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Charlotte Reader / Her Campus

Five Things I’ve Learned at 19

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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 UC Riverside chapter.

Like the flowers that blossom in between cracks of pavement and the gentle breeze swaying trees that are green once again, spring settles a notion of peace, renewal, and growth within myself. As a nineteen-year-old girl nearing the end of my freshman year at UC Riverside, I’ve had some time to think about my life so far and some of the more valuable lessons I’ve learned along the way, some of which I wish I’d known last fall. 

One lesson that particularly stands out to me now is that good things can happen to you when you least expect them. A lot of the time, we tend to focus on everything that is not going right in our lives, which distracts us from everything that could go right. Before college, my younger and more naive self formed a blueprint for everything that I intended to happen in my future life, from accomplishments to milestones. When I realized that not everything was going according to plan, I began to lose motivation as a result of confusion and feeling distorted. Now I know that life doesn’t have to end when you don’t attend the university you’ve been dreaming about since childhood or when you cut things off with the guy you imagined would be in your life forever. Just when you think everything is falling apart, a new set of opportunities you can grab ahold of and new people are going to come into your life, bringing a new wave of love and happiness. 

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Charlotte Reader / Her Campus

Moreover, with the transition to new stages in your life, it is also important to stay true to your personal values. One critical lesson that I learned as a freshman in college is that the people around you are going to change for the better or for worse. Yet, it doesn’t mean you should compromise your standards for companionship. Learn to surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you, whether that involves people who share your core beliefs or those who challenge you to grow in positive ways. For me, that means sticking close to my family, who always encourage me to work hard in school for a rewarding future, and friends who value kindness and spirituality. 

Similarly, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to invest more time and money in myself the way I do today. My life was once full of insecurities before I put action into changing the way I carried my confidence. The reality is that no one can make you satisfied with the way you look besides yourself. Take this as a sign from me to buy that gym membership or book that hair appointment you’ve been contemplating for months. In other ways, you can also invest in yourself mentally by exploring new hobbies or going to therapy. College campuses like UCR have many resources when it comes to self-help and counseling. The best investment you can make for yourself is treating yourself with confidence. By focusing on self-care, I’ve been able to navigate the concept of self-worth and realize that I am deserving of life’s luxuries. Not only that, but with a higher self-esteem, it has been significantly easier to navigate life’s ups and downs. 

All in all, the overarching theme that I have discovered in this coming-of-age era is that no matter what happens, life moves on. Between the changing of the weather and the fading memories of yesterday, it’s okay to let yourself grow.

Elisa Chavez

UC Riverside '27

Hello, my name is Elisa and I am a first year English major beyond thrilled to be a part of the writing committee. My favorite hobby in the world revolves around reading romance and fantasy novels, in fact I love spending time at bookstores. It is also worth mentioning that I adore cats, indie music, Harry Styles, and watching "Gilmore Girls" all year round.