When I was growing up, I didn’t think about the future. I just wanted to get good grades and keep my parents happy. But after I started college, I realized there were so many things I wish I could have shared with my younger self from what I learned after starting college that might have turned me into a different, prepared-for-life kind of girl (not that such advice or anything could really prepare you). Of course if I had followed every single one of these tips, there’d be no stories to tell. Nevertheless, here they are, things I wish I had known growing up.
1.) Have a practical pursuit and a passion pursuit. A practical pursuit like computer science will make sure you can pay the bills. A passion pursuit is your dream, something artsy you want to become that may not pay the bills right away like becoming an actress. Your practical pursuit will be your backup plan in case you don’t get your dream job right away. You can keep supporting yourself while you continue to pursue your dream job on the side until you can do your dream job full-time.
2.) Learn how to do laundry and keep your room organized and clean now. When you’re living on your own, a dirty apartment can cause health problems if for example, you let mold grow. An organized room allows you to find everything: “a place for everything and everything in its place.” And most importantly, you’ll always know where your keys are!
3.) Listen to your parents. It may not be the “cool” thing to do, and this doesn’t mean you have to obey every single thing they tell you, but make note of their advice. Write it down if you have to because their advice comes in handy later in life and it may not seem like it now, but you will appreciate it in the future.
4.) Be a good listener. It’s easy to want to talk about yourself when you’re making new friends, but listening is an invaluable skill that will help you tune in and soak up the best advice for yourself at the same time. Don’t be afraid to make friends with someone outside of your age group. It’s never too early to get good life advice.
5.) Start working on your passion early! If you do dream of doing something artsy in the future, start entering contests now or starting a YouTube channel or any platform that showcases your work. That way, you may not need to worry about a practical pursuit later.
6.) Learn at least one easy favorite recipe from your mom or dad. When you go away to college or leave home, you can cook your favorite food when you miss it or crave it and even have something to bring to a potluck if presented the opportunity.
7.) Ask questions. That’s one way to spark your curiosity and may even lead to what you want to do with the rest of your life. Learning doesn’t end in school.
8.) Quality of friends is more important than quantity of friends. It may seem like the most important thing right now to be popular, but seriously it is more beneficial to form strong bonds with a few good girls now to have that support system than to spend time getting to best friend status with every person you meet.
9.) Don’t shy away from boys. They are human just like you! Talk to them just like you would talk to any of your friends. Pay attention to them paying attention. If they look bored, change the topic or it might be a sign to end the conversation. Practice talking to them and getting to know them as people first before thinking about making them boyfriend material.
10.) Learn how to be happy being single. Getting a boyfriend at this age is not necessary. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with dating, but if you don’t find a boyfriend, it is no big deal. A relationship shouldn’t be the center of your happiness. Spend time by yourself to get to know yourself. Later on, you’ll be thankful and know exactly what you’re looking for in a partner.