18 Things I Learned at 18

It’s no surprise that I love birthdays, whether it’s my own, a friend’s or a family member’s. At the beginning of every birthday, I like to think of the things I learned during the year that helped me grow as a person. So as the doors close on 18 and 19 brings new opportunities, here’s 18 things I learned while being 18.

1. Your best friend won’t always be your first friend

I considered myself as a floater throughout high school—I never found a group that I instantly clicked with. It wasn’t until grade 12 when I found friends that I could talk to wholeheartedly and could trust with anything. I met them pretty last minute but just because I became friends with them at the tail-end of high school doesn’t mean I don’t cherish them dearly.

2. Be patient!

When I’m studying, I hate it when I don’t understand something the first time around. I’m aiming to be more patient with myself when it comes to learning.

3. Go to more concerts!

My first concert was BTS’ Love Yourself World Tour in Hamilton and I’d love to go again! Concerts are those kinds of things that you have to experience for yourself live rather than through a video. It was so much fun being surrounded by people held the same love for BTS’ music.

4. Write more (and don’t be afraid to share your experiences)

I always loved writing but I never liked having anyone read my stuff because I felt like it was too boring to be enjoyed. Her Campus Western gave me an opportunity to have my writing shared and taking a writing course really gave me inspiration to try new styles of writing.

5. Leave bad people behind  

A lot of my time in high school was spent with the wrong people and I felt like it would have been a more enjoyable experience if I found people I connected with much earlier. I was too afraid to leave bad friendships because I thought I owed those people for befriending me in the first place.

6. Being alone is not a bad thing

A lot of people have this impression that if you’re alone you’re automatically lonely. That’s not necessarily the case for me. I’m more of an introvert so I find alone time very comforting. I learned that I don’t always need to be out with people to enjoy myself.

7. Surround yourself with people you trust

Coming to university, I found some of the greatest people I ever met. I’m glad I met my group of friends because we can talk about anything and everything together. For my first time living away from home, I found that my friends were a good outlet to talk to when anything was on my mind. I also found that I became closer to people from my high school who I never knew I’d be friends with.

8. Don’t be afraid to speak out (even when it can be hard)  

I’m super introverted so it’s no surprise that I find it difficult to speak up when something bothers me. I learned that I shouldn’t care what people think and sometimes it’s better to just say it than to not.

9. Appreciate your parents  

After coming to university, I realized how fast my life is moving. Being away from home and living on my own for the first time made me realize how much I miss my parents. I know it sounds super cheesy but I’ll always consider my parents as my best friends. It’s always nice coming home for reading week or for the weekend because I get their company again.

10. Learn how to manage friendships and school work

At the beginning of school, I found it hard to juggle school work and friendships at the same time. Over the course of the school year, I learned how to prioritize my time more efficiently so I could make time for both my work and friends. Keeping a planner and writing down due dates really helped.

11. Make time for old friends

It’s sad to say, but a lot of my high school friends ended up at different universities. At first I was afraid that I’d never see or talk to them ever again, but it never hurts to shoot a text to ask how they’re doing or facetiming once in a while.

12. It’s not selfish to choose yourself first

I always try to put others before me, but sometimes I lose sight of myself. At first I thought it was selfish to choose my own needs over others but then I realized that I need to take care of myself just as much as I take care of others.

13. Crying doesn’t make you weak

We’ve all been told before not to be a cry baby or to just suck it up but sometimes you can’t. Whenever something is stressing me out or making me upset, I find it better to just cry and let it out rather than bottling it up.

14. Talk about your feelings

Before I felt really annoying anytime I spoke about my feelings but  like number 13, sometimes it’s better to just let it out. Talking to my parents or my friends really helps me release any pent up thoughts that I need to let out. Getting advice or any validation also helps the situation.

15. You don’t need to be your sibling to be successful

For pretty much all my life (and even now) I looked up to my older brother. But sometimes it comes to the point where you need to realize that you need to strive to be your own person and not someone else. Find your own goals and achieve what you want to achieve.

16. Kombucha is the superior beverage

Some people hate it because of the vinegar smell or the weird after taste but I LOVE kombucha. I became addicted to kombucha and I think everyone should try it at least once.

17. Learn what time to study works best for you

Everyone says studying in the morning is best but I’m the complete opposite. I’m more of a night owl so staying up late and working until 5am is more my speed than waking up bright and early.

18. Reading > Netflix

A controversial opinion, but I found that I like to read more than watching TV or movies. I used to be the type of person that could grind an entire series in one day but now I just don’t have the patience to watch TV. I’m more of a sucker for good writing and I find that books make me feel more than movies do.

As I turn 19, I hope to become smarter, wiser and a better person. Birthdays are not only a time to celebrate a new age but to also reflect on where you came from and look at where you’re going.

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