18 Things I Learned at 18

18 Life Lessons I Learned In My 18 Years That Helped Shape Who I Am Today

...19, I hope you can top this one.

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As I approach 19 years of being alive, almost two decades (what the heck?), I have learned a few things from my first year of being an adult, other than being able to buy cigarettes and lottery tickets. Some of these things were positive, others negative, but all of them have one thing in common, they have shaped me to be the person I call myself today.

1. Putting yourself first is not a bad thing.

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I wish I had known before I turned 18 that sometimes putting myself first is what is vital to my mental health. This does not mean being selfish 24/7, but sometimes we all need to say no to someone for the sake of ourselves.

2. Falling down the stairs will not matter a year from now.

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I wish I had known before I turned 18 that busting my ass on the stairs in school would be something everyone forgot about the next day.

3. Making yourself laugh is vital.

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If no one else is laughing at your joke, laugh at your own. You are probably more funny than you think.

4. Say yes to new adventures.

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5. Don't settle for him.

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There is a whole life ahead of you to fall in love with your soulmate, don't think your flaky high school lover will automatically be your husband after college.

6. Your parents are just as confused as you are.

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Before I was 18, I often wondered why my parents restricted me from some of the things I wanted to do, or didn't understand what I did when I did it. They are just as confused as you are, and they are slowly learning how to parent as you are learning how to grow as a young adult.

7. You'll miss your high school friends, a lot.

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To all my high school besties, you made me the person I am today. Thank you.

8. College is hard, grab a helmet.

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College is a new challenge to take on, not only academically, but also socially and emotionally. Be prepared for new changes happening around you every day, ready to tackle them head-on.

9. It's okay to miss aspects of high school.

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Visiting your old teachers everyday might be a stretch, but it's okay to send a thank you email to your favorites that changed you for the better.

10. If you feel uncomfortable, leave.

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Do not feel like you need to stay in a situation because its what everyone else is doing. If something doesn't feel right or it doesn't feel like you, leave.

11. Listen more, speak less.

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Trust me on this one.

12. Always make time for family.

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You won't know how hard it is until you don't have them.

13. Ask for help.

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Help is not something you should be afraid to ask for. We all need it sometimes.

14. Grades do not define you.

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My senior year English teacher told us this at the beginning of the year, and I thought it was absolute bullshit. Eight months later, graduating amongst everyone else in my class, straight A students and straight D's, we were all here, throwing our caps in the air, together, as ourselves, not our grades.

15. Be honest.

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You will thank honesty in the end.

16. As long as you put in your best effort, you did well.

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Do not let a mark you get determine how well you did. If you put in as much as you could, you did well. Be proud of yourself.

17. Do the hard things first.

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Get all the hard things out of the way before it piles up.

18. Count your blessings.

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When you move away to college, you will have a huge amount of new positive experiences, but you also lose some of your favorite things about home. So gorge on your favorite homemade ice cream, go cliff jumping with your high school besties, and take everything one step at a time.

So, all in all, I've learned many valuable lessons in my 18 years of living. Some of them I had to learn the hard way, but I wouldn't change a single thing about the way my life is going, plus how I learned these lessons.

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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become.

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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