Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Talk With my 18 Year Old Self

As my 10 year high school reunion quickly approaches, I've been thinking back to that time, 10 years ago when I was preparing to graduate from high school and go to college. Like most people who lived in Pine Bluff, and were going to UAPB, I thought that I would do a semester or two there, and then transfer to a "better" school. lol But I'm so glad that I was wrong about that. I met some of the most beautiful people while in college and formed some everlasting bonds that are very close to my heart. But there is so much that I wish I knew then, that I know now. I didn't have sisters that I was close with to kind of show me certain things, and although I have a GREAT mother, there are some things that she just didn't get to experience at my age to tell me about. So I just kind of did things my way. I am a very logical and responsible person, so I had a pretty smooth transition from high school to college, but there are some things that I wish I had someone tell me during that time. So here's some advice that my 18 year old self needed to hear.

1. Slow down You don't have to attend every event on campus. There are going to be people that notice you, but give them a chance to miss you. Don't be one of those people that are everywhere. It may not seem like it, but you will be noticed more when you aren't always around.

2. Pay attention Watch people that you admire. Don't stalk them (lol) but pay attention to the qualities that you admire most about them, and mimic them in your own way. You think this teacher is well respected? Why is that? This will help you build character and will become very beneficial once you enter the real world.

3. Network Get involved in more student organizations/events that will allow you exposure to working and hiring professionals. This is especially important in your area of concentration. This will help you to build confidence when speaking to those hiring managers in the future. Believe it or not, it will help get rid of those interview jitters! Another important aspect of networking is finding a group of people to hang with that share your interests. College will be one of the last places where you are surrounded by people with as many common interests as you. Take advantage of it!

4. Shut Up and Listen In class instead of facebooking and texting, listen to the professors and class discussions. Some of the most valuable information that you will receive will come from listening to the shared experiences of teachers and students. Not all class conversations will be related to the subject. Professors' "real world' experiences will help you more than you realize.

5. Let the Boys Be Boys College is the time for exploration. Not many are trying to be in monogamous relationships or be completely committed to anyone, which is OK. This is the best time for you to find out what it is you want (and DON'T want) so that you can make better choices in choosing a mate, as well as, what you will and won't settle for in the future. Don't get too caught up in appearances and reputations, for that is meaningless when it comes to what will best suit you when its time for a relationship. Also, hold out on giving up the cookie. That brings in complicated feelings that change situations from what they could be if sex is withheld. If he cant wait, GOOD, he just saved you a headache! College is the best place to meet a potential husband. Don't waste time on people who don't deserve it!

This is just a short list of some things I could think of at the moment. What are some things that you would tell your 17/18 year old self? It may be too late for us, but we can always help a real life 18 year old and guide them along the way. I have 18 year old twin nieces that I talk to all the time about things that they will experience....I just hope they listen.

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