4 Things I Would Tell My 17 Year Old Self…
Have you ever wished you could travel back in time to visit your old self, just so you can prevent your young, dumb self from making that one decision that you will regret for the rest of your life? Or how about telling your young self that you should really follow through on such-and-such a plan because if you don’t, you will end up…well, like you now, I suppose. C’mon…we’ve all felt like that, haven’t we? (No? Really? Am I the only one?)
With the onset of a new academic year, I can’t help but think about all of you 17 year old students, ready to begin your college career…you’re terrified, aren’t you? Yeah, I know. It’s hard to know what to expect now that your life is truly beginning. So, if you would indulge me for just a moment, I’d like to share some things with you that I wish I could go back and tell my 17-year old self:
1. You Don’t Know Everything: For some reason, it’s like every 17 year old feels as though they have the world figured out. I know for a fact that I was one of them…my Mom tells me on a semi-daily basis. Even now. And it’s been years. So, given how annoying that must have been for my parents, I would tell my 17-year old self to stop pretending as though I know what I’m talking about when, in actuality, I have no clue about [insert any subject here]. Someone once said, “Some people will never learn anything well because they understand everything too soon”; oh, dear little 17-year-old-PCC-Advantage, don’t let that be you! (Those are the very words I’d say to myself…) I’d tell myself to listen to those around me, and never be too anxious to speak because you will never gain any wisdom or knowledge in that manner.
2. Life Decisions Shouldn’t Be Based On Who You’re Dating: When I was in my last year of high school, I began dating an amazing guy named Mr. T*. When we started talking about the possibility of us attending the same university, I was more than a little saddened when his mom encouraged him to broaden his scope a little; to look at other schools where 17-year-old-PCC wouldn’t be in attendance. At the time, I was confused because she and I had a terrific relationship and I thought she was just trying to get me away from her son. As it turns out, she had more wisdom than I did at the time; she thought that we should explore our futures independently of each other. And you know what? She was right.
Mr. T and I split up sometime after we began our college careers. We’re now friends on Facebook and chat every 6 months or so just to catch up, and I think we’re both glad that we decided to follow his mom’s advice and go to separate schools. Our lives were so much richer and fuller for the independent experiences that we’ve had, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything! So, I’d tell my 17-year old self, “So…um…you gotta break up with that guy. He’s awesome, true, but there’s a lot of stuff that you need to do and you’ve gotta do it alone, woman!”
*Name has been changed. I wasn’t really dating Mr.T…but I was intrigued by his gold chains.
3. Start Saving Now: You do not need that new pair of shoes, nor do you need a new shirt. Or 5. Each week. Seriously, that’s ridiculous. I can’t tell you how many items of clothing or how many pairs of shoes I bought when I was 17, and my spending habits got even worse when I started working in a shoe store…and a clothing store. Honestly, money would slip right through my adolescent fingers, and a year later, I’d have nothing to show for it. So, I’d tell my young self to stop wasting money and pop the majority of the weekly pay cheque into a proper savings account. After all, as Ben Franklin said, “If you know how to spend less than you get, then you have the philosopher’s stone” (no, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t referring to Harry Potter).
4. Get Yourself Educated: As a 17-year old, I was very resistant towards continuing my education. All I wanted to do was graduate high school and join the workforce (preferably, somewhere in retail because then I could buy all the clothes and shoes I wanted for cost!), and put up quite a fight when my parents
forced me to and insisted that I strongly suggested I get a post-secondary qualification. I don’t know why I put up such a fuss because I had a blast in university! Not only that, but I also received an education that inspired me and aided me in my career development. So, I would probably say to my 17-year old self, “Hey…uh…shut up for a second. An education prepares you for life, so if you’re thinking about ending it after high school, you will be making the biggest mistake of your life”. Then my 17-year old self would have pulled out some attitude, made a scene, screamed at my current self and then tried to run away, kind of like this…
And then I’d probably punch myself in the face and drag my young self to a college campus. And you know what? In a very short amount of time, my 17-year old self would thank me.
What would you tell your 17-year old self? What wisdom have you gained over the years that you wished you knew back then? Or, if you’re currently 17 years old, what are you most afraid of or confused about regarding your future?
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Tags: College, Education, Facebook, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, humor, money, saving, school, teenager, University