I’ve been reflecting on this particular post for a while because I didn’t know how cheesy I needed to be. However, I finally took this seriously and I’m taking it a bit farther. My oldest niece is graduating High School this month and is getting ready for college. So, I decided to dedicate this post to her. I guess it really should read:
10 things I want to tell my 18 yr old niece.
1. STUDY HARDER: I remember the last few months of my senior year. I slacked off knowing I was already going to graduate. I had good grades so was there any reason to keep studying hard when I was practically done? The answer is YES! I should have pushed through and did my best because honestly, that attitude carries through college. I didn’t take my 1 class at the University of Utah seriously and I failed it! It was that moment I realised that college wasn’t for me. Maybe if I had applied myself, I would have enjoyed my class and kept with it. That study hard mentality will serve you well.. not just in school but also when you enter the real world.
2. CARE ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE: I absolutely did not care at all what I looked like in High School. I was there to learn… not attract attention. I still stand by that motto BUT… I should have put effort into my appearance. Try different make up trends and find what suits you best. Have fun with your hair: braids, pony tails, buns… do it all. Suck it up and hit the mall! I hated going clothes shopping because I could never find anything to fit me. I stuck with jeans, baggy shirts. Every once in a while, I sported a dress or blazer but for the most part I just wore whatever I wanted. As much as I loved that I had my own “style” and I didn’t care what anyone thought, I should have known better and at least paid attention to trends and tried them.
3. BE ACTIVE- PHYSICALLY AND SOCIALLY: That first year away from home is probably the hardest. New routine, schedule, friends.. and the Freshman 15! I got a job at a Department Store in the Candy/Bakery department. Needless to say, we (my sister, her family and I) gained plenty of weight. I would come home with day old pastries (hello eclairs!) and we love to eat so there were lots of heavy heavy meals. We always talked about the need for exercise but it never happened. DO NOT LET YOURSELF GO. Whatever physical activity you’re doing now KEEP DOING IT. Don’t get too busy that you no longer have time. Socially- be involved. Join clubs at school, seek out friends who like the same things as you. Stay active in church. Go to activities, do your RS teaching, go to FHE. Don’t let that “new person” feeling get you down. I know that it may feel like no one talked to you on your first day but keep going. Stay with it.
4. FIND YOUR PASSION… OR TWO(aka.. have a back up plan): Now is the time to start thinking about what you want to do. I really wanted to study Journalism. I wanted to write for the church news/magazines. I enjoyed writing. One day I was told to go into Nursing because “it doesn’t matter what you look like, you’ll always have a job”. The fact that I was discouraged from what I really wanted to do was a blow to my self esteem. I didn’t want to go into Broadcasting but I felt like I wasn’t good enough to even try. So I settled. I DID NOT go into Nursing because I DID NOT WANT TO. That was not my passion. I did go into the medical profession and I loved it. Unfortunately living in Italy, my career doesn’t exist here. I don’t have a back up plan. I wish someone would have said, “Hey.. don’t give up. You should major (or minor) in English. You could still be a journalist as a copy editor!” That English degree would be so useful now. I could carry that over and get a real teaching job here.
5. LEARN A CRAFT: So this may sound kinda old fashioned but seriously it could serve you well. Learn something fun. Crochet, Knitting, Sewing,Calligraphy etc… I had a roommate who sewed and made her own Wedding dress and I have so many friends who make their own clothes. Knitting and Crochet might sound kinda granny-like but do you know how many cute scarves, hats, and blankets you could make? It’s also very calming. I’m just now learning and it’s so relaxing and I really do love it!
6. BE INDEPENDENT: (aka DIY TIME!) One thing I carried with me from how was learning to cook. I learned from my parents and when I lived with my sister we cooked all of the time. So when it was time for me to live with roommates, I had no problem. I knew how to make things besides sandwiches and cookies. This is the time to start finding that one signature dish. Also, it’s not a bad idea to learn some basic home repairs/car repairs. Not necessarily how to remodel a bathroom but, learn the trick to unclog a sink. Do you know what a fuse box is and what it’s for? Can you check the fluids in your car? I knew a girl who changed the brake pads on her car! You know how much money she saved?!?!
7. SERVE OTHERS AND SERVE OFTEN: This also goes along with the Be active advice. Make sure you involve yourself with a group that serves the community. If you don’t, please at least… try to do your share. See trash, pick it up. Help an old lady cross the street. Open doors for people. While I’m at it… DO YOUR VISITING TEACHING!! Especially during this time of transition. I’ll never forget the time my visiting teachers came to my door. They brought a plate of cookies.. nothing special but what they said has stayed with me. They said, “We were making cookies and we just wanted to bring them to one of the most beautiful girls we know.” I think I was having a rough time and I know they were prompted to visit me. I really needed a pick me up and they definitely did.
8. BE POSITIVE: Bad luck happens. You wake up late. You miss a class. You spill something on your favorite shirt. You fail a class. IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. Give yourself a minute then move on. Whatever happens, know that things get better but that will only happen when you’re positive and happy. Nothing good happens to you when you’re mad at everyone. Smile and the world will smile with you!
9. LOVE YOURSELF: Do you know who you are? You are a daughter of God. You are special and you deserve to be happy and be the best version of yourself. Know what you matter to your family and friends. Don’t let the world tell you otherwise. Don’t believe them when they say you have to be thinner, blond hair, blue eyes, big boobs, big butt etc.. Don’t listen to the boys if and when (cause it will eventually happen) they try to pressure you into something you know you shouldn’t do. Guys will lie and tell you everything you want to hear.. just to get what they want. You deserve the best and that includes a guy that won’t treat you like a disposable item.
10. BE YOU: This is the time where you blossom. You’ll discover new things. Music, art, life lessons. Let this be the opportunity to grow… FOR THE BETTER. Remember that every decision you make will affect you in some way. Stay true to who you are and who you want to be. Don’t change so that you can fit in with the “cool” kids. You have to remember that if they don’t like you for who you are then they’re not your real friends. I love you and I’m super proud of you!