2016 might have been the same 12 month-long year as every other one, but boy has it felt like much longer. This year has been full of ups and downs, and I for one am very, very ready for it to be over. I have learned a lot of things this year, both about myself and about life in general, that I will take with me to 2017. Here are some of the lessons that this year has taught me:
1. Karma’s a bitch: I made this the first one on my list because it’s the biggest lesson I learned this year. Be careful of your actions and how you treat others, because karma will always come back to bite you.
2. Good friends are invaluable: 2016 has been a rough year, but the one thing that I have been able to count on through it all is the wonderful support system I have: my friends. Having reliable friends who care about you and are always there for you is so rare and important; never let go of that if you’re lucky enough to have it.
3. Your grades are important: I used to be the kind to put everything off (I still do procrastinate a lot, that hasn’t changed too much) and then at the end, just not even finish my work sometimes. I’ve been learning though that your grades really are important. The party that you go to instead of turning in that assignment before midnight? Sure, you’ll have a good time, but it won’t be worth it when you check your grades and your percentage has dropped by 4% because of that 0.
4. Don’t let others tell you what to do: it’s hard to not care about what others think or the advice they give you, but don’t let the people around you influence you in any way. Be your own person, make your own choices.
5. It’s really easy to spend money, but a lot harder to earn it: Living alone, without parents around or a meal plan to count on, I’ve realized just how easy it is to spend money. One minute, you have a four-figure bank balance, the next, it’ll be at 86 cents. Learn to be smart about money, because as easy as it is to let go of it, it’s ten times as hard to earn.
6. Always think before you act: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Newton wasn’t wrong when he said this. There is always a reaction, or a consequence, so keep that in mind before anything.
7. Put yourself first: You don’t always have to be selfish, but it also does not hurt to think about yourself every now and then. Help others, be there for them, but don’t always put others first and hurt yourself in the process.
8. Listen to your parents: This one isn’t necessarily ALWAYS something you have to do, but there are times when your elders really do know what’s best. It’s hard to let our ego go sometimes and take advice from others, especially from parents, but every now and then, it’s worth it.
9. Make sure you have a “person”: Always have a person you can trust and talk to. Whether it’s a family member, a best friend, or a significant other, it’s so important to have that person you can open up to.
10. Self-confidence is important: No one else will believe in you until you believe in yourself. Sounds cliche, I know. But it’s true. Self-confidence is so important for every single thing you do in life, and it is the first step to success.
11. Never put your life on hold for someone else: you might really love your college boyfriend or the best friend you’ve known since middle school, but do not stop yourself from growing and being successful because someone else is holding you back. Do not stick around waiting for someone who may or may not come back, because at the end of the day, that hurts you and only you.
12. It is usually the people you’re closest to that tend to hurt you.
13. Your mental health is important: We’re constantly stressed out, with so many things happening in our lives. This tends to affect us mentally and emotionally, but do not let it get to the point where you bottle everything up and eventually burst. Your mental health is as important as your physical health, so know when to take a break and put aside time for yourself.
14. It isn’t always possible to fix things: As humans, we tend to screw up a lot in life – especially when it comes to the relationships we have with other people. Usually, a simple “I’m sorry” or an apology gift will make it alright again, but this isn’t always the case. You cannot always mend it and move on, no matter how badly you might want to make amends. Learn when to let go and give up.
15. Always tell the truth: T his is a sort of obvious one, but it is a lesson that really hit me hard this year; lying about something will always come back to bite you. Once you tell one lie, you’ll eventually have to tell ten more to support it, and eventually, you’ll end up caught in a web of lies.
16. Learn from your mistakes: For years now, I have always had a quote that I go by: “No regrets, just lessons learned.” This still stands for me. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get it tattooed on me one day. We all make mistakes. I know I have made more this year than ever before. Instead of pouting and over thinking that, it for the rest of your life, learn from it and teach yourself how not to make the same mistake again.