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What they don’t tell you in school

Many of you will be starting with college this fall, this article is dedicated to you.

I remember the day clearly as if it was yesterday. I was 17 and walking up the aisle to receive my 12th grade graduation diploma, 100% percent sure of what I wanted to do in life. I was going to pursue the sciences. Three struggling years of exams and research papers later, I had emerged a battered and worn out survivor, yet had no idea what to do with my life. I was lost, clueless and bewildered at the fact that I had thought I had it all figured out at 17. It’s been two years since I graduated from college and started living alone. I’ve learnt a lot in the last couple of years, but the most important lesson I learnt was that the older you get, the less you know and you definitely don’t have it all figured out at 17. If I could go back in time, here is some advice I’d give to my younger self:

1. Learn to cook

Women belong in the kitchen. Men belong in the kitchen. Everyone belongs in the kitchen. There’s food in the kitchen! Learn how to make at least a couple of simple dishes so that in the worst of times you won’t go hungry, or have to rely on anyone.

2. Finances/taxes

Start taking care of your finances early. Learn how to manage your money while you’re still living at home. By the time you’re on your own, you’ll be better at this game. Put a cherry on top of the cake by asking a parent to teach you about taxes.

3. Be a morning person

The best way to be on time is to be early. You don’t have to wake up at obnoxious hours, just give yourself enough time to start your day the way you would like to; meditation, a quick run, a big breakfast or a work out. Wake up on a reasonable time on weekends as well, to not break your routine. Be 5 minutes early wherever you go, it will give you some time to prepare, and certainly beats the anxiousness of rushing at the last minute. This will also pay off in the long run, once you start working.

4. Find balance between work and play

The only way you’ll get the most out of your day and maximize your productivity is to have a routine. Schedule time for work and play, and to relax. This way you will neither be overworking yourself, nor turn into a sloth. It will keep you from feeling overwhelmed when there’s more to do and will definitely pay off in the long run.

5. Stay organized

When you live alone, spend 6 hours in class, do homework, work out, eat healthy, pay your bills, run your errands, socialize, and find time for yourself; a few extra chores can really feel like a burden. So, don’t make a mess in the first place. Get organized and stay organized, fold your sheets in the morning and put away your dried laundry as soon as it comes in. This way you won’t land up with that massive pile on the bed.

6. Work out

When we’re in school, sports and games are a part of our routine. Once you hit college, though, with all the assignments and parties, there’s never room left for a work out. Make room for it, or you will regret it later. It’s a lot more difficult to get back in shape if you’re working 8-9 hours a day.

7. Spend time alone

Give time to yourself, and your hobbies, because you have the time now. Explore, travel and discover yourself. Stay in and watch that movie or read that book you’ve been wanting to off. If you like to paint, spend the weekend painting. Take those guitar lessons. Hone your skills and hobbies, because you never know when they will come in hand.

8. Don’t post everything on the internet

Be careful of what you post on the internet and what message they send about you as a person. It’s a small world and you never know who from your friends list lands up being your senior or colleague. So, maybe skip the picture with the “I hate work” t-shirt, or the one your friends took of you passed out drunk.

9. Learn to drive & change a tire

Do it, because you have the time, and thank me later.

10. You will miss your parents & home

Yes, you and your graduating class have grown thick as thieves and you may or may not see them again, so you’re caught up in it all. I can understand, but you’re going to miss your parents and home more. You probably won’t even stay in touch with the entire class, and you won’t think back to the parties you had (because you’ll have a lot more in college, trust me), but you’ll always miss home. Spend time with your parents, go to your favorite places and eat your favorite food, and enjoy your mothers cooking and hugs, because you’ll miss those the most.

11. Lastly, nobody has it all figured out

As kids, we were always under the notion that adults have it all figured out. At 17 I thought I did. Then I began to think, maybe the older you get, the less you know. Which is true in a way, as you get older you become wiser, and the wiser you are, the more you realize how little you know. But that’s okay. All of us here are living our lives for the first time, taking it one step at a time, with no idea where the next turn will lead us. So, if you don’t have it all figured out in college, it’s not the end of the world, you’ll survive, I promise.

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