Tag: advice

15 Things I’ve Learned in 15 Years

I worked pretty hard brainstorming, so here is my well thought-out list:

  1. Take care of your mind. Your mental health is important. Hard work is important too, but reaching burnout is unpleasant and dangerous. Taking a break by exercising, listening to music, or sleeping consistently; any of these can help you get back on your feet and return to work healthier and stronger than ever. 
  2. Read books. Lots of them. Experiences and life circumstances will hit you in life and leave you thinking and questioning. Savor that curiosity and use it as your fuel to search for answers to your own life’s questions in books.
  3. Surround yourself with good, positive, confident people; their behaviors will inevitably rub off of you. When you need to detach yourself from toxic people, do so and do not regret that decision. 
  4. Bad experiences may be hell in the moment, but learning from them, becoming stronger and smarter, and setting strong boundaries will be the greatest feeling ever after you’ve succeeded. 
  5. Work hard in the face of adversity. “It gets better” is an overused statement, but it is so true. 
  6. Focus on yourself by blocking out your surroundings, but also listen to the world around you. That perfect balance between inner and outer focus is how you become self-aware. 
  7. Learn to not care. Choose your battles wisely. Whether it’s a life circumstance that isn’t your fault, a nasty friend, family member, or teacher trying to hold you back, do not care too much. If you let these negative things in your life hold you back from focusing on your own goals, you will never succeed in life. 
  8. Life isn’t fair. Because there will always be someone better than you or someone who gets something that you believe you deserve more, you have to accept that life isn’t fair and it isn’t supposed to be fair
  9. Humans are inherently selfish and do things for themselves. Beware of manipulation.
  10. Celebrate change. It usually means you’re growing—just make sure it isn’t bad change. Some people won’t like the new you, but if you think you’ve improved, then celebrate it. 
  11. Never become complacent or comfortable with life the way it is. That hinders ambition. Happiness is overrated. In my eyes, happiness equals complacency. Stress, be criticized, be pressured, but never too much. 
  12. Sincerity always wins over words
  13. Experience matters more than age. 
  14. Being a good person stands out more than a prestigious college degree. Be different and be a leader; do not follow. 
  15. Don’t let people define you if they don’t know you. If they can’t treat you like a worthwhile person, they don’t deserve you, period. 
Hearing “You’ve Changed.”

Hearing “You’ve Changed.”

“You’ve changed.”

How many times have you heard that phrase? What does it mean? Is it a good or bad thing? As a young kid, upon hearing this phrase several times in my freshman year of high school, I was perplexed. I questioned it and pondered its connotations regarding my development. As a student in high school, I know that change is inevitable and imminent during my time in school. My freshman year has been very formative and I have been changing at a very rapid pace; I’ve assimilated into various friendship groups, participated in sports, was a solo instrument player, and my overall personality underwent a complete transformation from middle school. I wasn’t sure whether these changes were “normal” during the high school transition. My grades also dropped slightly when I entered high school—when this first happened, a myriad of questions stormed through my brain: was I less focused? Was I never truly prepared in middle school? Was all that middle school praise insincere? Have I been mediocre my entire life and just never thought about it?

Coming to think about it a while later, change is simply a representation of growth; not only physically, but socially, emotionally, and intellectually. As we meander through life, we experience events that anger us and excite us. The product is our character and personality. As we meet new friends and try to fit in, our personalities change. As we establish and maintain boundaries, we may not appear as sweet or kind as we used to be. Although we should strive to be kind, we all have limits and that’s something I struggled with in middle school. The anger and resentment that emerges from those events when we let people take advantage of us and cross our boundaries are the best experiences to learn from.

In middle school, I was the shy, insecure girl. I suffered endless panic attacks, my face went burning red whenever I stepped in front of a crowd, I often refused to make eye contact in the halls and was scared away by authority. I barely spoke to anybody. I didn’t have too many friends, but many acquaintances. I had a crazy fear of being judged. It wasn’t until I discovered my passion for playing the violin that maybe that’s what I wanted to pursue—it was the one thing I was confident in. So I continued that in high school and I do not regret it. It helped a lot with confidence—and so did running and sports. You meet amazing friends through these experiences. As a result, I enjoy high school much more than I ever enjoyed middle school. The competitive atmosphere and challenging academics become a humbling experience that encourage you to work harder as you recognize progress in the journey. And coming out of adversity as a better person (which takes months of hard work and good relationships) becomes the most exhilarating, amazing feeling in the world. For the strong fighters out there, “it gets better” is quite cliché—but no phrase rings with more truth—it takes time.

Honestly, I don’t think change should be taken as a bad thing unless it involves self destructive behavior—in my case and others I know, most people are simply growing and learning. Some people around you—family members or friends—may not like it or it may take time to get used to these changes. And that’s okay—it isn’t always bad—but healthy relationships should be accepting of good change and growth.

Feel free to let me know what you think of change in the comments below. Whether it be an account of your experiences or comments on mine or others, write anything because I love to hear you guys’ thoughts! They matter a lot to me and I will try my best to respond.