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17 Things I Learned at 17

I’m three days shy of turning 18. So in honor of (finally) being able to vote and buy Tylenol, here are 17 things I learned at 17! 

1. Your Dad Has the Best Taste in Music. Ever since I can remember, my dad has been talking about how great the music of the 70s and 80s was. He would play it whenever he had a chance or when he thought no one was home. This was the year his taste in music stuck with me. Every song he has introduced me to, from Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell”  to “Always” by Bruce Springsteen has been playing on repeat on my phone for the better part of the year.

2. Tea Does the Job Better then Coffee.  Senior year of high school is a stressful year, especially the first semester as your life is plagued by the word “college.” As someone who was very involved in extracurriculars and took honors and AP courses, I found myself constantly saying “I’m so tired.” So I turned to coffee. And I hated it (unless it’s a medium caramel iced coffee from Dunkin with extra caramel). In lieu of coffee, my mom suggested I try tea. Best decision I have made in my life. Not only does tea have an insane amount of health benefits but it boosts up my energy better then coffee. So if you ever see me lacking energy or saying “I’m tired” I probably haven’t had a cup (or 5) of tea.

3. The Gym is a Magical Place. I consider myself to be a relatively active person; I spent a majority of my youth in dance classes and a majority of high school spinning a flag around. While I started my gym membership at the end of my junior year, I didn’t get into it until this year. The gym is a place where all of my stress disappears and I don’t have to worry about anything for an hour and a half.

4. Pick Up the Pen and Write. Since I can remember I have always had a passion for writing. In fact, from ages 8 to 13 I ran around telling everyone I was going to grow up and be a writer. A majority of high school I didn’t write, unless it was for a school assignment. However, for my 17th birthday, my sister got me a journal and I rediscovered my love of writing. Getting your thoughts down is such a fantastic feeling and eases a ton of stress. Since getting the journal, whenever I have an urge to write, I write on the first thing I can find, including napkins and calculus worksheets.

5. Capture the Moments… I love taking pictures and videos. It’s so fun to look back on pictures from prom night or videos of your friends pretending that the sabers the color guard used were light sabers and dueling with them. Pictures offer a great memory to look back on after a long day or a day when you’re just feeling sentimental.

6. …But Enjoy Them Too! I used not be able to go to an event without taking pictures. However, this year, I realized that while pictures are awesome, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t record every single funny thing your friends did or take a picture with every single person you know at prom. It’s so much better to live the moments in real time, and not through a phone screen.  

7. Organization is Key. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m Monica from “Friends.” I constantly write reminders to myself, color code everything, keep everything in its designated space, and am a total neat freak. I’ve always been a pretty neat person but given my hectic life-style as a high school senior and college freshman, organization is the only way I can focus and get everything that needs to be done, done in the best possible way.

8. Time Management is Your Best Friend. I’ll admit, I procrastinated a bit too much senior year because one more episode never means one more episode (I watched all seasons of The Office and Friends during my senior year…twice). While I did get everything done, I would always wait until the last minute and stress out. So, I learned that binge watching is a great thing to do, once everything on your to-do list gets checked off.

9. How to be a Leader. During my senior year of high school, I was the captain of my high school’s award-winning color guard and co-chairperson of Relay for Life in my town, an American Cancer Society 12-hour fundraiser. I learned so much holding these positions. I learned how to work under pressure, how to work in a team, and how to handle less then ideal situations. All of this has prepared me to be a junior event coordinator for Her Campus Marist as well as shaped me into the person I am today.

10. Your Mom is Your Best Friend. She is the one who will have your back through thick and thin. She’s the one who will sit in your car and laugh with you until the rain lets out and you can go inside. She’s the one who will be a shoulder to cry on and always find a way to make a rainy day sunny. She’s your shopping buddy and personal stylist. She also won’t judge you when you start crying 10 minutes into This Is Us.

11. Family is the Most Important Thing in the World. Since I can remember, I was taught that family is everything. Since started college I realized how true this is. They’re your biggest support system and your biggest cheerleaders. They share your successes with you and motivate and encourage you to work your hardest. Dinner with my extended family and enough food to feed a small army, just laughing and having a great time is my favorite thing in the world.

12. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned. I have a tendency to get stressed so easily and I’ve learned that nothing is worth losing time and energy over. Life is short, and you miss too much of it by worrying over things that won’t matter in the long run.

13. Everything has a Solution. Sometimes finding the solution may take longer, but there will always be one. While it may not be the expected outcome, the solution always ends up being the best thing for you.

14. Time Flies! Since committing to Marist April of my senior year, I was ready for high school to be over with. Looking back, I wish I enjoyed the last few months more instead of counting down the days I had left. The last few months of senior year were the best and they flew by. Even college is passing at the speed of light. We’re already at the halfway mark of first semester and it feels like I just got here. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. 

15. Take Advantage of Every Opportunity. I was the first person in my family to be born in the United States and I’ve always been aware that I have more privileges and opportunities then my parents did. I learned to jump on every opportunity that is thrown my way and enjoy and take as much from it as I can. 

16. Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things. I used to not stray from my comfort zone, but that changed this year. From kayaking in the Bahamas to having lunch with different people everyday, I learned so much about myself and the person I want to be. Straying outside of my comfort zone was easily the best choice I’ve made this year.

17. Live Life with No Regrets. Regrets hold you back, so there is no point in wishing you did something you didn’t or did something differently. By having regrets, you waste time and can’t move on to the wonderful things life has in store for you. Everything happens for a reason so having regrets is a waste of time and energy.

Jana Brzovski is a junior at Marist College majoring Business Administration with dual concentrations in Finance and International Business and minoring in Economics and is the current President of Her Campus Marist. In her spare time, you can find Jana drinking Laughing Man coffee while Insta-stalking Kate Spade, anything Disney-related, or her favorite fashion brands. You can also find her watching Friends, the Office, Beverly Hills, 90210, or the Bachelor Franchise, eating her weight in food with family, or laughing with her friends.   
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