1. Find people you can fall back on.

Whether it be God, friends, family, or all three, life is so much easier when you have someone there to balance you out or help you when you stumble.

2. Read.

It might be the back of a cereal box or Europe: A History; no matter what, it’s so important to learn something new every day.

3. A clean room helps create a clean mind.

I know it’s no fun to pick up your mess, but you’ll thank me the next time you have one hundred things to do and finding the shirt you’re looking for doesn’t become another struggle to add to the list.

4. Get some sleep.

I fail at this one constantly, but I wish I didn’t. Sleep aids with escaping overwhelming mindsets, refueling your body, and reinvigorating your brain.

5. Have some fun.

You’re stressed all the time, and so am I. It’s time to take a break. The world won’t fall apart because you stopped that assignment for ten minutes to check in with a friend.

6. Don’t change the small habits you have right before a big event.

If you normally wear a watch, then don’t not wear the watch on the day of your big interview. It’ll throw you off balance when you need to have a sharp mind.

7. Drink water.

This is another one I fail at all the time, but it’s not so hard. When I do hydrate, my skin thanks me, my tired eyes thank me, and my legs thank me when I go to softball practice.

8. Do your homework.

Yes, I mean it. It’s the easiest grade you will ever receive, and it’ll prepare you for your major assessments.

9. Tea is the cure for sadness.

It sounds ridiculous, but a warm cup of tea is a panacea after any disappointment or heartbreak. Even if just for a minute, a warm cup in your hands reminds you that life isn’t all bad.

10. Study what you love.

If you can, love something and don’t turn back. I love art, so I visit art museums and read about Impressionism. So what if I don’t major in art or become some rich and fancy curator? I have an interest to talk about with others and know about just for myself.

11. Go outside.

You don’t even have to play a game of basketball or walk your dog, although that’s enjoyable sometimes. Other times, just sit on the grass. Feel the wind. Hear the birds. Remind yourself that you’re alive.

12. Find some music you love.

I don’t care if it’s the Top 40 or some foreign music I’ve never heard. Listen to it, memorize it- make it a part of you. Music revives. Music saves.

13. If you pray, pray every night.

If you don’t, remind yourself what you’re thankful for each day. It’s important to stay humble and grateful.

14. Say thank you. All the time. Every single time.

When that girl holds a door for you or when that teacher hands you a paper or when that boy picks up the pencil that you dropped, say thank you. It encourages kindness in both you and the person who assisted you.

15. It’s okay to feel.

It’s fine to cry sometimes or yell at the sky until your throat burns. Don’t stifle it or shove that emotion aside. It’s there to tell you you’re human.

16. Talk to your family. Tell them what’s going on.

Yeah, sometimes you fight with Mom and sometimes Dad doesn’t say what you want him to say, but we shouldn’t push away those people who are important to us. Those that would drop everything at any time for us are hard to come by. Keep them close.

17. You’re not more important or less important than others, and others aren’t more or less important than you.

Regardless of what anyone has done or anyone has said, there’s a certain respect every person deserves.

18. Eighteen doesn’t mean anything.

I’m just a kid. My sector of the world is just a drop in the ocean, a single leaf on the tree of life, an infinitesimal spark before the flame. So much is left to be found; so much is out there to be discovered. I don’t really know anything. But I will learn.