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Madison Hodge, sticker design for Stardust Designs
Original photo by Madison Hodge

Growing Pains

As a nineteen-year-old college girl living hours away from home in a new environment, school, and city, I find myself growing more and more into who I really am.

So let’s discuss the elephant in the room: growing pains.

I never quite understood the concept– we all know that growing can quite literally be painful in every sense of the word. I think if everyone could skip to the part of their lives where they’re so unbelievably happy; successful and living in the perfect city along with the perfect person and job, they would.

Unfortunately, that’s not how this works. We have to go through the messy parts of life, the parts that make us feel like the world’s slowly ending until we realize it’s not, which forces us to wake up and try again the next day. It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s worth it.

Here are a couple of things I wish I knew a year ago that has since become the Tylenol of growing pains. 

How important it is to say NO!

Saying no to something you have absolutely no desire to do creates boundaries. Yes, it’s very uncomfortable to put your foot down, but you’re essentially creating the foundation of how those around you will treat you. Standing up for yourself leaves no room for sacrificing your own mental health over others. You’re in charge of your needs. Not anyone else’s. 

Let’s normalize quitting.
girl lounging relax 3
Kristen Bryant / Her Campus

Not saying that quitting is always the answer, but why do something that’s unfulfilling and ultimately has no real benefit to your life. This also includes catering to unhealthy relationships, toxic jobs, clubs that you didn’t even want to be in, and the overall idea that you have to stick with something you don’t want to do. It’s perfectly okay to stop putting forth energy and time into people and jobs that no longer serve a purpose.

Changing your mind is okay!

If we all had to pursue our dream jobs when we were five because we couldn’t change our minds, do you know how many mermaids there would be in this world? Every day we grow and make decisions that ultimately play out and shape us into who we are. If you’re continuously growing, you’re obviously going to outgrow certain mindsets as well. Change your mind two, three, even twenty-four times! This is your life!

Growing pains are inevitable. No matter how old you are, doing things that make you uncomfortable is going to be difficult, but it’s a good sign!

It means you’re growing and getting out of your comfort zone! Here’s to becoming who you’ve always wanted to be and finding magic in the process.

Hello!! My name is Jamee and I am an Integrated PR and Advertising major at the University of South Florida! I'm super passionate about art, writing, fashion, and especially making people laugh! I plan to be a freelance art director in New York City! I hope you guys like my writing! I'm super excited to be involved with HerCampus! Go Bulls!!
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