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19 Things I Learned by the Time I Turned 19

Every year on my birthday, I like to reflect my past years and remember all of my crazy, amazing experiences and memories I have made with my friends and family. This year I turned 19, my final year as a teenager and so what better way to appreciate my growth as an individual than to share 19 key pieces of advice that I have learned over the years, and hope to carry with me for many years to come!


1. Opportunities do not just present themselves. You must create your own doors to capitalize on. You truly have to build your own frame, door, and handle to your pathway. Taking initiative for your future self is the best thing you can do for yourself. You are, truly, the only person that can help yourself. Like the famous quote goes, “it will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.” ― George Eliot


2. Look at every up and down in life as a learning experience. Take a moment to self-reflect and remember it is important to take actions that lead to your own self development. At 19, we are young and can easily make mistakes but we can just as easily bounce back


3. Having an open-minded perspective is really important. You are no longer a child, a part of an enclosed, one lane road, focusing on one idea or concept. You are an adult meeting many people that are coming from many walks of life. It is important to learn from and consider the many different standpoints of every individual.


4. Time is so precious. In fact, I would say it is the most precious readily available resource that you can utilize and share. How you use it should be considered wisely and should be handled with great care.



5. Reliving your childhood is okay. Get excited about ice cream trucks and cotton candy at your local spring fair! Pressing those innocent feelings will only bog down your optimistic views on the little things in life.


6. Your parents are always right (99% of the time). They have made their own mistakes and matured from them. Their advice is just an attempt to prevent you from making the same mistakes. Learn to take a positive outlook on their advice, comments, and feedback.


7. Say “I love you” more. Sometimes the absence of someone in your life comes without warning. Appreciate every moment with your family/friends and learn to forgive and forget.



8. Your social circles changing is not a bad thing. People grow apart. It means you are maturing into the individual you have set yourself up to be and so are the people around you.


9. It is unreasonable to keep a fixed impression of an individual. As times change, so can the people around you.


10. It never is and never will be a bad day to squeeze in a workout. It all comes down to your time management skills and mindset.


11. Spend your free time doing something productive. Free time can be used to take a break from our lives but avoid just sitting in bed, glued to an electronic device, scrolling for hours. Studies say the best way to improve your mental and physical health during “free” time periods in your day are to utilize it exercising, reading, meditating, and working on a task you are passionate about.



12. Taking care of yourself should start now. Your mental and physical health habits are an integral part of how you grow. You don’t want to end up in your late 20s stuck with teenage tendencies. Habits take time to implement into your daily life and often times, it is a trial and error project to figure out what works best for you and your schedule.


13. Start saving money as soon as possible. Whether it be for a rainy day or a future investment, you will never regret making it a habit to consciously save money.


14. Experience travelling. Try to give travel experiences the highest priority you possibly can and take advantages of cheap flight tickets. Traveling experiences are an investment to making unforgettable memories, learning and growing as an individual.


15. Saying “no” is okay. It is important to be a little selfish and think about how your simple “yes(es)” could be affecting your way of life poorly. As you would on an airplane: put your own oxygen mask on first, then help others around you.


16. You are enough. No one’s opinion should ever change that. “A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” ― Francis of Assisi



17. Everything truly happens for a reason. Accept these moments as they are and take everyday one step at a time.


18. Feeling lost is okay. Don’t lose hope and faith. Hold on and, slowly but surely, you will find your path again.


19. Young and wild and free! Remember to smile and live your life to the fullest because every moment in life is an opportunity to create your most extraordinary experiences and remarkable memories. “In a cookie cutter world, be a macaron” ― Anonymous


Nikki Modi

Waterloo '21

Nikki Modi is currently in the process of completing her undergrad education at the University of Waterloo. Nikki has a strong passion for both her academic and athletic life. In her spare time, she loves to work with styling/designing textiles and fabrics and she loves to strength train. Her favourite Netflix shows to binge are Avatar: The Last Airbender, Selling Sunsets, and any crime documentary that is trending at the moment. Nikki even has a blog page on her instagram all about fashion inspiration and great places to visit in Toronto! Check it out @cestmoinikki :)
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