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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 Toronto MU chapter.

As 2022 came and went, and navigating the age as an almost 22-year-old, I’ve spent some time reflecting on the year and how much I have learnt about myself. Not to say it was a horrible year, but it did come with its challenges. From navigating COVID and lockdowns, to in-person learning and personal struggles—these are some of the life lessons and things that I have learned, especially during the year 2022. 

  1. It’s okay to not have your life figured out yet. 

Especially being in your 20s, there is so much time to learn new things and truly discover who you are. Because it is true, you are going to change your mind a lot, and you are going to find new passions, interests and drives, which may shift your plan you had in mind. And that is totally okay – it’s not worth stressing about what direction you are going in because you have the rest of your life to figure it out. 

  1. Forgive yourself. 

Being a human is not easy nor perfect. Setbacks happen—but so do comebacks. 

  1. When they say “your body is a temple” – they mean it; so treat it like one. 

This year was especially hard for me in terms of weight gain and weight loss, so it was a struggle to love and accept my body. But it is so important to take care of your body. Nourish it with food, get proper sleep, take your vitamins, and relax. Your body will thank you. 

  1. Never feel guilty for putting yourself first. You are your number one priority. 

I have always had a hard time being a people pleaser. It is hard doing what is right for me because I will spend days worrying about what others think or if I upset them. But, you have to walk your own path. No one else can walk it for you. And you certainly can’t walk someone else’s. 

  1. Not every relationship is meant to last forever. 

People really do come and go. I learned this the hard way after getting out of an almost 3 year relationship with a partner. It was hard, and it was the lowest my mental health has ever been—especially leaving a person you thought would be around forever. It took me a while to get over this, but in the end I came out stronger and learned not everyone is meant to stick around forever. You are constantly going to be meeting new people and forming new relationships, and some just won’t stick. 

  1. It’s okay to ask for help. 

Reaching out for help is hard, but help is always around and always available. It’s not something to be ashamed of. Reaching out for help can be life changing. 

  1. Higher education is not always everything. 

Yes, higher education is very important. At this very moment I am an undergrad at TMU and planning to go to law school, but I have seen many people reach a very high place in life without attending university, college, and some not even graduating from high school. Higher education does not beat knowing the right people and having connections and outreaching. Do not take higher education for granted, but it is not everything. 

  1. Invest time in yourself and your future. It is always worth it. 
  1. People don’t think about you the same way you do. 

This took me a long time to realize, but people are way too distracted and busy with their own lives and worries to worry about others or to criticize you. Although our minds are always playing tricks on us, people are not waiting around for you to mess up so they can point it out. People are not waiting around to pick on your flaws or judging your every move. So do your own thing. Speak up. Wear what you want. People are too consumed with their own lives to worry about yours. 

  1. Treating yourself to that 5 dollar Starbucks coffee is not going to break the bank account. 

Yes, saving money is super important. And yes, there is coffee at home, but treating yourself to that coffee, to that bagel, to that new lunch spot that just opened up, is not going to break the bank account. 

  1. Don’t ever settle. 

Whether it is in a relationship, a career, a friendship, or anything else – you deserve the best. And if you have to ask yourself if this is all your worth, you are probably worth more. 

  1. Do what you love and love what you do. 

The saying “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” is in fact TRUE. Figure out what you dream of, what keeps you going, what inspires you, and try to accomplish that. Whether it’s the arts and being creative, a business owner, a lawyer, a doctor, a scientist, a teacher, a mechanic or engineer – find your passion and stick to it. I learned this from my dad especially. He has been fixing cars for over 40 years, and every morning wakes up and loves going to work. 

  1. Never give up. 

Life is not always easy. And maybe it’s not supposed to be. If you make a mistake it just means you are human. And never giving up does not just mean to never give up on your dreams or career, but on yourself. 

  1. It’s okay if you don’t know what to say. 

“I don’t know,” is a perfectly okay answer to things. 

  1. Mental health comes first. 

I cannot stress this one enough. The past year especially, this has been the biggest realization I have made. If you are miserable and unhappy, you need to reach out and get better. Whatever you may be going through, it is so important to get help. Yes, depression and anxiety and disorders do not just go away – but you can learn how to live with it and make your days just a little bit brighter. 

  1. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. 

Whether it is with friends, family or significant others and partners – communication really is key. It can make or break anything. Always try to communicate how you feel, what’s going on and try to find solutions. And especially, if in a relationship, never go to bed mad at each other. It just makes the morning worse. 

  1. Starting something is the hardest part. 

We all procrastinate, and starting something is a challenge. We tend to put it off, or forget. But it’s always better to start and learn as you go, than to put it off to the side and never give it a shot at all. 

  1. You are your biggest advocate. 

Never be afraid to tell people what you want in life. In your career. In your relationships. You have to be vocal about what you want, you cannot expect other people to know. 

  1. Failure is not always a bad thing. 

Failing can be stressful, but there is a lot to learn about failing. Failing can be a success, too. As long as you are learning from the experience, it was not a waste. 

  1. The worst thing you can do is compare yourself to others. 

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” It keeps you stressed and feeling down about yourself. Whether it’s about body image, height, career, life, job, money – when you feel yourself going down the hole of comparing yourself to others, just know everyone has gifts to share with the world. There really is no one else like you in this world. Let yourself shine. 

  1. Having curated playlists makes all the difference. 

Trust me, as someone who has multiple playlists revolving around my moods and energy of the day – it helps to organize my music based on what I am feeling and what mood I am in. 

  1. Washing your face and brushing your teeth makes you feel better. 

There is nothing better than feeling clean – especially before bed and after a rough day.

Now, 2022 was not easy—but 2023, here I come.

Kayla McIntosh

Toronto MU '24

Kayla McIntosh is a third-year Journalism student at Toronto Metropolitan University. You can usually find her with a cup of coffee or finding new TV shows to watch on Netflix. After her studies, she hopes to attend law school and pursue a career as a lawyer, and a published author. When she is not writing or editing, she is typically found exploring Toronto and curating Spotify playlists.