7 Things I Wish I Could Tell My 18-Year-Old Self

Although I may not always show it, I am an emotional, sentimental person. As my second semester of my senior year in college flies by (seriously, how is it almost March?!), I’ve been doing quite a bit of reflecting on the past few years and how much college has changed my life. I’m almost an entirely different person now at almost 23 than I was at 18, and I wish I could go back and have a conversation with my younger self. Here are 7 things I wish I knew when I was 18:

1. Nobody has it all figured out

It’s easy to compare yourself to others and feel despair when you think you’re falling behind others and their accomplishments. The truth is, no one has their lives entirely figured out-- including the “real adults” in your life. As cliche as it sounds, don’t compare their highlight reel to your behind-the-scenes.

2. Learn to recognize and let go of toxic relationships

It can be difficult to want to hang on to friendships or romantic relationships simply because they’ve been around for a long time. However, if you aren’t gaining anything out of a relationship and you’re finding it is draining you more than it’s energizing you, it may be time to let go. There will always be room for new, healthy relationships.

3. Don’t be afraid to leave home, but always make time for your family

Leaving home for the first time is the scariest thing you’ll do as a new adult. However, there are so many exciting things to do and new friendships ahead that it’ll soon be easy to forget all about your hometown. As corny as it sounds, your parents are going to miss you like crazy, even if you didn’t go to school far from home. Make time to at least call or Skype them every week, and visit home when you can.

4. The world does not revolve around you

At eighteen, your problems can seem so big that you can’t even begin to put yourself in other people’s shoes. However, empathy and seeking to understand others is a crucial trait to have in the adult world. Nobody is perfect and everyone has had their own struggles, so make a point of trying to get to know and understand everyone before jumping to judgment.

5. Set goals and stick to them

The first few weeks of college might make you think you’re at summer camp for adults, but this is not the case. Your first priority is getting an education, and your study methods from high school are simply not going to transfer over. Use a calendar or planner and hold yourself accountable to your goals. Simply floating through life without purpose is extremely difficult, and you will find you won’t get as far without goal-setting.

6. Your first love probably isn’t forever

When you’re in your first relationship or fall for someone for the first time, it’s easy to see the world through rose-tinted glasses, which makes the inevitable heartbreak even more difficult. Don’t let yourself become jaded, and instead use the lessons you learn from the relationship to make yourself a better person and a better relationship partner.

7. It’s okay to not be okay

Last but most certainly not least-- adult life is hard. Mental illness is quite pervasive on college campuses, and the stress of balancing school with friends, work, and other obligations may sometimes seem impossible to work through. Your friends and family will always be there for you if you need help, but don’t be afraid to ask for more help. Vulnerability is scary, but no one can help you if you don’t share your story.

-Sarah Lundberg

Scott MeyerLife TipsComment