18 Things I Learned in 2018

1. Always say “yes” (to things you want to do)

In 2017 all I did was focus on my grades. Although you should get good grades in college, there is so much more to experience. Say yes to dinner, game nights, movies, hockey games, football games, or anything else you get asked to do. You’ll have the chance to study later, I promise.

2. Travel every chance you get

Instead of going on a shopping spree with your hard-earned money, take a weekend trip. You don’t need to save up for months, just go somewhere for the weekend. Go with your boyfriend, your best friend, or your siblings. You’ll meet new people and experienced new things. It will almost always be worth the money.

3. Buy experiences instead of items

Like #3, instead of blowing all your money on clothes, buy experiences. Take a trip, go to a concert, go to a museum, or go ice skating. In ten years, you won’t think back to the time you bought a new shirt at the mall, you will remember the memories you made with friends.

4. Facetime is a gift from god

There is nothing wrong with going home every once in a while, but in my case I went home almost every other weekend. In 2018 I realized how much time and money I was wasting by driving home, so facetime became my best friend. Most the time when you miss home, it’s the people there that you miss. A facetime call to your parents, siblings, or friends goes a long way and often times cures home sickness.

5. Failure is inevitable

Throughout high school my motto was “if you don’t try, you can’t fail”. I refused to apply to things that I thought were out of my reach because once I failed I knew it would hurt. I finally decided to apply to more things but became very broken when I failed. It took some time, but now I can easily say that everything happens for a reason. If you don’t succeed at something, I promise it means something better is coming.

6. Trust your friends

If they tell you he’s a bad guy, chances are he’s a bad guy. If they tell you he’s not good enough for you, chances are he isn’t. And if you truly think they are wrong, talk it out. Tell them everything, the good, the bad, the ugly. If they are your real friends, they will stick with you and support you in whatever you choose to do.

7. Take pictures always

A lot of time people get annoyed with how much I want to take pictures, but maybe in 20 years they will know why I think it’s so important. I always look back on my photos from elementary school, middle school, and high school and cherish them. One day we might not have the memories, or the people, but at least I’ll have the pictures.

8. You can’t please everyone

What’s best for you may not be what is best for your friends, family, or significant other. If moving away from home is what’s best for you, then do it. If staying in on a Saturday night is what you need, then do it. Be selfish if you need to, your happiness is the most important.

9. You can’t trust everyone

As much as someone might look like a good person, they are doing what’s best for themselves not you. Some people make great first impressions, always say the right thing, and seem to good to be true. This is because they probably are too good to be true.

10. Stop taking things for granted

At one point in your life, you were dreaming of being where you are now. I couldn’t wait to get to college, yet I find myself only thinking about the bad aspects of it. There are people who would die to go to the school I go to, live in the room I live in, or wear the clothes I am wearing. Appreciate everything you have in life and stop looking for the next thing you “need”.

11. College should be exciting

You often hear all the bad parts of college; early classes, late nights studying, and crappy roommates. Don’t live that college life. Take classes you enjoy, study with friends to make it less terrible, and live with people who make you happy (even if that means living by yourself).

12. People cannot read minds

I, along with many other people, have a bad habit of treating everything as a game. Instead of saying “I want to go to this restaurant, not that one”, I would say “I guess we can go there” even though that isn’t what I wanted. Be direct with people, and if they don’t like that, you don’t need them in your life.

13. Be close with your siblings

When you live in the same house as your siblings it can be very hard to get along with them. Once you both leave the house you grew up in, please make an effort to have a relationship with them. This was one of the best things I have done since leaving home. Text them, call them, go to dinner with them, and travel with them. Appreciate all the memories of you as children, the good and the bad.

14. Sit in the front row

This might seem silly, but its true. Every single time I have sat in the front row, I have received an A in the class. Maybe you won’t get an A, but chances are the professor will know you. Knowing the professor always has its benefits…

15. You always want the professor to know you

You might not think it matters now to know your professor, but a year from now you might need their help. Whether you need a letter of recommendation, help in another class, or just advice. Sometimes its not always what you know, but WHO you know.

16. If you care about someone, tell them

When is the last time you told your parents you appreciated them? This is a reminder to appreciate ALL the people in your life; friends, family, significant others, or even strangers. There will be a time in your life when you regret not telling someone you cared about them. Make people feel appreciated, that is the key to good relationships.

17. Sometimes you should give people second chances…or third

Before 2018 I would have never given someone a second chance. I used to hold grudges as a way of protecting myself from the people who had hurt me. Well I’m here to say, some people do learn from their mistakes. Always keep your guard up, but if someone sincerely apologizes to you, forgive them.

18. Things don’t work out for a reason

If something doesn’t work out, it’s because something better is coming. A better job, a better friend, a better significant other. It hurts in the moment when something doesn’t go the way you planned, but soon you will see why.