Growing up, I always looked up to my parents. They were my inspirations and role models. I admired their perseverance, dedication, and independence. Throughout my childhood, they were my personal cheerleaders and built-in best friends. While they have given me dozens of pieces of advice over the past eighteen years, these are the ones that have helped shape me into the person that I am today.

Your health is always number one priority

My parents have taught me that you can achieve the most when your health is good. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you must find the time to exercise no matter how busy your schedule is. In addition, you must learn how to handle stress so that it does not impact your mood or sleep. It is especially important to keep this in mind in college because it is the most important period of your life to grow and explore. As a result of this piece of advice, every day I ensure that I have an hour devoted to exercise whether that is running on the treadmill, swimming, or biking and half an hour to de-stress by journaling or doing yoga.

Do what makes you happy

Over the years, my parents have told me to evaluate my happiness whenever starting a new school, job or hobby. They never forced me to participate in any activities that I have not shown passion or initiative towards. I have realized that I can easily reach my greatest potential when I demonstrate excitement and interest for an assignment or hobby.

Live in the moment

During high school, there have been countless ups and downs. I remember thinking that graduation was so far away. Whenever my parents noticed that I was stressed or anxious, they would calmly reassure me and tell me to simply live in the moment. They advised me to forget about past mistakes and to not anticipate the future. They were right, of course. Once I was able to let bygones be bygones and stop fearing what the future holds, I was able to live much more freely and stress-free. I learned how to value and make the most out of each moment.

It is okay to make mistakes

Throughout my childhood, my parents were never disappointed in me whenever I made mistakes. They always boosted me up when I did not achieve perfect scores on a test, did not receive the top award, or messed up at my piano recital. They believed that you can learn the most when you make mistakes. The lessons you learn from mistakes are the ones that last the longest. When I was deciding which college I was going to attend this fall, my parents told me that no matter where I end up going, it is important to branch out and try new things regardless if I make mistakes along the way.

Always be true to yourself

This is the most important piece of advice. In college, it is so easy to be swept away and follow the flow. However, it is essential that you do not lose what makes you unique in the process. My parents have taught me that it is okay, and often times, good to be be different and stand out. Even though it has been one of my hardest challenges, I have learned how to fight off peer pressure and learn how to make decisions based on what was best for me and not others.