Things I know now that I wish I knew then

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Growing up you either know right from wrong from your parents or immediate circle or you stumble upon the consequences through trial and error and eventually learn from mistakes. Inevitably there are many good and bad influences in the world and definitely in your immediate circle. You will come across a few bad eggs, especially in your childhood, which seemingly get more prominent and frequent as you progress through life. How you deal with them is what ultimately matters and while I personally learnt things through a combination of other person’s mistakes as well as many trials, there are really some things I wish I knew then that I know now.

  1. Your plans will change

Yea, you probably started out in economics and decided that you wanted to switch entirely to Chemistry. These things happen and whether or not it gave you a mini heart attack, you have to accept your plan of action; but most importantly, you have to accept that your PLANS WILL CHANGE. You are more likely to be the initiator of that change rather than someone else making it for you or the school has come to the realization that you need to in fact change your major. Not to mention, if you have decided to go out of your comfort zone and go to a few parties or so to show the world you aren’t a prune. No matter the case, remember that change can be good and you might not see it now, but you will be much happier later, especially if you found independence.

  1. If you don’t budge…and SAVE… you WILL be broke

There are always two extremes on the spectrum where saving and spending is concerned as a youth enrolled in college. Seemingly when we were younger, our parents would afford for us those new jeans or that ice-cream cone, but once they have knowledge that you earn an income those freebies that you once loved so dearly are but a thing of the past. I remember when I got my first dollar, the one that I could call my ‘hard earned cash’ which was quickly swept away by the pangs of expenses. It wasn’t long enough before I stumbled upon a mobile app which had kept track of all spending and income thereafter. Truthfully it was a savior in disguise, and although I didn’t get to save as I wanted to in the later years of university, I did learn the secrets of proper budgeting and that too has saved me some pretty pennies.

  1. There is good stress and bad stress

There is stress that you will find necessary to build character and take you through life, and there will be stress that is there to kick you when you’re down…repeatedly. You just have to learn to keep your cool while going through the stresses of life, knowing that absolutely nothing lasts forever. It doesn’t make any sense going through the stressors and in the end you find yourself in a worst predicament than before. All in all, although you will have to undergo stress at some point in your life, still try to maintain your mental, psychological and physical health in the process so you would walk out with more strength.

  1. Just like how you have mid-life crises, there are ¼ life crises….and a lot of them

I remember my first ¼ life crisis. I had a melt down and I honestly thought I wouldn’t bounce back from it. However, today, I have learnt more about myself through these obstacles and break down and with that I also built my character. At the stage of young adulthood we take on so much responsibilities and duties which were reserved for later years. For example, the average young adult has to balance between school, work, leisure, more work and extra-curricular activities. I remember in my final year of university I had two jobs, was the president of an association, doing a double major, conducting a full-fledge research paper, being a writer and freelancer, starting my own business and magazine, and extra-curricular activities.

Yes, a break down was very evident to occur. But it was through the meltdown that I was able to take a step back and focus more. Focus on what I wanted to achieve and what wasn’t working. It was then that I was able to grapple all my activities and complete each one based on priority. Breakdowns happen for a reason and you don’t have to think you have it all figured out.

  1. The freshman 15 is real, keep active…even after school

Fifteen pounds might not look like a lot if it is evenly distributed on your body or if it goes to the ‘right’ areas. However, if it accumulates in the stomach region or you start getting those infamous love handles, then Houston, we have a problem. Obviously no one likes to get fat, unless it is your primary goal to gain a couple pounds, but the freshman fifteen is not a force to be reckoned with. Some persons with a high metabolism didn’t experience the wrath of the freshman fifteen, but the unfortunate  masses saw those thighs widen and the stomach region expand in ways they never anticipated. One sure way of counteracting this however, is through diet and exercise.

Not to mention not stress eating or bingeing on comfort food. It will follow you throughout life and you will end up wishing you passed on those Doritos at 2am, because that high metabolic rate only decreases with age.

  1. You won’t keep all your friends

By now you would’ve realized that you don’t have the friends you had in middle school/prep school. Nor do you still keep in contact with those from your high school. There are very few that you still have on your social network, much less invite out when you decide to take a night on the town. Well. Fact is, throughout your life you will have what I have called a ‘circle of friends for the seasons’. With every stage, or season, of your life, you will notice that old friends that you were once close to are no longer in your life, while new friends you might have met a month ago take that place. It’s not that bad actually; at least you know the friends that will stick around and those who were just along for the ride.

  1. Once shy, twice outgoing

If you were once shy in prep school, or growing up, when you start gaining even a bit of independence in university you will start having a voice. Don’t think that you will remain the timid, quiet little human for much longer, because while everyone thought that you wouldn’t be able to hold your own because of your personality, boy were they wrong. If I knew that I would be an outgoing person without reservations back when I was younger, I would’ve said by to the withdrawn me way back in the day and embraced the new more spontaneous me sooner.

  1. You don’t just land a job because you went to university

As the statement said, you don’t land a job just because you went to university. Although I took the necessary steps to ensure that I got a job right out of university, and one that I was proud of, it also hit me that maybe not the average person would’ve been so lucky. While you are among the top persons in the population with a degree, even then it is an uphill battle and constant competition with others in your age bracket, in your community and in your country that want that very position you are vying for. The quicker you come to that realization that it is not your right to get a desired position because you are a university graduate, the more open-minded you will be in the eyes of rejection. Don’t stop going after what you want, but in the event that you fail, keep trying; there are so many other opportunities out there.

  1. YOU will change

You won’t be the same person you used to be. You might make gains where maturity is concerned and you might make some decisions that will affect you either negatively or positively through life. No matter the case, ensure that you accept yourself and your decisions. Take responsibility for your actions. Don’t let others take control of your life and tell YOU how to LIVE. We aren’t perfect and we don’t have everything together. Thinking that you have everything together, especially in your 20s, is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make. You are still allowed to experience the world and figure out your likes and dislikes.

Truth be told at this age, you are exploring in a more independent way. Some persons haven’t even bought their own house or their own car yet. Some are still trying to pay off student loans or enrolling in a postgraduate degree programme, or maybe working for the first time. Whichever road you choose, believe it is the right path that only you can journey on to the end, at which you should be able to be proud and happy of your accomplishments.

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By Alexandra Daley

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