1. Be in a relationship
I spent many years thinking I wasn't the kind of girl guys want to date. Typical, I know, but it was a very strong feeling that took a lot of time and growing self-confidence to overcome. I also could never envision a future for myself; all I would ever see when I tried is a black hole.
Now, I've been dating an amazing guy for nearly three and a half years. Being with him makes me very happy and has helped my self-confidence grow.
2. Dye my hair
I recently partially dyed my hair purple, which was something I had wanted to do for years. It's been an amazing confidence booster and tenth grade me NEVER would have imagined I'd do something like this. Then again, there's probably people now who never thought I'd do something like dye my hair.
3. Go to a legitimate college
I attended a very religious, all-girls private day school for most of my life. The school's focus was more on religious topics than secular ones, so I honestly didn't know if I'd go to a secular, "real" college. Most girls attended Jewish colleges or the local Jewish girls' college over secular colleges. The school also focused more on prepping their senior students to attend seminary in Israel than going to college right from high school. But I knew I wanted to attend a secular college, despite having no ideas for a major.
That was six years ago, sophomore year of high school. I switched high schools the following year, started taking more intense classes, and got on a better path. I also now had access to a college adviser and educational staff that could help me truly learn what I excelled at, what I could go on to major in. I'm currently in my senior year of college, and there are still days where I sit back and think, "I can't believe I'm here."
4. Find something to major in...
I had no real idea what I wanted to do when I began college. Unlike my classmates, who had had the opportunities and much more time than me to decide what they (at least initially) wanted to major in, I had zero ideas. I spent freshman year undecided, and decided about halfway through second semester on a major: Electronic Media and Film, audio focus. I had a strong relationship with music and decided I wanted to learn how to make something so important to me.
5. ...and switch majors.
This can be the hardest thing to do. You spend so much time thinking you know exactly what you want to do. You get so set on this one plan, this one major, only for it to be turned upside down when reality hits--you just can't do it. Switching majors was hard for me, but I don't regret my decision. My new major is a much better fit for my existing skills, and I am thankful now for the learning experience switching majors gave me.
6. Find things I love to do
For many years, all I did was read or draw. But over the last few years, I've learned there's so much more I enjoy doing. I learned that I absolutely love being onstage. I discovered I have a knack for marketing, and that I'm a damn good writer.
7. Become a crazy dog person
My family adopted our fur baby, Delilah, in April 2015 and I've been a crazy dog person ever since. I'd hazard about 90% of the pics on my phone are of her because she's so freaking adorable.
8. Write publicly about my struggles and life experiences
I've typically been a very private person. So to look back at my year plus some's worth of articles for Odyssey and see just how open, honest and emotional I've been on a public platform is crazy. But it also creates a sense of pride, like look how far you've come, how far you've grown. I am proud of every word I wrote, and I'm not ashamed or regretful of a single word. It also helps that writing those articles was insanely therapeutic and helpful for my mental health.
9. Do theater
The first time I saw a high school theater show, I immediately knew I wanted to be on that stage. Say what you want about high school theater, and maybe the show wasn't as great as I remember. But I didn't know any better since this was the first time I'd ever seen a theater show. I was hooked instantly.
But we're talking about a girl who used to have massive stage fright. Who hated singing or performing in front of others out of fear of being judged. And yet, so ironically, dreamed of doing theater and being onstage. The former isn't true anymore, and each production I've done has helped so much.
10. Have real friends
I've had more than my fair share of bad friends who have come and gone through my life. It's so easy to be negative about those experiences, but I will say that at the end of the day, I learned what I need in a real friend--and what are red flags for a bad friend.
I met my current friends through either theater or my boyfriend, and they are amazing. They make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts, and every time together is a good time. The best part is even though we don't see each other too often or keep up constant discussion in our group chat, we all still know that we're a solid friend group. We don't need to be in contact almost all the time just to prove we're friends. (We're also really bad at taking pics together, so this shot isn't even everyone *facepalm.*)
11. Work an internship...or three.
I've had two internships to date, and I've just begun my third (and PAID) internship. It's been so enlightening to work in environments related to my major and actually see what I could do after college.
12. Live in my own apartment
I had an off-campus apartment with a former friend in my sophomore year of college. It was a major learning experience, and one I never would have dreamed of having just a few years prior.
13. Discover my sexuality
I grew up with no knowledge of or ever hearing the term LGBTQ or any sub-strain of that until around eleventh grade. (Like I said, all-girls religious school. We didn't even have a sex ed class.) Once I learned about it, particularly bisexuality, I spent quite a few years pondering the term. It wasn't until last year that I realized and began acknowledging that I'm bisexual. (And yes, I'm a bi girl dating a guy. No, it's not me "picking a side" or "technically a straight relationship." Move on.)
14. See a show on Broadway
I got to see my first Broadway show in 2015, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder." I still have the program, a beloved memento of an unforgettable experience. Since then, I saw "Wicked" - one of the most magical and captivating experiences of my life - and I'm seeing "Kinky Boots" next month, which I just know it will be just as amazing.