A window inside life at Augustana College

Reflections on My Last Day of Being a Teenager

Happy Monday, everyone!

Tomorrow is December 10, 2013, which happens to be my 20th birthday! I’ve been asked the same question by a lot of people today: “How does it feel knowing that today is your last day of being a teenager?” Honestly, it feels the same as any other day. Maybe it’s because we’re in the middle of winter term and I’m busy with classes, OKT, and preparing to travel to Japan. Tomorrow, I will have been on this planet for two decades, but it doesn’t feel any different.

Looking back on my teenage years, however, I realize that I’ve learned a lot. Whether it’s life, relationships, school, or anything else, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge between the ages of thirteen and nineteen. As the title suggests, I’d like to share my reflections with you. I’ll have twenty reflections to celebrate every year that I’ve been alive, so here we go!

  1. Everyone has an awkward phase. Everyone. Sometimes that phase goes on longer (perhaps much longer) than we’d like, but it’s universal.
  2. In the time that you took to panic about how you’ll never ever get that project done, you could have made some serious progress. Take a deep breath and just do the work!
  3. College is a time of exploration. Take a class about something you’ve always been interested in. I’ve never taken dance lessons, but I took ballet in the fall just for fun and fell in love with it. You never know what’ll happen if you don’t take the chance!
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is always someone who can help you, no matter what that help might entail.
  5. Honesty is the best policy. Even if the truth might end up hurting someone, it’s always easier than keeping up a lie for an unspecified amount of time.
  6. Go read a book. If you think you can’t read or there isn’t a book that you like, challenge yourself to find one.
  7. There is no shame in taking pictures of yourself if you think you look good. It doesn’t make you vain or self-centered. Celebrate, you beautiful person!
  8. On that topic, everyone is beautiful. Yes, even you. Go write down five things you love about yourself. Done? Now write five more. I know you can do it.
  9. Call your mom/dad/grandma/sibling/whoever is important to you on a regular basis. My grandma gets so happy when I call her, you’d think she just won the lottery.
  10. If someone wants to nag you for majoring in something like underwater basket weaving, ignore them. You’re in college to study what you love, even if it’s something unconventional like underwater basket weaving. That person had their chance (or will have their chance) to go to college, and this is your time.
  11. You will fall in love and get your heart broken. You will wonder how the world can keep spinning after you and your significant other just went through the most painful breakup ever. You will find someone even better. It’s a fact.
  12. Open up a savings account. Put money in that sucker on a regular basis. Now, don’t touch it. You’ll thank me later.
  13. Learn how to cook. You don’t want to be living alone at 23 and having nothing but microwavable food for every meal.
  14. To borrow from Winnie the Pooh, you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
  15. Pets are the best therapists. Even if you just have a hamster, you know how wonderful it is to have a pet you can complain to. They can’t understand you, which means that they’re the best secret keepers.
  16. Learn how to spell without spell check. Self-explanatory.
  17. Find a teacher or professor that you trust, whether it’s for talking about papers or parents. They’re more than just walking letters of recommendation.
  18. Think before you open your mouth. You don’t want past words coming back to haunt you. This goes for posting online.
  19. Develop a routine and get organized. A lot of my past anxiety came from a lack of routine and poor time management skills. If you find yourself unable to focus on a paper, look at your desk? Is there clutter everywhere? Maybe cleaning up the space will help with your focus.
  20. Finally, don’t be afraid to love yourself. People always say that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. It’s cliche, but it’s true!

There you have it! Twenty reflections for twenty years. What valuable things have you learned that you’d like to share with others? Let me know in the comments!

One Response to “Reflections on My Last Day of Being a Teenager”

  1. Well done, so here’s mine: Learn to enjoy spending time by yourself now and then without looking at your phone every 2 minutes. Take a 30-minute walk and avoid the temptation to plug in to your phone for music…

Leave a Reply