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8 Life Lessons From and for a 20-Year-Old

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Her Campus. 

 

When I graduated high school in June 2019, I had no idea where college would take me. I moved 10 hours away to North Carolina from the only home I ever knew and friends I had since kindergarten. I started an entirely new chapter. 

 

I think everyone comes to college with some expectations — whether you have an older sibling who has gone, or what you’ve seen in the movies. But what many don’t tell you is that it is OK to not know where you’re headed. I’m now 20 and a very different person than I was when I got to Elon University. As my sophomore year of college is nearing its end, I wanted to share what I’ve learned so far and remind everyone that they are not alone. 

 

You don’t have to have it all figured out. 

It’s normal for college students to feel a sense of pressure to have their entire future after graduation all mapped out. But, I’m here to tell you that it’s OK if you don’t have it all figured out just yet. You came to college in the first place to learn and gain new experiences. We can be so hard on ourselves, but give yourself time to learn about everything, and with time, what’s right for you will fall into place. 

 

It’s important to do things besides work. 

One of the biggest struggles I’ve had since coming to college is creating a balance between my personal life and work. I work in an environment that is constantly moving, and sometimes it feels like I can’t take a break. But recently, I have been working to prioritize my own mental health first and remembering to take time to just relax and breathe. 

 

Study what you want to study. 

This may seem self-explanatory, but it is so important to take classes that you actually want to take. College is the time for you to explore different interests and when you’re taking classes you genuinely enjoy, the experience is much more rewarding.

 

Always try new things. 

The only limits you have are the ones you set on yourself. Like I’ve mentioned before, college is a time of new opportunity — it’s your choice what you take advantage of. If you tell yourself you can’t do something, you’ll never do it. But when you try something that scares you, or take a step and just try your best, you may learn something about yourself that you never knew before. 

 

You can still learn despite difficult or unexpected circumstances. 

This past year was nothing short of easy.  But, as I’ve said before, the only limits that exist are the ones you set for yourself. This past year taught us the importance of adaptability and if you can make it through all of this, you can overcome any challenge in front of you. 

 

Loving yourself is hard. 

It’s really difficult to love yourself when you’re still trying to figure out who you are. To some, daily affirmations may seem corny, but they really do work. Tell yourself that you love yourself and that you are loved. At the end of the day, nobody has your back like you have your own. You work so hard and are a wonderful person. You deserve all the love in the world. 

 

Know how much you can handle. 

Be careful to not overbook yourself. Often, it could be tempting to join every club or organization on your campus, but it's ideal to find one or two you adore and you can put your efforts there. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Finding balance is crucial to your self-care and you have to always try to prioritize your own needs. 

 

Make memories. 

Lastly, make memories. Your college years are ones that you’ll never forget. Take advantage of every opportunity — you have the entire world in your hands. 

Miranda is a junior at Elon University pursuing her B.A. in Journalism and Communication Design with a minor in Dance. She is the Lifestyle Editor at Elon News Network. In her spare time, Miranda enjoys shopping, traveling and spending time with friends and family.
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