8th Grade: Reminders and Lessons from an Awful Time

Marvin Liao
2 min readJun 8, 2024

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I watched the excellent movie “8th Grade.” Boy was it hard and enlightening to watch, as we track a young girl named Kayla on her last week at 8th grade before she heads to High School. There is a quote in the movie that sums it up. “8th grade is the worst. I was, like, a complete mess when I was your age.”

I grew up in Canada but anyone I talk with here in the US or Canada pretty much felt the same way. What a strange time: your body is changing, head full of hormones that you can’t think straight and surrounded by people you are trying to impress as you try to figure yourself out. You never felt like you fit and were not one of the cool kids. You feel like garbage. Thankfully, I always had older friends who helped me through this.

And to make things even worse for this generation, they are aided and abetted by social media like snapchat and Instagram: talking about wrecking your brain and making you feel even crappier. Cool is just on a whole different level now.

I even felt for her father in the movie (and my parents), who have to suffer through temper tantrums, the stoney silence and rage of frustration from a crappy day at school. And as a parent, you have no clue what’s going on, feel powerless and not sure what to do. You just have to take it. I can tell you as the dad of a 14 year girl, I’m right there now.

Whatever you are going through now as an adult, just remember how awful that time in 8th grade was. It sucked pretty badly for me and pretty sure for you too. And you got past it. Just like all the other challenges along your life to get to now. Look at how far you have come.

So quoting Kayla: “some parts of growing up will be really hard and not good, I promise that growing up will get really good.

And I know you probably don’t want any advice from a dumb 8th grader, but if high school sucked for you. I’m really sorry about that.

Just because things are happening to you right now, doesn’t mean they are always going to happen to you. And things will change. And you know, you never know what’s going to happen next, and that’s what makes things exciting and scary. And fun.”

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Marvin Liao

Ever curious: Tsundoku, Reader, Aspiring Shokunin, World traveller, Investor & Tech/Media exec interested in almost everything! www.marvinliao.com