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July 23, 2011

A Word of Advice: Be yourself and believe in yourself

As I prepare to leave for college, I find myself reminiscing about everything I went through during high school.

We have all felt as if we didn't belong or fit in and struggled to find who we really are. We feel like we should change who we are on the outside because everyone else is different.

With college right around the corner, I finally find myself ready to be who I am. After four years of high school, dealing with changes and drama, you eventually find who you really are and want to be. No one is perfect and no one should pretend to be.

Everyone has flaws. Instead of masking them, face them head on and acknowledge them.

I have had self-esteem issues for as long as I can remember and yet have found a way to deal with them. For some it's easier than others. My grandma and dad are two of the most confident people I know. Same with my mom, her saying is, 'if you don't like what you see, then don't look."

However I still worry what everyone thinks of me.

I hope when I'm in college I will not have the time to care about what others think of me. I'm going to college to get an education, not to impress the people around me.

After being self-conscious for so long, what I can tell other people out there is to own it.

When people realize you have a low-self-esteem issue you become a target for bullies. It can also make it hard for your friends you tell you certain things because they are afraid that they will hurt your feelings.

What you also have to realize is that most people around you are going through the same thing.

To make sure that your self-esteem does not decrease more, you should surround yourself with positive, upbeat people.

If friends are consistently putting you down or pointing out your flaws, you should move on to new friends, as their rude comments only make it harder to feel confident.

A life lesson that can be used in any situation would be, "You should never change your personality to fit in with a group. They should accept you for who you are." This comes into play with people in school, college and even co-workers. If someone can't accept who you are, then move on. Simple as that.

No matter what people tell you, nobody is perfect. All we can do is live the life we want to live and go with the flow of things. When people try to micromanage their life, they end up not having a "life" at all. Do not surround yourself with negative Nancys. Believe in yourself.

Melissa Flathmann is a 2011 graduate of Oneonta High School. Would you like A Word of Advice from her? Send her an e-mail at or send her a letter to "Teen Talk: A Word of Advice," C/O The Daily Star, P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at

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