I Asked Girls for the Best Advice They've Ever Been Given

College is stressful. We get so tied up in the chaos of it all that we forget to let ourselves breathe. With midterms quickly approaching, and more and more students beginning to lose their sanity, I was starting to feel this negative energy taking a toll on me. It got me thinking: how could I not only encourage myself to carry through this dip in the semester, but encourage others simultaneously?

An ice breaker question I’ve seen on a couple get-to-know-you worksheets that I don’t think many people are able to quickly come up with an answer to is questions about advice you’ve been given. Like, that’s so deep by comparison for a worksheet that usually asks about your favorite color and favorite animal. But I think that this very idea of looking to the advice we have been told throughout our lives can help us not only keep moving forward but look back as to why we started moving in the first place.

I reached out to as many young women as I could to ask them for the best advice they’ve ever been given, and I left it very open-ended to each girl’s interpretation of that question. It’s safe to say that the responses I was given more than exceeded my expectations.

Here is just some of the advice I received:

women during interview Pexels / mentatdgt “My dad told me this when I was stressed about balancing architecture school with my social life: ‘Remember balance is not necessarily keeping going all the time. Sometimes you must pause one for days or weeks to take care of the other. It’s just life. And I know you will rock it, so go get ‘em! Be proud of what you are doing too, and appreciate how much you are learning.’” ~Freshman, Kansas State University

“The best advice I’ve ever been given is: ‘If you can’t apologize for what you’ve done (either you didn’t have malicious intentions or you’re unaware of what you’ve done), apologize for how you made them feel’, told to me by my freshman high school English teacher. This has stuck with me for years and I always think about it when I have conflicts with others. It definitely helped me gain a perspective on how to resolve indirect and complex conflicts!” ~Freshman, University of Kansas

“Give grace to those around you! [Told to me by] my dance teacher, Jessica. It’s allowed me to forgive people and myself when things in life don’t go as originally planned.” ~Freshman, Texas Christian University

“To make a habit of journaling every day. One of my church leaders said that, and it’s helped me be more grateful for the good in life and be able to vent about things without blowing up on someone.” ~Freshman, Colorado State University

journal on a table with coffee at a restaurant Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash  “You receive the energy you put out.” ~Freshman, Drury University

“The best advice I have ever received is from my dad. He always said to me ‘Do your best, not anyone else’s best’, and because of that I always worked hard in what I did and I never was concerned with what other people were doing around me. It’s shaped the way I study for school, learn music, and how I practice and compete for swimming.” ~Sophomore, Midland University

 “[My former choir teacher] told me not to wait to find something I’m passionate about and become a leader and that’s how I started becoming super involved in choir which lead me to pursuing music therapy.” ~Freshman, University of Kansas

“My mom told me to not let other people’s actions influence the way I view myself.” ~Senior, Blue Valley Northwest High School

“Perception is someone’s reality, meaning it doesn’t matter what you intend for it to come across as. You have to understand someone’s context and their interpretation of it because how someone perceived something is what is real to them.” ~Sophomore, Texas Christian University

Adult Back View Backpack Beautiful Tim Gouw / Pexels  “My dad told me to always dream big like you did when you were a little kid.” ~Senior, Blue Valley Northwest High School

“Just because someone else has it worse, that does not mean that your problems don’t matter. This was given to me by my parents, and it’s impacted my life because it really helps me with my mental health. I try to remember that every person is going through things and our problems are important, and we need to take good care of ourselves since this is the only life we get.” ~Freshman, Texas Christian University

 “Something important is to stop playing the victim in your life and take control and make your life what you want it to be.” ~Freshman, University of Kansas

 “The best advice I’ve ever been given was from my mom and it’s cliché but it’s to ‘be yourself always’ and it’s made me who I am.” ~Senior, Blue Valley Southwest High School

Love yourself clipboard room decor Pexels / Natasha Fernandez “It’s easier to forgive first and find reasons to forgive later, it takes the weight off of your heart. This helped me get through a tough time when I had to work through forgiving someone who wronged me but wasn’t sorry about it at all. Took the weight off of me, and made me realize that they are a person too.” ~Freshman, Texas Christian University

“To always look for the positive things through tough times and be grateful for what you have.” ~Senior, Blue Valley Northwest High School

 “You don’t owe anybody anything.” ~Senior, Blue Valley Southwest High School

“I feel like my dad gives me the most meaningful advice usually. I can’t think of anything specific, but it’s usually something about being confident in myself and asserting myself. He also talks a lot about managing money and leadership because that’s what he has experience in. I usually think about him whenever I get nervous for a presentation and it often boosts my confidence enough to get the work done.” ~Sophomore, University of Arkansas

post it wall of love Kyle Glenn Reading through all of the advice I was sent was truly an eye-opening experience. We spend so much time worrying about the present and the future that we can forget to look back on the people who have helped us to get where we are now.

I suppose it’s my turn to give advice. And I guess I would have to say a simple phrase said to me during my time in community theatre, and that is to “Be The Sun”. It’s from a children’s poem that our director would recite before every show, and I never really thought about what it meant until I truly needed it a long time later. As for what it means, the rest of the poem gives it a little more context, but I personally just like the 3-letter phrase by itself. It’s vague, and I think it can mean whatever you need it to mean in a given moment.

girl running through field Sasha Freemind I hope this inspired someone out there. Now go crush your midterms!