19 Lessons At Nineteen Years

19 Lessons At Nineteen Years

At nineteen years old, I have lived in two centuries, three decades, and I have nineteen lessons that I have learned.

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Life is an enduring journey, full of new experiences, opportunities, and mysteries left for each person to discover. Sometimes we fall, sometimes we make mistakes, but the most important thing is that we have learned from them. Over the past nineteen years, these are the main nineteen lessons I have learned over the course of my life.

1. Change is natural, and that's OK. 

Friends and Football

The first major change I found myself going through was from elementary school to middle school. I'd been fortunate enough to have all of my best friends in each of my classes since the second grade, so I was worried what would happen when we each pursued different schedules in middle school. It was a scary change, but a necessary one that prepared me for the road ahead. Life is full of change and it's entirely OK. If you go with the flow in the face of adversity, the change won't be as scary as it seems.

2. I can do anything I put my mind to and more. 

Lit Club Members

Prima ballerina. Pop singer. Marine biologist. Author. These are all things that I've wanted to be when I grew up, and if there's one thing they have in common, it's that they all require hard work. Whether it was performing on a stage or publishing my own ideas, I can accomplish anything I desire if I put my mind to it and allocate the hard work necessary for those dreams to reach fruition.

3. Some people will stay in my life...

Old friends

As schools and classes change, so do the people. That was a major discovery for me growing up, because I relied a lot on my friends. They made me happy and comfortable, wherever I was. Fortunately, over the course of my nineteen years, there are a plethora of friends who have remained in my life, from the moment we met in elementary school to the present...

4. ...And others won't.

...But some people just aren't meant to stay in your life and that's okay. Maybe it's a friend, a partner, a family member. Whoever it might be, their absence may hurt at first, and you might want to do whatever possible to get them back. But what's most important to realize is that the ebb and flow of people throughout our lives are natural, and those that are meant to be in our lives will stay.

5. A bad day is nothing more than a bad few moments. 

Happy Friends

This is a big one, especially as I moved into high school and college. Heavier workloads seemed to have a positive correlation with my stress levels and mental breakdowns every so often. For a long time, it was easy for me to take every minor thing that went wrong in a day, compile them into a giant list, and lament them all. But this had a toxic effect on my well-being, and thankfully, I've gotten better at recognizing that a minor inconvenience is exactly that, rather than the onset of World War III.

6. Confidence isn't easy, but it makes things easier.

Cast Memories

Ah, confidence. The most coveted personality trait of all. Some fake it, some don't, but are we entirely sure? Regardless, as I grew up, I found that confidence was key to overcoming my fears, my shyness, and my worries. If there was something I wanted to do, I should do it! If there was something I wanted to say, I should say it! The only thing stopping me was me. Once I realized that, it became easier to go about my life. It's not an overnight change by any means, but the realization that you are worth everything this world has to offer and more can open doors you didn't even knew could be opened.

7. It's OK to be scared. 

Growing up, I was afraid of a lot of things. The dark. Spiders. Clowns. The Phantom of the Megaplex. I was easily frightened by everything, but I found that the biggest kind of fear I possessed was that of the future. Uncertainty. It can drive even the most resolute of us all mad with wonder. However, it is entirely okay to be scared sometimes, whatever it might be. So long as you can take a step back and realize that there may not be a whole lot to be afraid of, gradually immersing yourself in whatever is worrying you, you'll find that things may get a whole lot easier.

8. It's OK to cry. 

Patrick Crying

Let's face it: we all have cried. Some of us cry a lot, others only cry when something really urges them to. Whichever is the case, it's important to learn that sometimes, when it feels like the odds are against you and things are going wrong, it's okay to let it all out. Crying may not solve our problems, but it's crucial to let yourself feel an emotion when it strikes. Bottling up feelings can only lead to more stress, and as life gets tougher over the years, it's best to keep your emotions stable so life itself will follow.

9. Kindness goes a long way...

Cinderella

If you asked any one of my peers or classmates growing up if they could describe me in one word, nine times out of ten their word of choice will be 'kind'. Growing up, I always saw this as a sort of cop-out (tell me what you really think, random kid I've never met before) but as I got older, I realized its power. We live in a world where selfishness and individualistic behaviors are revered and are thought to promote success. While things like ambition and determination do tend to yield these results, that is not to say that things like kindness and compassion are unnecessary. If anything, they're the most important qualities a person can have. Kindness can change someone's day, and just maybe, it might change the world.

10. ...And so does intelligence. 

Happy Grad

We live in a world where being the loudest tends to mean you're right, where the more ignorant you are towards the consequences of your words and actions, the more confident and powerful you are. This could not be farther from the truth. The true force that drives progress and bolsters success is intelligence. Academic, emotional, general, technical. There are multiple forms of intelligence, and they each are symbiotic. The more you know, the greater you can be and the greater the things you do will be. That is what I was always taught growing up, and I have revered it as a maxim throughout my life.

11. Education will open more doors than you can think. 

Grad Caps

As a child, I never fully understood the importance of an education. Of course, what kid likes going to school when they could stay home, watch cartoons, and play with their friends? However, as I grew up, I learned to value education and the opportunities it gave me. Education is truly a privilege, one that should be a right across all nations, and I have seen just how important an education is to having a better life. I saw what it took for my family to give me these opportunities to go to good schools, and for that reason, I don't want my family's sacrifices to be in vain. An education is crucial to one's personal development, as well as the world's.

12. Some goodbyes are only temporary. 

Dinner Photo

One of the hardest experiences for me to deal with growing up was when my sister went away to college when I was twelve. While she was six years older than me, we were very close, and she was and continues to be my best friend. Having her leave the house, seemingly for good, took a toll on me during the first year or two she was at school. However, I was grateful to learn that while the separation was hard at first, it would become easier as I realized it was only temporary. After all, there's nothing that can separate sisters; their bond is too great for any influence to shatter, least of all distance. Now that I myself am in college, and I've had to bid goodbye to my parents, I've come full circle in realizing that some goodbyes are only temporary, and that's okay.

13. Family is at the root of all things. 

Family Photo

I don't claim to know every person's family situation, nor do I claim to have had a perfect experience without tension or conflict in my own. Frankly, no family is perfect, no matter what the convoluted ideas of the American Dream try to say. Ultimately, I love my family, and without them, I would not be the person I am today. They have made countless sacrifices to ensure a better future, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

14. Speak up, speak out, and speak loud. 

Hamilton

Entering high school taught me that the world can be a muzzle towards people with dissenting opinions. For a girl who was often too shy to talk to her crush, that was bad news. I had a lot of things to say, and I was only starting to gain the confidence necessary to make them known. However, as I went through high school, I found movements and things that sparked my interest and necessitated my passion. Whether it was the importance of the arts or gun control, I had opinions and I had the facts to speak about them in an unbiased, tolerant way. No matter how loud the white noise was in trying to quell these unmistakable truths, I learned that in the face of adversity, your voice can be the most powerful thing. All it takes is one loud voice to trigger an avalanche, after all. So why can't one voice cause change?

15. Never let anyone try to tell you who you are. 

I Am Rooting For You

As adolescents and young adults, we love to comment on other people and the things they innately do to wrong us. We judge people before we even know them, and this is a toxin in a society that claims to be accepting and progressive. After all, the only person who knows who you are at your core, who knows what is in your heart and in your head, is you. No one can tell you what you can or cannot do.

16. Find your morals and values, and defend them with all your might. 

Esmeralda Justice

This goes back to a few of the points I've already made about finding yourself. Especially as a college student in an environment full of people of different interests and walks of life, the most important thing to remember is your own heart. You can decide for yourself what your morals and values are, and while others may possess conflicting views towards your own, it is vital to consider people's own autonomy. A conversation should be exactly that, free of mudslinging and degradation founded solely on the idea that you disagree with someone's ideals.

17. The odds may seem like they're against you...

Katniss Everdeen

With finals week just around the corner, I think I'm safe in assuming that the vast majority of college students are currently losing their collective minds. After all, a myriad number of exams, assignments, projects, and papers would be enough to send anyone running for the hills. The stress may seem unconquerable at times, and that's normal. Sometimes, the past way to tackle a new problem is taking a step for a while, giving yourself time to breathe and think and relax, and then trying again.

18. ...But the only one keeping you from realizing your dreams is you. 

Believe in your dreams

Perseverance. Optimism. Ambition. Determination. Each of these traits is fuel for success, and when working together, they create a surefire attitude that cannot be taken away. It doesn't matter what you want to do with your life, if you want to become president or simply lead a normal life. You are the keeper and creator of your own dreams, and despite what people may think or feel compelled to say, only you can turn those dreams into realities.

19. With enough fire and enough passion, you can change the world.

Grad

This is quite possible the most recent and most important lesson I've learned in my nineteen years. Right now, I stand at a crossroads of opportunities, interests, and dreams. There are a million things I want to do in my life, and a million more that I want to see. Our world is suffering from so much, from climate change to intolerance to battles for rights to gun control. It's enough to desensitize the populace after seeing so much strife and misery on a day-to-day bases. However, I dissent. Those who see a problem and claim that there is nothing that can be done are not the people for the job. In the words of one of my favorite authors, Rick Riordan, there is always a way out for those clever enough to find it.

For that reason, I have learned the importance of guarding my values and fighting for what I believe and know to be right. I will do everything in my power to learn about the things I want to help change so I know how to change them. I will not lose sight of the positive things in life, no matter how much the negatives may scream for attention. I will remember who I am and where I come from as I look to the future and the challenges ahead. Because while there is no easy fix for what plagues our world or our lives, there is always hope. That is the given throughout these nineteen truths. Hope is the catalyst for change.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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21 Quotes From Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit' That Will Fuel Your Artistic Self

Use your half-baked ideas for good!

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Twyla Tharp is a master dancer and choreographer. She's worked with the world's most prestigious artists to create works that will withstand the test of time. She published her book "The Creative Habit" as a viewing window for seeing into her creative process. Tharp offers both hard truths and gently encouraging words for both serious artists and everyday people just trying to expand their circle of knowledge about art. I compiled some quotations from the book that were profound, useful and to-the-point when it comes to examining artistic development.

1. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way."

You get some creativity! YOU get some creativity! Everyone gets creativity!

2. "If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

3. "Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity."

4. "In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down."

5. "Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself."

Ouch. Toes stepped on.

6. "Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing to what we have experienced before."

"It's *literally* like this..."

7. "...get busy copying. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill."

Choose your muse wisely!

8. "You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun..."

9. "When you're in scratching mode, the tiniest microcell of an idea will get you going. Musicians know this because compositions rarely come to them whole and complete. They call their morsels of inspiration lines or riffs or hooks or licks. That's what they look for when they scratch for an idea."

You know you look crazy, but press on, baby ideas in hand!

10. "It doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, billboard, instruction manual, or cereal box -- reading generates ideas, because you're literally filling your head with ideas and letting your imagination filter them for something useful."

"Alexa, play the Reading Rainbow theme song."

11. "...there's a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

Screw this global need for instant information. You gotta just let things run their course sometimes.

12. "Habitually creative people are, in E.B. white's phrase, 'prepared to be lucky.' You don't get lucky without preparation, and there's no sense in being prepared if you're not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. In creative endeavors luck is a skill."

Twyla Tharp is really just a more Type A version of Bob Ross.

13. "I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do."

14. "You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity."

15. "That's what the great ones do: They shelve the perfected skills for a while and concentrate on their imperfections."

16. "Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above your craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

17. "My heroes are those who've prevailed over far greater losses than I've ever had to face."

18. "Part of the excitement of creativity is the headlong rush into action when we latch onto a new idea. Yet, in the excitement, we often forget to apply pressure to the idea, poke it, challenge it, push it around, see if it stands up. Without that challenge, you never know how far astray your assumptions may have taken you."

19. "...there's a lesson here about finding your groove. Yes, you can find it via a breakthrough in your craft. But you can also find it in other means -- in congenial material, in a perfect partner, in a favorite character or comfortable subject matter."

20. "A math professor at Williams College bases ten percent of his students' grades on failure. Mathematics is all about trying out new ideas -- new formulas, theorems, approaches -- and knowing that the vast majority of them will be dad ends. To encourage his students not to be afraid of testing their quirkiest ideas in public, he rewards rather than punishes them for coming up with wrong answers."

This approach would've been so helpful.

21. "I began as a dancer, and in those days of pain and shock I went back to where I started. Creating dance is the thing I know best. It is how I recognize myself. Even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up."

Take Twyla's knowledge and have fun exploring creativity in your personal life!

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