Read postcards from future Queensland

Wish you were here is wrapping up, with life slowly returning to normal (ish) and students heading off on holidays. For our final challenge, we asked you to write a postcard from your future self to your present self, giving three pieces of advice and one warning. And what a wise bunch of writers responded to our call! Below you can read some of our favourites from our final lesson. 

We have had such a joyous journey with all of our writers in Wish you were here. Thanks to the teachers and parents who encouraged their young writers to imagine the future. But special thanks go to everyone who submitted, even if we ran out of space to publish you all. We read every entry, and we have been inspired, surprised, amused, and sometimes you even made us cry.

So what are our three pieces of advice for aspiring writers? 1) Read a lot. 2) Write a lot 3) Don’t let anyone or anything close down your imagination. And our warning: don’t forget how spectacular you are! 

 Five years after lockdown

Grace M, Cooroibah 4565, Grade 9 student

Dear 14-year-old Grace,

Can you believe you will actually be 19 one day?! Life at the moment is so good, I'm currently studying on a scholarship at The University of Queensland and I'm also working at a local cafe to save up for that amazing around the world trip we've always dreamed of! I know that you are currently in the middle of a pandemic and life is only just getting back to normal but I assure you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, you will make it through. As you slowly approach your senior years don't forget to keep aiming high in school and don't worry about all the assignments and exams to come, you'll smash them! I have one more piece of advice for you, never give up! Never stop training for Triathlon World Champs, we're almost there! Also, keep working on your self-confidence, you'll get there eventually. So before I say goodbye I have one warning, there are still some bad things to come but if you follow my advice you'll be fine and just remember we made it!

From your 19-year-old self

Aishah P, South Maclean 4280, Grade 11 student 

To past me,

A lot has happened during the year 2020, especially with the bush fires, protests all around the world and, of course, the deadly virus. You've had your ups and downs and your sad and happy moments and have learned a lot from this year so far. As future you, I want to give you three pieces of advice, so read carefully.

1. Enjoy your last years before you become an adult and have to take on more responsibilities. Do as many things as you can before your youth wastes away. Have fun with friends, family and loved ones, as well as devoting time to yourself. 
2. Focus hard on studies and never slack off or procrastinate. The hard work will pay off! 
3. Have an open mind and be kind to those who deserve it. Always be generous and help out wherever and whenever you can.

Those are my three key pieces of advice. I do have a warning for you, though; Never go down the wrong path or lose sight of who you are as a person. In this modern world, going in the wrong direction is almost too easy. 

future you

Makaira G, Karana Downs 4306, Grade 8 student 

Greetings youthful and former self,
I suppose you’re just itching to get a glimpse into your chaotic yet marvellous future. Patience my dear, I can however ease your worries: I’m or should I say you are not a dentist. Jeepers, wouldn’t that be unsettling. Currently, I’m scheming to construct a portable water filtration device. Oh wouldn’t that be utterly life-changing as the numbers of people lacking access to potable water is practically sky-rocketing every day, you wouldn’t believe it. Let me tell you that burning spark in you to relieve the social issues of our world has not been extinguished, rather ignited into an unstoppable inferno. 
I’m absolutely terrified of uncertainty, rejection and failure and Mother’s voice constantly rings in my head. I can hear her murmuring in my ear “It doesn’t have to be perfect, nobody’s perfect”. I have never seemed to grasp this concept entirely well as you by now should know. 
Perfectionism is undermining your boundless potential but why take advice from me? Well I’ll answer that I know you better than any other individual in this vast galaxy, well I am you. Live in confidence and you’ll flutter like a butterfly, you continuously praise others achievements but fail to commend your own. Respect yourself, your individuality and your talents that you don’t care to admit. That will really set you free. 
Even though Coronavirus will soon be in the rear view mirror for you, I thought I’d contact you through this new time-travel postal system. People truly have too much time on their hands these days. I primarily wrote this letter to caution and encourage you to squash the “what ifs” and doubts swarming in your head, clouding your vision, convincing you that you are incapable; as you are so worthy. Experience really is the greatest teacher. Remember mistakes are opportunities in disguise and that nobody’s life is solely black and white. 
Yours truly,

Elise R, Kelvin Grove 4059, Grade 7 student 

Dear Elise, I am you from five years in the future. I am 17 years old now and almost finished high school. Many things have changed in your life from when lockdown happened. One of the things that happened was your hamsters died. And I know that you are thinking “I don’t have hamsters.” But you bought them when you were 14 years old and you insisted on keeping them in your room. You then never fed them and they starved and died when you went on a trip to Africa five weeks later. So my advice for that is just don’t buy hamsters and if you really, really want to, and you do, don’t keep them in your room and make sure to feed them! 

Your second big event was on your family trip to Africa. Your family decided to really be ‘in the wild’ and that involved camping in the middle of nowhere and that resulted in being attacked by some wild animals. So your family was camping in this space that didn’t have any animals nearby but then, one evening, you were having a campfire and some animals must have sensed danger. There were two lions that came running towards your tent and quickly you all jumped in the car and sped away while the lions tore apart your tent and belongings. So my advice from that is don’t go camping in Africa. 

My final piece of advice is very simple. Be kind. You have many challenges that lay ahead of you and I am certain that you can conquer them but you will need help, so be kind and people will help you. 

Finally, I have to warn you to keep staying healthy because that bad sickness, coronavirus, didn’t leave Australia until you were 15 and the worries of it still exist. Be careful of what you say because many people have had bad experiences and they are still very sensitive whenever you say anything to do with the virus.

I can’t wait for you to experience your action packed life with all of the accomplishments, challenges and fun times you have.

From your future you.

Lucy D, Carindale 4152, Grade 8 student 

Dear past Lucy,
You have made it 5 years into your life and you have survived. Although the COVID-19 lock down really got tough at times I assure you it all turned out ok because you believed in your self and didn't worry about anything. Sure you had some rough times but you made it through. You are getting over your fear of dogs but you still a little scared of them. This has been an excellent year of your life but I don't think you will have a boyfriend anytime soon. I will warn you that this is going to be tough but just stay focused and don't get worried over the little things. also you have achieved not getting badly hurt just a jammed finger a couple of times. Hope you have a great life ahead. You have also gotten better at basketball over 5 years and don't ever think about quitting.
future Lucy

Lexi D, Moggill 4070, Grade 8 student 

Don't worry. 
It'll be okay. Here's some advice and a warning! 
First, don't stress. It'll be okay! I can't give too much away, but we're doing great now. Try not to stress too much. But don't ignore the tasks!
Compartmentalise everything if it's too much. Don't get overwhelmed, when you can take small steps to do it. Remember what Mr. Hoy said? It'll help, I promise!
Don't forget the punchline. Don't forget what you're working towards, what you can give, how you can help others. Don't let it take you over - but don't ignore it, either. You can help, and I know that you will. We can do this together. 
Warning: You're gonna have to let some people go. I know it's scary to think about, but you won't be able to keep in contact with everyone, and that's gonna hurt. 
Don't stop shining brightly, girl. You got this!

Ruby S, Kenmore 4069, Grade 8 student 

Dear Past Ruby,

Hello from your future self. Yes, time travel is now possible but you can only send postcards for some reason. Well, you made it. I am now a successful author at only 17 years old. My 18th birthday is soon and I couldn't be more excited. Dodge, my cat is currently sitting on this postcard as I write it. He is one of the many animals I have rescued but he was so sweet I couldn't give him away. As I was remembering what it was like 5 years ago I realised how much more fun I would've had if I knew what I know now. So I'm going to share with you some advice. Number one is to take opportunities. There are so many things I wish I would've done so just do everything. Secondly, do what you love. Otherwise you will spiral and only god knows what'll happen then. Lastly, don't let COVID-19 get in the way of life. You can still have fun so like I said before take the pandemic as an opportunity. Now for a final warning. Do NOT travel overseas, believe me you'll regret it.

From Future Ruby

Courtney T, Mango Hill 4509, Grade 12 student 

Dear Past Courtney, 
Today marks the 5-year anniversary of the beginning of the pandemic and so, thankfully, I am here in the future to tell you that you will be okay. It was a time in my- our – life where we had felt so infinitely powerless. I remember the exact fear that had my throat close up, my hair on edge and my eyes widened as I’d obsessively watch the media for the next update. I know you’re scared right now. I know you miss being outside, going to restaurants and being able to bask beneath the sunlight and walk for as long as your heart desired; all cares demolished. You can trust me, Courtney, it will all come back for you. You can trust me. In about a year you will enter university and you will still be so shocked that you’re out your house and attending classes. A year after that, you will be a bird leaving the nest as you move into your own apartment, completely free of plagued fears. And 5 years after that you will be sitting on this bench, seated amid the residential park, not even a week after your boyfriend has proposed to you. And you will be writing this letter to let yourself know that you are okay. 
And you are more than okay. You are alive, living and you no longer fear being outside. You just need to keep reminding yourself of how strong you are and how much you have to live for. Keep staying inside to keep yourself safe and, most of all, stop stressing about what the future holds. Let yourself live. You are okay. 
Thank you for keeping me safe. You have a lot to look forward to, Courtney of the Past. 
Much love, 
Courtney of the Future