Five things I wish I could tell my 18-year-old self

October 10, 2016
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The year you turn 18 and leave high school is a crazy time, marked by so many changes in your life. At this age, you have to make so many decisions that affect your future, which can be overwhelming AF. My 18-year-olf self was so much more optimistic and naïve as to what was to come. While I’m glad I wasn’t a broken down cynic at that point, these are the pieces of advice I would give myself (and to any 18 year-olds out there) knowing what I know now.

Don’t feel forced to choose a degree just because you got the marks for it

Got a good mark to get into uni? Good for you! That doesn’t mean you have to do what everyone else with the same mark is doing. If you’ve always wanted to be a teacher but you got marks good enough for law or medicine, don’t do it just because you think you have to. Don’t feel like you’re wasting that magic number you worked so hard for by choosing a degree with a lower cut-off grade. The important things is you should pursue what you’re truly passionate about. If you’re doing something because you think others expect you to, you’ll end up being miserable.

You get a fresh start at uni

For most of you, you’ll leave high school and never see most of your graduating class again. You’ll start classes at uni with a room full of strangers and whatever you were in high school will become irrelevant. High school popularity ceases to matter and life gets so much better because of it. You have a clean slate and you can make friends with anyone and everyone, so make the most of it.

You’ll lose friends, but you’ll gain new friends

It might be hard to accept now, but it’s natural that you won’t always see eye to eye with people you were close to in high school. The years that follow your 18th birthday and into your 20s will bring about a lot of change as everyone goes their separate ways. You don’t have to cling onto that idea of staying close with your “group” in high school. Branching out will be the best thing you do.

As you start uni, you’ll find a lot of like-minded people doing your degree and there will be so many chances to make new friends. And while it may seem like it’s better to have a large group of friends, you should always choose quality over quantity. Having more friends in your life won’t make you happier – it’s the close friendships with a smaller circle of friends that will enrich your life.

Don’t be in such a rush to grow up

The adult life might sound appealing, but there’s plenty of time for that later. Your teenage years are coming to an end, so you should make the most of that lack of responsibility while you have the chance. If you don’t have to move out, live at home with your parents for a little longer. Save money, do a Contiki tour and see the world. Get drunk, be silly and enjoy all the things you can only get away with while you’re still a teen.

Things won’t work out as you’ve planned and that’s OK

It’s easy when you’re 18 to make all these grand plans for the next three years of your life and beyond. You’ll find the right degree, get amazing marks and land your dream job by the age of 21, right? But it’s not always so simple and everyone has different hurdles along the way.

For some of you, you might have known what career you wanted to pursue for years, only to start uni and discover you’re not so sure any more. You might have scored amazing marks in high school, but now you’re only landing Ps. Some of you might get through your degree and struggle to find a job or you’ll land a job and figure out it’s not right for you. At some point you’re bound to feel a bit lost, but you won’t be the only one.

Even though it’s not what you imagined, there’s nothing wrong with making changes at any point in your life. If you work hard, remain open-minded and accept change, the alternate path will be a lot easier.