I am a 26 year old college student who works part time jobs to make ends meet. There are many things I would like to tell myself at 15 if only I could go back in time. The following are the top 10 things I would tell my 15 year old self.
#10. Don’t Waste Time on Pointless Relationships
Trust your true feelings. If you know something will not work out in the long term then it is time to cut it loose. I spent a year in a relationship where I knew early on it would not work out, but to avoid conflict I stayed in the relationship. Relationships come and go, trust your gut and move on when it is beyond repair or simply not worth pursuing.
#9. Play Sports/Choir/Band/Drama
Being part of a team is a great experience, fun, a resume’ builder, and a great way to make friends. I regret not playing sports throughout my high school years. It is important to try a few different activities such as choir and a sport or any other combination. Stay busy and have fun.
#8. Branch Out
Cliques are a large part of high school, don’t become dependent on one group of friends and people that are all exactly alike. Branch out and get to know a lot of people of all kinds. This will help when you have to work with real people and you will gain the skill of getting along with everyone. Also this helps with not talking badly about your peers as you can see how life is among several groups of people.
#7. Community College Isn’t Such a Bad Idea
While everyone told me to attend a community college instead of a larger university, I had a negative opinion of community college and went to a university instead. Two years later I was in a community college and regretted my initial decision. Community college is a great choice for starting out school because not only is it less expensive, the professors are often more qualified than the teacher assistants that will frequently teach many of your classes the first couple years in a larger public university. Getting an Associates Degree is much better than dropping out of college after two or three years.
#6. An Education is Worth It
I did pursue higher education and knew that I would while attending high school, but I did not give it the respect it deserves. Instead of learning in classes I worked just hard enough to pass each class with a solid grade and occupied the rest of my time with worthless things like video games and television. If I could tell my 15 year old self to study hard and to take school seriously, I would be a much better person today.
#5. Gain Skills and Experience
Just because you’re 15 doesn’t mean that you can’t start preparing for your future career. Many people, like myself don’t know what career path they will follow yet, so I refrained from learning a variety of different trades and occupations. I never learned simple things like how to work on cars, change a tire, and many other skills that I should have sought out to learn during my teenage years.
#4. Get Involved
This ties in somewhat with playing sports and other activities. There were many opportunities I missed out on including spending time with charities, joining clubs, competing in school based competitions, quiz bowls, etc. Joining several clubs in school and seeking programs in the community are a great way to develop yourself as an adult and help others. I see now that I should have taken the time and participated much more to build lasting connections and to make a difference.
#3. College is Expensive, No, Really Expensive!
You can never save enough for college. After a lot of unexpected events in my life I am now in my 8th year of college. Instead of saving for college I relied on scholarships that have diminished and gone away over the last few years. A savings account is always a great idea when you’re young, and if you get a full ride scholarship to college then you can use that money later on.
#2. Grammar & Penmanship
Nothing bothers me more than my terrible penmanship and the struggle I had with grammar even into my early twenties. I was somehow able to get through the public school system without proper grammar skills. While taking college level English classes I learned greater grammar skills but still lack readable penmanship. Working as a bank teller, at a hotel, and several other places, I now wish I could tell my younger self how important these two seemingly simple skills are.
#1. Don’t Judge Others
There is no better advice I could give to my 15 year old self than to be open minded and to not judge anyone by their looks or even on a first impression. Too many times in my life I have missed opportunities for friendships and relationships by stereotypes and views of people that turned out not to be true. Do not judge anyone based on age, sex, religion, height, weight, race, disabilities, sexual orientation, how they dress, etc. I am happy to be this way now, but would have had a better life and made other people’s lives better as well if I could’ve taken this to heart at 15.