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15 Things I Wish I Could Tell My 18-Year-Old Self

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.
  1. School is good for you.

    Show up. Do the readings. You might not always care about the material or like the class, but lean into it anyway. You might end up liking it and/or learning something really valuable.

  2. You don’t need to have an opinion on everything.

    College is for meeting new people and learning about their experiences. When you don’t relate to someone’s opinions or life choices, try to see the decisions they make from their point of view. It will be an invaluable habit to practice for your own personal growth.

  3. Everyone around you is lonely and confused most of the time.

    College can be an incredibly overwhelming and individualistic place. But the good news is that most people are feeling the same way you are. Especially in the first year. Talking about it openly with people helps ease the process and also gives other people a chance to voice their struggles, too.

  4. You have to CHOOSE to improve.

    Reading for fun, joining clubs, exploring off-campus, meeting new people, strengthening friendships and challenging yourself to face your fears and grow from it. These are things you now have to start practicing every day if you want to be happy and have a positive college experience. Start doing this ASAP.

  5. Sex is fun. But sex is also very complicated.

    Being sex-positive and adventurous is a great thing. But not all sex will make you feel good afterwards. Sometimes you will be sad and not even know why. The sooner you learn when to be sexually free and when to be more careful with your emotions, the better off you’ll be. It might take you a while, and you might accidentally hurt yourself along the way, but you’ll figure it out if you CHOOSE to take care of yourself.

  6. Your health is in your hands now.

    Getting sick in college is one of the toughest emotional growing pains you’ll experience, because it’ll be up to you to get yourself better. Making medical appointments for yourself is just one of a list of things you’ll have to do by yourself now. Get over it and just do it.

  7. Feminism can mean anything you want it to mean.

    You’ll change your views on a lot of things in these four years. That’s a good thing. One of those will be feminism, a word that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Don’t judge how another woman empowers herself, and figure out what empowers YOU, personally.

  8. Mixing alcohol is not for you.

    Hangovers are karmic punishment for not being nicer to your body. Everyone’s tolerance is individual. Just because your friends can drink every liquor and beer on the planet and wake up for yoga the next morning, that sure don’t mean you can, honey.

  9. Be good to your mom.

    She’ll be there for you when no one else is. She’ll also always be your biggest fan. Plus, she was a girl your age, too, once. She probably gets it, whatever “it” is.

  10. Befriend people who are different from you.

    This one is important. You’ll learn more about the world from the people you meet than from most of your classes. Just make sure they have similar values as you. That’s a big determiner of your happiness here, too.

  11. Talking sh** about people will always end badly for you.

    We’re all just tryin’ our best, after all. And the golden rule isn’t only applicable in kindergarten. My mom told me once: everyone is doing the best they can, given the resources available to them in that moment. I didn’t understand that until recently, but it’s so important to remember. Refer to #3.

  12. Not everyone is going to be nice to you.

    Lots of people will judge you instead of getting to know you. Lots of them will disrespect you. Say rude things to you. Make you feel small. That’s their baggage talking, and it usually has nothing to do with who you are. Best thing to do is feel sorry for them and remember what you love about yourself. Because you deserve much better than what they can offer you.

  13. Don’t set too high of expectations for people who don’t know how to reach them.

    Perhaps the most important lesson you’ll learn. And you’ll face a whole lot of disappointments along the way to learning it.

  14. Quitting doesn’t make you a quitter.

    Some things are not for you, and once you realize that, why waste any more of your own time? Removing negative things from your life when you realize they’re making you unhappy is one of the best things you could do for yourself. We put such an unnecessary amount of pressure on ourselves to not be “quitters,” but sometimes quitting a bad thing is exactly what will bring you closer to understanding yourself and what you need.

  15. Your mantra in college (and, arguably, in life) should be: “f*** it”

    Do things that scare the sh** out of you. I really wish I’d learned this one sooner. Say “f*** it” and make yourself do more things that push you toward becoming the version of yourself you want to be.


Photo courtesy of Sarah Steuer.

Gifs courtesy of Giphy.

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