And so another academic year starts, only now my days of heading back through those automatic doors are long gone.
If you knew me during my school, college and University days you’ll know I was very much focused on my studies. I wouldn’t put a foot out of place, all work would be handed in on time and I tried my very best to achieve the top marks.
Many say that your years in education are some of your best. I can honestly say mine were enjoyable from Year 10 onwards. The years prior I was extremely unhappy and had very little expectations of my capability. Being able to take control of my studies and select subjects I excelled at and enjoyed took me on a journey with many twists and turns. One which I would not be where I am now without all the varied experiences I’ve had.
Even so, I often find myself wishing I could tell my younger self things about how life really works, about what’s real and true.
Here are my top 10 lessons I’ve learnt and wish I could tell my younger self:
- You don’t have to be the best in the class to be successful
As rewarding as it feels to achieve the very best grades and collect all those exam certificates, it’s not the only measure of success. Despite what it felt like growing up, being the first to hand in your homework, being popular and being top of the class isn’t the most important thing in the world. Some people’s fotre is performing well under pressure in an exam hall whilst others is completing a physical assessment. Don’t worry about the person next to you and don’t compare yourself to others. If anything let them inspire you and embrace your differences.
2. Mistakes are a good thing
I can’t stress enough how important it is to make mistakes. Make as many a you like but don’t judge yourself or let them hold you back. Learn fro them and reflect on it. Sometimes you’ll find that mistakes can lead you to much better places and greater opportunities which you would never have discovered.
3. Stop trying to blend in and adjust your appearance to match
There is SO much pressure at school nowadays to fit in and we do some crazy, stupid things to achieve a certain ‘ideal’. Your natural hair colour is beautiful, your skin is with you for life, fashion comes and goes, and your unique features and personality are what make you, you.
4. Life is short
Promise yourself that you’re going to look back on your life and you’re going to smile and know there’s nothing more you could have given. Life is so short and so uncertain so don’t waste any moment of it unhappy. Pursue what excites you or something you’ve always dreamed about. Now is our chance, so go and do it!
5. Create the strongest YOU possible
Priorities what makes you happy. You’ll never have a strong relationship with anyone unless you have a healthy one with yourself.
6. Chill out and let go
Don’t take yourself so seriously all the time. Laugh. Often. Be sure to laugh from your belly whenever possible, letting the tears run down your cheeks and making your jaw ache.
7. Be curious
Try new things. Push yourself and strive for something that stretches you. Do something that mentally and physically challenges you.
8. Not every decision decides the rest of your days
Every time I faced a choice of whether to accept a new job, stay in a relationship, even move to a new tow, I built it up to believe that this was a definitive, life altering moment. And whilst that may be true to one extent, as each choice you make does add up to the life that you live, I wish I could go back in time and tel myself that this decision doesn’t decipher the rest of your days. There is option to reroute.
9. Be grateful of human interaction
Existing in a world which revolves around growing technology can sometimes make things hard when it comes to having a normal conversation. Make the most of and make room for less-technology in your life. Put your phones away when you’re out with friends having dinner, go to places where there is no 4G and you have to use an actual map to navigate your way.
10. Be happy
I’m still not 100% certain what makes me happy, I guess it comes through trial and error, through a few of those mistakes I was talking about earlier and through throwing yourself in at the deep end. Once you stumble across what makes you happy, hold onto it and grow on it.