Over three years, I've learned some important lessons (omens that have been reiterated throughout time). So here are my words of advice (from someone who doesn't think things through on an hourly basis). Here's some horrible, well-needed brutal honesty.
1. (unless employed) I am NOT your "secretary"
When you pull up the word, "secretary" Google defines it as "a person employed by an individual or in an office to assist with correspondence, keep records, make appointments, and carry out similar tasks." When a friend asks me a favor, I try to help the to the best that I can. However, I learn that doing errands for friends is doing work, not a favor. I am not a servant whose automatically disposable whenever one asks. Whether they tease or plead, ask yourself this: Would you ask them to do it yourself? There's a difference between being needed and being wanted.
If you're being asked for favors more than usual, to the point where you become as uncomfortable as fuck, that's a problem. When you feel that you're giving your all, but not being appreciated, that's a problem. When you're being asked by friends of your friend for favors, because they "assume" you'd do it for them, that's definitely a fucking problem. Being your friend's personal doormat is an easy way to be a secretary. Being someone's secretary is not really being a "friend," but rather one's errand boy. Because if you're available, it signals to them that you are able to be used. In the musical, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," there's a song named "A Secretary Is Not A Toy."
And unless I am employed as one, I am NO ONE'S.
2. "hope" is an ugly word
I honestly hate the word "hope." I really, really do. Clinging on to something you bet on 100% percent, and having it shatter in front of your eyes is not "hopeful." This creates a false sense of reliance, based on events that must be fulfilled in accordance to a scripts; events based on actors, actions, and timing that are out of your control. Sure you can "hope for the best," but let's be real: things are not going to go your way. Good or bad, the outcome is usually not yours to decide. And unfortunately, that's the truth.
Hope makes you vulnerable for change, and accepting that things are going to be "just fine" isn't good enough. Hope makes you think that everything is peachy-keen, and everything's going to turn out the best. And what if it's not the way it's "supposed" to be? It destroys your sense of reality, and strengthens your sense of entitlement. Life is a journey, filled with crossroads, crosswalks, sidewalks, and very few times to make u-turns. Acknowledge the actuality. Make a plan with steps you can follow; and make two backup plans in case you fail; and so on. As long as you have a plan, you have something to look forward to. Not empty promises based on bingo.
3. hourglasses are not refillable
You are losing time every single second. And every single second counts. Deadlines, traffic, work, sleep, minute-meals: all of which run on you, as well as people who are also using their own time. A single setback could change everything. You could oversleep to your college appointment, and have it rescheduled two weeks later, because the person behind the phone needs to triple-check their schedule; and have it all for nothing, because of the fucking coronavirus epidemic. Learn some time-management skills. Set at least two timers to wake up on time. Do your work early and play later.
Try looking at a clock for an hour, one that has a second-hand. Watch it for exactly one minute straight. Stare straight into the ephemeral timer as it tallies each and every second, After it's done, you'll probably think that this was useless--and you're right! Once it's gone, it's gone. FOREVER. Time slows down for no mortal alive, nor any dead that decompose. Every second counts. Put them to good use.