I graduated from college with three degrees, and it still does not feel real for me yet. To celebrate how far I have come, I thought I would make a list of all the things I have learned the last four years. My birthday is also coming up, May 20th. So, here is a list of 22 things I have learned the past four years, since I am turning 22.

  1. The past is the past. It’s ok to recognize those struggles, but don’t let that define who you are. You are whoever you want and strive to be.
  2. Being happy is not something you simply choose to be. People will lecture you on that by saying “just be happy,” but they’re wrong. They don’t know your mind. If you can’t find it in you to be happy, then that is ok. It will come one day, but you don’t have to be this every second of your life.
  3. However, just remember that that pain won’t last forever. Give it a few days, or weeks, or even months, but eventually there is this random ray of color that pushes into your life, and you will feel nothing but happiness for the days following. That moment will come. Stay Strong.
  4. Don’t let other people’s words define you.
  5. Things are going to happen in this world that will shake you. There is not much you can do to stop it, and I know that sounds so depressing, but all you can do now is be the best person you can be. You will thank yourself later. Do what you think is right for the person you wish to be. Do you want to be the person who curses people out when they cut you off in traffic or the one who just moves on and enjoys Miley Cyrus songs that play on the radio.
  6. If you do literally everything you can for other people’s benefit, you will end up with nothing. Take a step back. Breathe, and do something for yourself. Burnout is very real when you work in the healthcare field like I do.
  7. Try something that makes you uncomfortable. It’s the one thing that is holding you back right now. Push through that feeling and on the other side there is that life you are searching for.
  8. He will be begging for your attention in a few years.
  9. Speaking of heartbreak, you will learn the best lesson by going through this breakup. Right now it feels pretty crappy, but give it time. Once you get past that first part, you will feel totally at peace, because you are going to realize how ok you are with yourself. The best lesson is that you are your own best friend.  Being single and introverted is so wonderful.
  10. It is ok to ask for help when you are down. Your whole life you have spent fixing your flaws by yourself. Ask for help. There is nothing stupid about asking for help. In fact there is more strength in it than weaknesses.
  11. Stand up for yourself. People are going to enter your life and blame you for all the tiny problems they can’t fix themselves. You can choose to stand there and take it, or you can tell them what’s what. In the end I have found that speaking my mind has better lasting effects than letting someone walk all over me with their arrogance.
  12. Write. Just keep writing. Let’s make something of this passion, yeah? Finish that book, write that poem you have on repeat in your head. Start that blog! It will trigger creativity you never thought you had in you.
  13. Slow down. You always work at 110% when you don’t need to work that hard. You have the rest of your life to work. Take a break and enjoy the sun outside.
  14. Study more. High school is easy, because it isn’t really school but a place you are stuck in for a couple years before you enter the real world. College is a lot harder and you will find that out soon enough. Now would be a great time to get into the habit of managing time and studying techniques.
  15. Don’t doubt yourself. If you feel like the thing you want to do is so risky, just do your research first. Really think about the reality of doing this thing, and try not to over-exaggerate your thoughts on it. You can do it if you put effort into the thing you want to accomplish. Just believe in yourself, because you are awesome-sauce.
  16. Wear whatever you want. Who cares what people think is clothing or not.
  17. What you put into something you will get out of it. Work = work. Effort = results.
  18. Now that I actually finished all that college work, I see now that the relationships I have made these past years I remember a lot more than the work I did in class.
  19. Money is not the center of everything. While it still controls a lot of your life – student loans, bills, insurance – that does not mean that you need to major in the subject that will result in the highest salary five years from now when you get out of college. If you like it, do it. If you can’t do it just yet, make it happen.
  20. Life is a lot less stressful when you can just throw all your belongings into the trunk of your car and not have to worry about packing everything. Why do we have so much crap in our room. Just get rid of it. You don’t need 20 pairs of black leggings.
  21. Don’t take people for granted. Everyone has a purpose. Everyone has a reason for entering your life.
  22. Life does not get easier after high school like everyone says it does. In fact, I feel like life got harder after high school. But one thing that is true, is that I became a stronger person after high school. I learned things and I grew from them. So when the struggles came into my life, I knew how to kick them away. Life gets harder, but you become an eve stronger person, one that can handle those problems with ease.

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