1. To be pretty, popular and succeed at life all you needed was blonde highlights, a rara skirt and a serious pair of hair straighteners – GHDs if your parents loved you enough.
2. All your confidence came from leaning over in assembly and showing off your new diamante thong to all the classes sat behind you.
3. Social media was MSN Messenger, but you had to use the family computer in the lounge for that and any time your mum wanted to use the phone to call her mate Sue, you’d be disconnected mid-chat from your school crush. ROFL.
4. You got to play with Bunsen Burners a fair amount, and put your gel pens into the flame and then twist them like a complete bad ass. Because where’s the fun in a pen that isn’t just an ugly piece of burnet plastic, eh?
5. You got TWO lunch breaks, and pretty much always ate your entire packed lunch during the first one because you’re a growing girl, obvs.
6. You could prank call the boys you fancied by looking up their home number in the phone book. What a dream.
7. You didn’t wear lipstick, only Lip Smackers and pale pink gloss, which meant you didn’t get bright red smears on your chin the minute you even looked at a piece of food.
8. There were house parties all. the. damn. time. THE BEST THING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, EVER, EVER, EVER. Aside from y’know, when you had to witness your best mate getting fingered.
9. It was easy to tell if a guy was into you. He just called you fat or made fun of your small boobs. Simple.
10. You didn’t have to work out who you were. You were a townie, emo or a skater and that was that.
11. Planning your outfit for non school uniform day was way more exciting than pay day, the new season of Orange Is The New Blacl, and finding a bar that sells Prosecco for less than £15 a bottle all rolled into one, and you know it.
12. There was always a fit newly qualified teacher who made you get sexy twinges and giggle every time you saw him round school as you trotted between classes.
13. There was no better feeling of extreme satisfaction than writing you name in your best handwriting on a new exercise book at the beginning of a new school year.
14. It was beyond cool to go on holiday and get all your hair braided in cornrows so that you looked like Monica Gellar. Complete with brightly coloured beads and maybe a Henna tattoo thrown in for good measure.
15. All your decisions could be made by a rubber that said yes on one side and no on the other. Or, failing that, a Magic 8 ball.
16. There was no better feeling of success and glory than when you smoked up the school field with the cool kids and didn’t choke up your entire lung in the process OR get caught by a teacher.
17. You got to leave at THREE IN THE AFTERNOON and watch Hey Arnold!, Arthur, Two Of A Kind and Sabrina The Teeange Witch instead of y’know doing the clothes wash, cooking dinner and hoovering.
18. You weighed eight stone. No seriously, you did.
19. Instead of using a computer to make spreadsheets, you got to spend half an hour deciding which Word Art design would make your piece of work most poignant.
20. You were still young enough to read Jacqueline Wilson books and snap them up from school book fairs <3
21. If you were in a bad mood you could just take it out on substitute teachers by lying about your name, or pretending to be your friend instead. You rascal, you.
22. You were allowed to go with your parents to WHSmith and Woolworths to pick out new stationery every single bloody September. Every single bloody one. What a life!
23. The satisfaction at nailing the perfect new black school shoes at the start of term can never be beaten, not ever. Would you go for Kickers, Hush Puppies or ballet pumps?
24. You couldn’t get no-going-to-the-gym guilt because you got forced into doing PE. (BTW who the effing heck used those showers in the changing rooms?)
25. If you wanted yourself to become less of a target for bullies all you had to do was put your collar up. Simple as.
26. If things didn’t go right with your crush you could always just play it out on The Sims when you got home. He could never leave you that way because YOU were in control.
27. You had the notes pages in your school planner to do sums to find out what percentage you were compatible with your crush, send notes about who got with who the Monday after a house party, and to waste away science classes doodling instead of listening to boring tales about Photosynthesis.
28. Yes, it’s nice to have an iPhone you can listen to your music on, but there’s nothing quite as fun as not knowing what the next song on you MP3 player was going to be. It made your life so much more unpredictable and exciting.
29. You’d never seen your boyfriend outside of school let alone kissed them, easiest relationship ever.
30. You were never hit with £80 phone bills because your parents bought your top up cards for you and tbf you only ever sent about 22 texts a month.
31. You didn’t need to worry about whether your eyebrows were defined enough or the right shape or if they looked enough like Cara Delevingne’s, as long as they were only one hair thick they were instant winners.
32. You got holidays with approximately 60% of your friendship group that you didn’t have to pay for or even organise, who cares if they were just to France and involved a 2732516 hour coach journey, they were the absolute dream.
33. You could spend five years discussing prom knowing it was 99.9% definitely going to happen. You could discuss the dress, the transport, the after party. Turns out you can’t do that with a wedding, there’s a chunky chance no-one will ever actually want to walk down the aisle with you.
34. Your social life was the easiest thing ever. You saw your friends every single day because well, it was illegal if they didn’t show up, y’know?
35. You were allowed to fancy Aaron Carter. (BTW, I’m standing by this until I die)
36. And most importantly you still had your entire future ahead of you, and could be anything or anyone you wanted to be. What I’d give to go back and tell my 16-year-old self that everything really would be OK in the end <3