9 Things You'll Learn by the Time You're 19 ...

There are a lot of things you’ll learn by the time you’re 19. Some are important, like learning to work hard, no matter where you are in life, while others are not so major, such as remembering to turn the lights off before leaving home. Whether you’re 16 or 33, whether you’re learning or looking back, these things you’ll learn by the time you’re 19 will hopefully help you out.

1. Things Will Change

This is one of the most important things you’ll learn by the time you’re 19. Once you’ve reached 19, you can truly understand that things will always change. You’re through the post-high school adjustment, and have probably already dealt with a lot of change in the past year alone. You’ve probably gained a few friends, but you’ve also probably lost a few friends. Accept it. I specifically remember, a few months before graduating high school, someone I considered one of my best friends ranting that her family member told her she wouldn’t have any of the same friends post-high school. “Of course we’ll all stay friends!” We didn’t. Things change. Learn to accept it.

2. School Still Matters

When I started college, everyone and their mother told me that grades didn’t matter. As someone who had spent her entire school life obsessed with grades, this was a huge relief. It’s not true, though. Your grades still matter. Yes, you won’t exactly have a transcript of every assignment and test pulled out at your first job interview post-college, but most majors have a minimum GPA to get into their school, and you can’t completely fail out of your university in the first place.

3. You Can Rid Yourself of Negativity

One of the most important things I’ve learned, especially in the past year, is that you can rid yourself of the negative people in your life. You’re not forced to see the same people everyday like you are in high school. If you don’t like the influence someone has on your life, just stop talking to her. It really is that easy.

4. You Will Make Mistakes

This is especially important if you’re a perfectionist. It is okay to make mistakes. Rather than completely fall apart when you make a mistake, especially a big one, embrace it. Try to learn something from it, and don’t make the same mistake again.

5. Enjoy Your Time off

Sure, you’ve had months and months of time off to do whatever you please as a child. However, the end of this free time is almost in sight. Soon, you won’t have long weekends, late mornings, and three or four months off between semesters. Enjoy the time off while you still have it, don’t regret that you didn’t appreciate it a few years from now.

6. But Work Hard

That being said, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work hard. Work towards a goal. Whether or not you’re getting a college degree doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be working hard to accomplish something professionally. A college degree doesn’t guarantee success, so start working for it.

7. Stop Worrying about Defining Yourself

My entire first year of college, I spent way too much time trying to define who I really was. Stop worrying about who you are and just be. If you’re trying to pick a major, don’t actively search, because you’ll find something. If you feel lost after high school, don’t try to redefine yourself, just live, and you’ll find whatever you’re looking for.

8. Enjoy 19

I will admit that I am the biggest culprit of this. I tell people I’m 20 so often that I can’t remember the last time I actually told people I’m 19. This is your last year as a teenager. Embrace it; don’t try to grow up any faster than you need to. Ten or twenty years down the road you’ll be wishing you had enjoyed your teenage years.

9. Your Friends Will Become Your Family

We’ve all seen Friends, and we’ve all seen How I Met Your Mother. Your friends will become your family in between the time that your family’s at home and you haven’t settled down yet. Pick some good ones.

What’s some advice you’d give to your nineteen-year-old self?