yeah they’re okay. They’re happy, that’s all that matters. I could tell a bunch of stories about them but I’m going to let you see for yourself. School? Don’t worry, you’re going to walk the stage. Trust me, it won’t be easy at all, but you’ll do it. Even though you say you don’t care now, I know you do. According to my last talk with your counselor, we’re also walking the stage for high school. We met a lot of people and lived a lot of things that helped us through it. Your future? Well I can’t tell much about it right now other than your current problems will be solved, and you have bigger, yet more rewarding, ones to solve.

Oh, and we’ll move to Mexico for 2 years. Get ready, it will be the best 2 years of your life. Trust me, you need this break. Your mind and eyes will open up to a lot of things that you’re blind to right now because of the environment you’re in. Everything there is so simple and no one cares about anything other than who you are because everyone has their own battle they are fighting. So it’s pointless for them to point out yours. After that we’re going to come back for the last year and a half for high school. It’s been hard making up all our English and History classes but in a year we made up ten classes and now have two to go. How do I deal with all this going on? Remember how you said you hated reading and that it was boring? Well that will change soon. In Mexico, you will deal with a lot of stuff, mostly adapting, and in that process you will take trips to the library to read. Reading will be your escape, it will let you get your mind off things and, for a brief moment, you will get out of reality. Your dream about being a social worker is still standing. It’s still for the same reason — to help others. I first heard what a social worker was in middle school because I found out a good friend had one. He told me how much the social worker helped him with his problems at home. Seeing how the social worker helped my friend made me want to be a social worker in future. So, I read books about people going through things that life puts them through, emotionally, physically, and in any other type of way. Yeah, that whole “I want to go and be with my friends” act is just a phase. I mean, you will want to go out, but not to the same places. Before, those places were amusements parks and the movies. Places to distract myself from my life. Now they’re more quiet places. Place you thought were for grown up people, where I can think and focus on myself.

I have a lot of plans for the future. I also have a lot of doubts. The thought of the future motivates, but it can be intimidating. But there’s not a lot I can do other than just deal with whatever is in front of me. I hope this helped you at least, to know everything will be ok. There’s no real advice I can give you because all this could change in the next few years. Other than don’t lose sight of what you want and that you never really know what’s going to happen so whatever does happen just go with it and deal with it. Everything will get better. Everything you’re stressing out about now is nothing compared to your future success.


In Manual for Self-Care, students in Ms. Contreras’ health class explore ways that they take care of themselves through all of life’s stressors, trials and tribulations. Through prose, poetry, and journal entries students write about moments they’ve faced adversity and still managed to remain positive.

Interested in helping students write stories like these? Become a volunteer.

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