19 Things I Learned While Being 19

With my twentieth birthday having just passed on the twenty-fifth I have come to realize just how much my nineteen years of living has taught me. Being a teenager in high school is rough; there’s no argument there. However, having to complete the last of your teen years in college is far worse. You are in such an odd space and you’re not sure how to feel. You’re on the edge of teen life and cusp of adulthood, and with that comes many lessons learned.

Personally, my nineteenth year was not the best but not necessarily the worst either. It was just one of those years where I was feeling really lost and out of touch with myself. I experienced a lot of tragedy during this time and battled with a few mental health issues. I am here to say that my nineteenth year was probably my lowest year next to turning 16. Despite all my adversities, I have learned so many important and useful things about both myself and life.

(Photo by Taylor Thomas)


1. It’s okay to be sad. 

I’ve put this one first because it is the most important lesson that I’ve learned. I realized that I had been denying my true feelings and was making myself feel guilty for sulking and/or crying all the time. There is never any reason to deny or belittle your emotions. If you’re sad then you’re sad. If you’re happy then you’re happy. It’s as simple as that. Never be ashamed of your feelings and never feel as though being emotional is wrong. 

2. Mindfulness is a thing. 

I was introduced to the practice of mindful meditation this year, and I am so very glad that I was. Mindfulness is the practice of maintaining a state of heightened and/or complete awareness of thoughts, emotions or experiences. It’s all about living life and being mindful of each moment and being completely self-aware. It’s something I think everyone should research and get into. There are several books, articles and apps dedicated to this meditation.

3. Self-care/Me time is extremely important. 

I feel like this is an obvious one, but self-care is vital for anyone’s mental health. No matter whether you are super extroverted or introverted, you will come to a point where you need time alone. There’s nothing wrong with being a little selfish and wanting time to yourself. Me time is where you sit back, re-charge and get to know yourself better. Self-care could be simply eating your favorite foods, watching tv or sleeping in. 

4. Life is shorter than you may realize.  

I experienced a lot of tragedy this year. One of my uncles died on my birthday and in February I lost a little cousin from Dallas. These deaths left me feeling more emotions than I could understand. What I learned from all the confusing emotions was that life is extremelyshort. My cousin was only 17 years old when he died. I couldn’t believe I was attending a funeral for someone younger than me. It was certainly an eye opener.

5. Being a broke college student is normal.

Sometimes you won’t have enough money to always go out with friends or to buy all the things you may want or even need. Sometimes Ramen will be your only meal for several days straight. No need to stress too much. That’s just college life for yah!


(Photo by Taylor Thomas)

6. Face your fears.

It’s the only way to truly get past them. Do what scares you the most and see how much your life will change. I feared writing articles on a website such as this one, and now here I am. Embrace the fear.

7. Hard work really does pay off.

I mean this in the most literal sense. I started my very first job this past summer and it requires a lot of hard work. The physical labor was worth it, however, once I received my first check.

8. Baggers get tipped!

This new job involves me working at a grocery store in my hometown bagging groceries. I never knew to tip a bagger until the day a customer handed me a dollar bill. My world has forever changed.

9. Other’s opinions do not matter.

They just simply don’t. It has taken me years to get to this realization, but now that I have I try my best to worry less about others and more about myself. 

10. Doing things by yourself is not weird.

Over Christmas break, I ended up going to the movies by myself for the first time after a friend canceled on me. It was actually a really cool experience. It was both relaxing and enjoyable. You should try it.

11. Don’t feel guilty after someone’s death.

Going back to the loved ones I lost this past year, I started to feel guilty after their deaths. I felt like I didn’t take the time to appreciate them or get to know them on a deeper level. I learned that guilt after death is, in fact, normal, but that you should never dwell on it. 

12. Make as many memories as possible.

I traveled a lot this year with some of my closest friends and created a lot of very memorable moments. Having funny and exciting stories to look back on and talk about is good for the soul. Go out and make those memories!

13. Stop questioning your character.

There should never be a moment when you question yourself or your actions. Do what you want. Say what you mean and mean what you say. 

14. Stop tolerating BS and BS people.

This is a little vulgar but hey it’s the truth! I had to learn the hard way that I am getting too old to tolerate BS in my life and the people that come with it. Cut it all out. Period.

15. Saying “No” is a good thing.

This word holds so much power. If you say it and mean it, it will leave you feeling fantastic. It’s taken me way too long to get to this point, but nonetheless I am finally here.

(Photo by Taylor Thomas)

16. Mean what you say and say what you mean.

I must repeat this because this concept is just that important!! Never second guess yourself and always stick to your word.

17. You’re not obligated to anyone.

This ties in with self-care and me-time. If someone wants to hang out but you don’t feel like it, then simply don’t go out. Do not feel like you’re obligated to anybody at any point in time. This includes family. 

18. Make your own decisions in life.

Always make your own choices concerning your life. Whether they be wrong or right; it’s your life. Not your friends, significant others or parent's.

19. Adulthood won’t be easy.

This is pretty much a given, but I learned that turning 20 doesn’t mean life will get any simpler. Lif, in fact,t will get even more difficult but knowing the things I know now; I can better prepare myself for the many obstacles that will be thrown my way. My 19thyear was rough, but it taught me many things that now have me somewhat ready for my 20’s.