Joss Whedon’s Advice for Surviving High School


Yesterday we told you about the launch of Rookie, a new website for teenage girls from fashion blogger/child prodigy Tavi Gevinson. While we liked the sound of what she was promising to give her audience, we were curious as to whether she would be able to deliver the goods. Consider us pleasantly surprised. In “Higher Learning,” Rookie has collected advice from some of their “favorite grownups” on how to navigate the murky waters of high school. Plenty of it, like the snippet below from Joss Whedon, the man behind cult-hit TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, easily applies to those of us who are more than twice the age of Tavi’s target demographic.

We all want to be accepted. If possible, liked. Loved. But nobody ever got to be popular by desperately wanting to be. (Well, maybe Madonna.) Whether you crave attention or anonymity, you’ll be thwarted if you focus on those goals. I was actually gunning for a bit of both, but I only succeeded, in the end, because I knew I had the right to be myself. The judgments of others, however painful, would always be external. I was fiercely calculated about establishing myself as someone not to be trodden on (I’d had plenty of that from my brothers, thank you), but it really only worked because I knew, as much as a tiny-15-year old can, who I was. I was a short, annoying, existential, girl-repelling mess — but I KNEW that. I honored that. I defended that. And as intimidated as I super-incredibly was in that alien environ, I never lost that.

Check out the rest of Whedon’s advice, along with equally interesting contributions from Zooey Deschanel, Dan Savage, Kid Sister, Patton Oswalt, and a host of others, over on Rookie.