19 Things I Have Learned In 19 Years

19 Things I Have Learned In 19 Years

Live gives you lessons.

As I am coming upon my last year as a teenager (yikes I'm old) I have found myself reflecting on my life. There are many things that I have been taught, by friends and family, as well as some lessons that have come out of the many mistakes that I have made. Here are the 19 things that I have learned in 19 years:

1. If you have to choose between being respected or liked, chose respect.

At the end of the day, you will be a much happier and better person if you stick to your values and beliefs rather than just giving into other peoples wants in order to have them like you.

2. Don't say you're sorry unless it is actually your fault.

I have always been the one to just immediately respond with an "I'm sorry" if anything is going wrong. But what I have realized is that I have no need to say I'm sorry if something that has happened is going wrong and I had nothing to do with it.

3. It is okay to ask for help.

Honestly, I'm still working on this one, but I have really started to realize that asking for help is very important especially since starting college this year. I have had to get help in my classes as well as the occasional call to mom or dad because sometimes adulating can be confusing.

4. Don't be afraid to find a new group of friends.

At the age of 16, I decided that I did not like the person I had become around the friends I had and took a big step away from them. For a while, it was hard because I felt quite lonely, but I eventually found friends who, like me, were motivated students and they are still my best friends to this day.

5. Never settle.

It is okay to move on and not just settle for the situation you are in. Whether that be in school or a relationship, never be worried to go out and look for bigger and better things.

6. Don't let your friends dictate your opinions of something or someone.

Do your own research and develop your own opinions, it will make you a better person in the long run.

7. You'll never have more time than you do right now.

I know that at times you feel like there is no way your life could get busier, but let's be honest, as you get older your free time diminishes. Make sure you schedule out time to just relax and hang out with your friends.

8. If something is your fault, own up to it.

It might be scary owning up to a mistake, but mistakes are the best way to learn and grow as a person.

9. Give back whenever possible.

Nothing will make you appreciate your life more than giving back to your community or to a cause that is important to you.

10. Don't jump to conclusions.

I do this a lot and it is a major thing that I am working on. When hearing about something it is important to step back and look at the situation from all angles because you never know what you could be missing.

11. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

This is simple, just be kind because you don't know what someone else is going through.

12. If you can't afford to pay cash, you can't afford it.

Saving is important, so is knowing what you can afford and what you can't. This life lesson will surely help once you have to start making the bigger purchases in life such as a car and a house.

13. You don't always have to have the last word.

My mom would disagree with the fact that I have learned this lesson at times. However, over the past year, I have definitely learned that sometimes it is best just to end an argument before things get out of control.

14. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the best thing.

I have made some of my best friends and have had some of the most amazing experiences in my life just by taking a chance and stepping out of my comfort zone.

15. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb or just turn it off.

I know this seems like a foreign concept to most millennials but honestly, I am never as relaxed as I am when my phone is not constantly going off.

16. Reading is the best pastime.

The best way to become more knowledgeable is to read, plus it's a much cheaper way to travel.

17. Keep in touch with your core group of friends.

This is especially important when coming to college or moving away from your hometown. It is so important to keep in contact with your friends from back home because, trust me, they help with the homesickness.

18. Winning isn't always the best thing.

You learn the most not from your wins but from your losses.

19. Dedication is important.

Put your heart mind and soul into something and it will surely pay off in the long run.

Sometimes I don't always follow my own advice and forget some of these lessons that I have learned. However, over the next coming year I am striving to be a better person and go out of my teens with a bang!

Cover Image Credit: Kyle Bianchi

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To The Me I Was In Middle School

For showing me how to love, how to be the best version of myself, and how to be me, thank you.

Hey, Middle School Me,

Wow, has shit changed. Physically, emotionally, socially, everything has changed. The once boy-dressed, emo-looking, social-climber middle schooler has flourished into a thriving, loving, thoughtful college student that is paving the way for her future. As much as I hate thinking about how you looked and the way you acted, you were a huge part of making me who I am today. So, thank you.

Thank you for making me the loud, outgoing, passionate person I am today. Without your fearlessness to be who you are, I wouldn’t be here today.

Thank you for teaching me to always give it your all, regardless of the consequences of doing so. Without you, I wouldn’t have had the desire to want to be a member of the Executive Board of some of the most astute clubs on campus.

Thank you for being motivated and driven academically and in extracurriculars. Without you, I would constantly crumble to the pressures closely associated with college.

Thank you for finding your voice so young. Without you, I would struggle to be able to convey my beliefs and perspectives on so many controversial issues that plague the Rutgers community today.

Thank you for being fearless and passionate. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to find the heart or desire to want to pursue the degree that I am.

Thank you for always loving yourself at your worst. Without you, I would never be so confident in myself and my abilities.

Thank you for always caring about those closest to you and for always looking out for them. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to put those most important to me before myself.

Thank you for being you. Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Although so much has changed over the years and I cringe at the thought of my middle school existence, I am thankful for the person that you were during that life-changing, tumultuous time. You have helped to shape me into the person that I am today and taught me lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life. For showing me how to love, how to be the best version of myself, and how to be me, thank you. I will always appreciate the person that you were. In ten years, I hope to look back at myself in college just as I did now with you.

All love,

College-Girl Sarah

Cover Image Credit: Sarah Hertz

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Stop Asking "Why" And Start Asking "Why Not" Instead

You've got four years to take advantage of a college campus.

The best advice I got before starting college was to say yes to everything. It's been almost three years since then.

You don't think about it much when you start school. You're so nervous about transitioning into that next stage of life that you let some things pass you by. That entire first semester is about figuring out classes, friends, and that newfound sense of independence.

It wasn't until I got out of the blur that was my freshman year that I realized I hadn't let myself have a chance to explore all these opportunities around me. I remember being in high school and just getting involved in everything that sounded interesting to me. I took every chance I got and was so much happier for it. So why did I spend a year letting so many things pass me by?

Something flipped when I got back to campus for my sophomore year. I decided to say why not. Why not start working for the wrestling team, or join a "Survivor"-based organization, or use university funds to go on a service trip to Oklahoma? I could do all these things that I would end up loving and there was no one to stop me.

As a freshman four years of college sounds long and daunting. I'm now nearing the end of my junior year and it keeps hitting me how short this all feels. We get a four year buffer between living with our parents and having to be a full-fledged adult. That's four years to take opportunities and do things I probably won't have the chance to do after I graduate.

I've gotten to continue working for a sport I love and be a part of a student organization which both have nothing to do with my future career plans. But these two things have brought me people that I know won't be out of my life anytime soon. I'm not going to get the chance to go learn about culture and build ramps in the Cherokee Nation again. I'm so lucky to have gotten to do it twice now.

Everything that I've ended up loving in college has come from just saying yes to that blind leap of faith. I've had all these amazing experiences and met some of my favorite people through this one simple word.

There's so many opportunities being thrown at you in four years. Stop giving yourself reasons to say no.

Just say yes.

Cover Image Credit: Samantha Tremblay

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