Advice for 18 year olds

By Sara Beg

I was a bit of a worrier when I first started out as a college freshman, prone to stressing over every quiz like the next four years depended on that one little grade. If I could go back in time, I would give my 18 year-old self some advice that would have made things go a little bit smoother. Nothing too complicated, just a few tips, like:

1, Don’t stress so much. Yes, I know that first astronomy test was hard. I know you studied really hard and still got a D. It’s okay. A little stress is good, but this isn’t the end of the world. You should always take your studies seriously, but not so seriously that one little slip-up is going to give you palpitations. No amount of stress is worth your health. Just study a little harder next time and ask questions if you don’t understand something, and you’ll be fine as long as you keep trying.

2. Don’t give up. Just like there are going to be days where everything seems ridiculously easy, there are also going to be days where you won’t understand a word of what’s going on. Ever feel like you’re the smartest person in the room? Ever feel like the dumbest? It’s going to happen, so don’t despair, and don’t stop trying. Sure, you can give up and take the easy way out if you want, but you’ll regret it eventually. After all, how are you going to know how much you can do if you give up too quickly?

3. Change is inevitable. As you grow, you’re going to change, and your goals are likely to change with you. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. You’re likely to end up changing your major at some point, get involved in a new club, or even lose some old friends and gain new ones. Accept it; don’t be afraid of it. If you change your mind, go with it. It’s your life, your decision, so do what you want. Just make sure you’re running towards what feels right rather than away from something that you’re afraid of just because it’s new or different.

4. Don’t forget to relax, live in the moment, and have fun. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Time will fly by and graduation will be looming over your head before you know it; it’s just how time works. So make every minute count, whether you’re with friends, at work, studying, or just having lunch. Take lots of photos whenever you can, set aside some time to relax, and just have fun! I’m not saying your college years are going to be the best of your life and life can never get better, but you’ll still want some awesome memories when you graduate, instead of memories of having your nose stuck in your textbooks all the time.

5. Take care of yourself. Just like you’re going to need breaks from studying for your mental health, you’re going to have to take care of yourself physically, too. Don’t forget to eat. Even if you’re feeling lazy about it, grab a protein bar. Go to the gym, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. Exercising and eating well are surprisingly good de-stressors, and you might even find that focusing in class is just a little easier.

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