Advice to my 16 year old self by Eva Rice

By Eva Rice - author, musician and former Calne girl

The best looking, coolest boys will - in the majority of cases - be the most boring at 30.  Because they never had to try.

The eccentric, intelligent geeks will be running the country.

When you have a bit of free time- pick up the guitar or go and practise the piano. Unless you marry the man who runs a music shop, you will never again have every instrument you could wish to play at your disposal. Don’t listen to your parents if they say you’re not from a musical family. They shouldn’t condemn you with their own bad experience!

Write short stories and try to make them funny. It’s much harder to be funny than sad.

Write pretentious poetry and get it out of your system. Try to rhyme.

Have sympathy for the teaching staff. Lots of it.

Do work experience somewhere deadly boring eg stacking shelves at Tesco so you realise what you don’t want to do. Swanning into Condé Nast for a week at Tatler does NOT count.

Don’t drink or smoke in excess- it ages you by a decade when you hit 30.

If you’re not going to read the classics, at least have a basic grip on what happens in them. Hedda Gabler was a woman- not an estate agency.

Learn six lines of John Betjamin that you can throw into conversation whenever possible. This sort of thing looks and sounds impressive and can get you out of any number of tricky situations. I recommend the poem ‘Uffington.’

Buy outrageous coats. They will give an impression of confidence and can be put away and given to your daughters who will wear them “ironically.”

Be kind to everyone. People remember kindness more than exam results.

Feel for the underdog.

Start today.

Oh. And what you choose to wear to the Feathers Ball will not affect the rest of your life.