I was one of those little kids who always wanted to be a grown-up. I think that’s because from a young age I was already expected to act like an adult. Coming from a family of divorce will do that to a kid, despite what your parents think/say. I was always social with my parent’s friends, co-workers and teachers. Reading beyond my grade and thinking about where I’d be when I turned 20. I know I’m not disappointed but there are a few things that I wish I knew when I was younger, at least to prepare myself. Especially career-wise and educational wise.
- It’s okay to take longer than 4 years to complete a degree.
- Apply for the job, even if you don’t get it.
- Learn how to time manage better
- Join a sorority sooner
- It’s okay to ask for help
- you can’t have your dream job right away
- skin care = success
- Be nice to others
- Don’t put others down just because you are insecure
- Listen more
- Take a year off before university
- Don’t spend so much money on clothes
- Forgive but never forget
- Don’t be so hard on your parents
- Just because you aren’t in a relationship, doesn’t mean you aren’t loved
- You are enough
- Start meditating, right NOW
- Hangout with the people you care about more
- Don’t straighten your hair as much
- Why are you complaining? Stop complaining… You’re young and alive
- Exercise because you want to feel good, not look good
- Don’t be afraid to be yourself
If I could go into detail about all of these 22 things, we would be here forever. So instead, I’m just going to pick out my top three and explain why I picked them.
First, you may want to know why I encourage myself to take a year off. My reasoning behind it is simple, at 17 or 18 you don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life. In my case, I started school as an Environmental Sciences and Biology student. I wanted to become a marine biologist and help solve climate change, save the seas. That’s still a passion of mine except, I graduated as a Communications, Media and Film student. My experience with my administration and courses over the first two years of University was horrible and I almost ended up flunking out altogether.
If I took a year off before indulging in what I thought was the right path for me, maybe I would began university properly with the degree I obtained now. We’ll never know. All I know is that I wished I traveled more when I was younger, studied as a Eu Pair or lived out of a van for six months. Things that make your character and ability to survive stronger. University only prepared me to write equations, essays and get an A+ in a class where I didn’t do a single reading.
The second thing I wish I knew before I was 22 would have to be not complaining as much. When I was younger, all I would do is complain. I didn’t have the newest toys, the “coolest” clothes or something upset me and I didn’t know how to deal with it. This really continued and worsened throughout my high school years. I would complain about everything under the sun: food, prices, work, boys, friends, school. I sounded like a spoiled brat from ages 15-18 and the worst part was that no one seemed to mind, so I kept going.
It wasn’t until university I started learning to appreciate what I had and tried to not to feel envious about what I didn’t have. This lesson is one I personally believe in and could potentially really help someone grow or open about what’s really wrong with them. From personal experience, I was complaining all the time to unresolved anger but someone else could be dealing with other factors that cause them to overreact and complain. Especially when you’re 16 and you think everything’s the end of the world.
Lastly, something I would tell my younger self is that it’s okay to be me. For a long time, I struggled with trying to impress older kids, adults and teachers. It was exhausting as I put on a different personality to please the group I wanted to be a part of. I had a lot of self-doubt during high school and looked up to older peers because I deemed them unattainable and wanted to prove to them that I was cool enough.
All this got me was a lot of older boyfriends and invites to parties that weren’t fun. I was excluded a lot and the older students didn’t seem to care, no matter what I did, I was always the outsider. All throughout high school, I cared too much what people thought of me, it was one of my biggest flaws and sometimes, it still is. During my final year of high school, I finally realized that if I was myself, the right people will be attracted to that. Although I had fallen out of touch with a lot of people I went to high school with, I don’t regret the friendships I made there.
Then, in University was where I truly began to flourish. So, if you were in a similar situation or still are: don’t worry, it gets better. High school isn’t supposed to be that great and if you disagree, that means you peaked in high school. Sorry, but your life won’t ever change and you’ll be the same 16 year old in a 25 year old body.
Finally, I just wanted to say. I’m in no way perfect. I am in a way, better than I was before I was 22 though. People change, evolve and you can too. As Lilly Singh once tweeted, “Don’t trick yourself into thinking every day is the same routine. Every day is 24 unique hours to hustle hard, better yourself, learn something new and be grateful. We’re so lucky.”
We are lucky and I am so glad I am able to reflect on these kind of things on this incredible platform. Sure, I wish I knew all these things before I turned 22 but hey, that’s life. We make mistakes but if you’re growing and changing, you will learn to fix them and use your flaws and mishaps to your advantage.
Thanks so much for reading! Xo