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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

Since the New Year has officially begun, it’s time to commemorate this past year. In honour of 2023, here are 23 short pieces of advice and lessons that I learned over the last 12 months.

  1. Always moisturize your neck! After reading Vogue’s article about Alexa Chung’s list of everything she’s learned since turning 40, I’ve started moisturizing my neck, along with my face. 
  1. A cool pair of shoes can make even the most basic of outfits look more interesting. Especially if they’re colourful. 
  1. Stop thrifting pieces simply because they’re cool. Only buy something if you would actually wear it, and if you can build an outfit with it. Things can be cool and yet not your style, and buying them usually leads to them sitting in your closet for months. 
  1. If you’re having a bad day, talking to a friend usually helps. Preferably in person or on the phone, but texting works too. 
  1. Habitually drinking less makes you feel better on the daily. This year, I made a conscious effort to cut back on how much I was drinking and found that I was more productive, had more energy, and my face was less puffy! 
  1. Not all friendships are meant to last forever. People’s interests, priorities, and values all change over time, and sometimes they no longer align with their friends’. Friendships should benefit both people in some way, and if they don’t, then maybe it’s a connection not worth keeping. 
  1. Taking a hot shower doesn’t automatically fix any of your problems, but it does make you feel a bit better. Feeling fresh and clean can never hurt. 
  1. Solo travel is terrifying, but so worth the risk for personal development. Having to navigate a foreign country alone teaches you so much about yourself, improves your problem-solving skills, and acts as future reassurance that if you could survive that experience, you can survive another difficult experience. 
  1. Invest in a good digital camera—or find a friend that has one. 
  1.  Avoiding things because you don’t want to deal with them only makes them worse. Learn to rip off the Band-Aid instead of dragging things out. 
  1.  Losing a pet is probably one of the worst feelings ever. It’s also hard to grieve, because it appears to be comparatively better than losing a loved one. I lost my dog in March, and I felt embarrassed for being very affected by her death. But grief isn’t comparable; everyone grieves differently, and it doesn’t make someone weak to feel grief deeply. 
  1.  Being the friend that always has to reach out and make plans isn’t fun. The best friends you have will be the ones that reciprocate and ask you to hang out too. 
  1.  Go to as many summer concerts as possible. Even if you don’t know the artist very well, it’s most likely going to be a fun experience regardless. 
  1.  If they wanted to date you, then you would be dating. Don’t pine for someone that doesn’t care about you. 
  1. Facebook Marketplace is a great way to find secondhand pieces, and they’re often more reasonably priced than on Depop. 
  1.  Having a friend, or at least a contact, in every class is insanely helpful. 
  1.  Take some time to appreciate what you’re learning. Even if the work is difficult or tedious, it helps to recognize that you’re probably learning something cool. 
  1.  Read every essay and piece of writing aloud before submitting it. 
  1.  At least one good pair of jeans is necessary in life… especially if they’re a timeless style. 
  1.  A good house party will beat a bar or club every single time. 
belly, jeremiah, and conrad in the kitchen in the summer i turned pretty season 2
Erika Doss/Prime Video
  1. A simple skincare routine can sometimes be better than a more complex one. Putting too many products on your face can absolutely make your skin worse. 
  1. Cutting back on social media usage can be isolating. I limited my use of Snapchat near the end of the year, and sometimes when I was with my friends who were using it, I felt a bit disconnected from them. 
  1.  Perhaps one of the most significant things that I learned in 2023 is the importance of documenting happy moments. Even though, yes, you probably should live in the moment, taking pictures and videos of special memories allows you to have something to look back on when you’re feeling down or when you want to reminisce. Looking back on 2023 through the lens of my favourite pictures and videos allowed me to see how truly special the past year was and made me even more excited for what 2024 holds. 
Natalie Cowan

Queen's U '26

Natalie Cowan is a second year English Language and Literature student at Queen's University. She enjoys baking, spending time with friends and family, and walking her dog, Auggie.