Don't you ever just sit back and think about how much life has taught you in such a short period of time? Time really is the best teacher. And the best part is that life lessons are free! Well, they aren't financially but cause a fair amount of emotional strain. But it's OK, it's all worth it.

1. You find your real friends, the most important being you.

It takes time and a boatload of drama, backstabbing, and let downs. But once they've passed your tests of trust and support, you know they are your friends for life. They've been through it all with you and you're so glad you can count on them. Most importantly, you realize that the person who really understands you and always has your back through thick and thin is...you. No one can be a better friend to you than yourself. It's easy to get caught up in having a large group of friends, but you realize that only a few make up your inner circle. And that's more than OK.

2. One-sided relationships hurt way more than no relationship at all.

No relationship has an equal balance of love and attention. I know, it’s a tough pill to swallow. When you find yourself in situations in which you feel like you're putting too much effort, it hurts. Unreciprocated relationships are hard. The more you think about the people that let you down, the worse you feel, and the more you can't get them out of your head. So, you learn the hard way that it's best to not get too attached to people and cut ties when necessary.

3. People will never live up to your expectations.

You cannot control situations or people. People are going to disappoint you, take advantage of you, or not care about you. It's inevitable. All you can do is control your reactions.

4. Being selfish isn't a bad thing.

Taking care of yourself and your happiness is important. Removing yourself from situations that make you unhappy and distancing people who bring you down is not being selfish. You realize your priorities come first, and you're not afraid to let them be known.

5. The world is a dark place.

The more you learn about the world, the more you realize how unfair and scary it really is. At times, it seems hopeless. Growing up, you were told to look at the bright side of things, but as you experience the real world, you discover the dark truths and histories that people try to hide.

6. Ignorance isn't bliss.

Unfortunately, so many people are surrounded by ignorance and false information. A great quote by Daniel Patrick Moynihan reads “You are entitled to your own opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” The lack of awareness in this world is astonishing, to say the least. In a world where everything seems to be polarized, taking the time to look at both sides and maintaining informed opinions is extremely important. This is another important reason why it is so important to listen to others-- living in your own little bubble will make you ignorant.

7. You really cannot judge a book by its cover.

An easy thing to forget when you are in the early years of adolescence. You are immersed in your own little world and fear judgment yourself, so you cannot help passing it onto others. As you meet more people and expose yourself to their experiences, you learn that no one is ever as perfect as they make it seem. In moments when you have questioned or ridiculed someone’s actions, you now wonder what battles they could have been facing.

8. People aren’t very good at listening.

As you enter adulthood, you begin to formulate and solidify opinions about the world. The unfortunate truth, however, is that interactions have more so become debates, rather than discussions. Nowadays, people are quick to pull up their defenses and take offense at every possible opportunity. How do you even have a conversation anymore when all people care about is proving that they are right?

9. You can't be around the same people forever.

The transition from high school to college is a great example of the unpredictability of the real world. Life brings surprising and constant change requiring you to adjust and adapt to new situations. While losing touch with your high school friends seems like the end of the world now, you do realize that as you enter the real world, you cannot stay around the same people forever.

10. It's really easy for strangers to become close, but even easier for close ones to become strangers.

Who thought that the first time you met your best friends, you’d actually become so close? Some friends instantly click. At the same time, losing touch with others happens quickly and unexpectedly. When you think back to your memories, it hits you hard inside. Where'd the good old days go?

11. You realize how naive you've been and all the ridiculous decisions you've made.

Thinking about your awkward, prepubescent fashion sense makes you cringe. Reading through your old texts or Facebook status is even cringier. On a more serious note, reflecting on some of the careless and dumb decisions that you’ve made in the past fills you with regret and rage. You wish you could go back and change some of those things, but you are grateful that you are much wiser (and fashionable) today.

12. Saying "I'm sorry" and admitting fault is hard.

Some people are good at it. But the majority of us are terrible at owning up to our mistakes. Taking responsibility for your actions shows maturity and concern, but too often, our pride, ego, and stubbornness get in the way. Who knows, maybe it gets easier later on.

13. Stop daydreaming. Nothing is possible without hard work.

While your childhood was filled with dreams and desires, you realize that the world isn’t waiting around to grant you all of your wishes. There is no easy route or lottery tickets to success-- it takes hard work and determination.

14. People naturally drift towards negativity.

Whether it is loving gossip, occasionally lying or being tempted to be rebellious, people love negativity and chaos. Breaking rules seems effortless. Making mistakes is so easy, whereas climbing back up takes effort.

15. Learning to love yourself can be difficult.

Caring about what other people think matters a lot less as you become older. It is no doubt that validation and self-consciousness accompany adolescence. but as you near the end, you realize your individuality trumps approval.