19 Things You Should Know by the Time You’re 19

So, we learn many different things in life. Some of them are true lessons, and some others are just things that help you make it through the day. I’ve lived this life for 19 years and I might say that I’ve stumbled upon many interesting things and got some life lessons out of them, especially these past couple of years.

You see, there are tons of thing for you to discover out in life. Trivial, nor trivial…they can help you. Even the minuscule discoveries. Here’s a mix of 19 interesting things you should know by the time you’re 19.

1- College is entirely your responsibility. I really hope you know this by now…you signed up for it. There are no parents or professors to tell you to go to class or to do your homework; unlike high school, attendance is not required for some of the classes…so people tend to just skip. You never know how those 50 minutes of lecture could help you. And if it doesn’t, just listen. We are progressive learners and we need an everyday push on our brains! Skip one day of class, don’t do your homework, and you will be in great disadvantage for what could come next! The future is in your hands–your hands alone.

2-  Even the smallest act of random kindness makes a difference. Holding doors, “good morning”s, smiling at others, stopping to help someone, leave slightly bigger tips…things like that make everyone’s days. They do make a difference. You never know what that person is going through, but you might just brighten their whole day. I personally want to do something bigger, but just to give you an idea of what a simple thing can do for someone, here’s a video that inspires me everyday.

I’m all for kindness, helping whenever I can–I even got a token for holding a door ;). It always comes back to you at some point, you’ll know what I’m talking about when it happens to you. Never forget, giving gets you more. Kindness never fails–ever!

3- How to survive out of your house. Now that you’re out, you might want to consider learning a few things about “living alone”. I can think of three key ones: first, how to do laundry. This one makes me laugh. I literally called back home and asked how to do it–guilty and not even ashamed! Now, the trick here is how to do it efficiently:

  • Don’t put everything together. Guys, everything will get washed and dried, no rush!
  • Separate your loads accordingly. Colors, blacks, whites…you don’t want your favorite white shirt to turn pink, do you?
  • What causes wrinkles? A really big load, clothes left in the washer/dryer for too long, etc.
  • How to avoid wrinkles? Smaller loads. Be aware of the time left in your washer/dryer. One by one, shake a piece of clothing and put it in the dryer, plus one or two dryer sheets. Toss a hand towel inside with your clothes…yes, it works!
  • Respect other people’s things. I know it’s annoying when others leave their clothes in the washer/dryer, but that doesn’t give you the right to take it out. That may cause problems.

Also, cooking, or at least being able to make a decent meats with pasta/rice/vegetables dish. Let’s face it, not everyone knows how to cook at this point of their lives, but by reading instructions/recipes and doing it almost everyday…you’ll definitely learn. Well, you start out with a meal plan that will provide you food…but what about other times when you want to make something with your friends? Or when you get your own apartment? On the other hand, eating outside is expensive…especially for college people.

And for the last one of the bunch, how to dress appropriately. Interviews, special events, and just serious grown up stuff. The day will come, where you’ll have to get ready for your first official interview. But it’s gonna be okay, because you’ll have those go-to pants/skirt and shirt in your closet, right? Do your hair, iron your clothes, look for your lucky folder..trust me, once you get past that point, the rest is easy.

4- The people you meet along the way will help you in the future. When you’re in college, connections become a really important part of your progress. Either with an employer you meet, a professor, or just a friend–they will help you in many ways. Know that your path is entirely yours, but a little help never hurts, right? Keep in touch with that employer you had a good chat with at the career fair…they could remember your persistence in the future and highly consider you for next time! As for professors, they are always a good reference. Friends, they are your pillar when everything seems to go wrong; even though you may already have friends back home and have your family, your college friends will be able to do a little more from where you are…and what’s a college experience without a good group of friends to enjoy it with?

5- You should let people know you appreciate them every once in a while . I hope you should know this by now, but I repeat…don’t let your opportunity slip through your fingers–you never know. We sometimes need to get that out of our system, and that person sometimes needs to hear it; so look for your opportunity. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but you definitely should try it. What do I do? I write letters, e-mails, little gifts, one-on-one talks, pretty much anything I am able to do. Just remember that these people have shaped who you are, touched your life–let them know that. There’s never an enough. Need some inspiration? Watch the video below!

6- People stay in your life in different ways. “Why haven’t I heard from him/her?”…Everyone handles their relationships differently, including you. What I’m trying to get to with this is that you shouldn’t underrate these kind of people. Of course, there are the ones that really just don’t care about you anymore, and then the ones who–when you talk to them–will treat you as if they saw you yesterday…or drop whatever they’re doing to assist you even though you haven’t talked in weeks. You need to see the difference as you go. Believe me, being so far away and not being able to see my friends from back home for a very long time has taught me this…I guess I’m lucky, the majority have stayed. Know that a friend is not necessarily the one you talk to everyday, but the one who, regardless of time, talks to you as if you just talked the day before.

7- You should definitely not care about whatever people talk behind your back. Please, guys…this is something that is always going to happen–inevitably–the best way to keep on going is to just ignore it, even if it comes from your “friends”…you know better than anyone you’re not what they say you are.

8- Know when to let go. Either something you enjoy doing, a person, etc…you have to know when it’s enough. For example, if a “friend” is constantly bringing you down, belittling you…why in the world should you hold on to that so-called-friendship? He/she might be your best friend since first grade, but if his/her attitude is not compatible with yours anymore, don’t bother. If you love playing sports, or are on a team,  but you also are in a very challenging major or course, you might consider stop playing for a while…you can’t do everything. And also, prioritize those.

9- How to pack/unpack efficiently. I’ve moved in and out and traveled more these past couple of years than any others! I’ve had to pack and unpack my stuff to so many places. I really used to love packing because that meant vacations and traveling…now it’s just moving everything from your old apartment to the one in front. What items make your packing process easier?

  • Of course, your suitcase.
  • One or two duffel bags.
  • Storage boxes/bins.
  • A lot of reusable bags. Not only you should be thinking about saving the environment, but also about saving yourself some time and frustration while packing. These bags can save your life.
  • Labels. You would probably want to know where everything is after the whole moving process.

The trick here is to have your things in order and together…if they are all over the place, it will be a pain for you to it–trust me. Also, double check when you’re packing to go out for spring break, you might not need 5 pairs of shoes.

10- If you don’t try hard, you’ll most likely never get it. This one is not obvious to everyone. There are some overconfident people who just think they don’t have to do much to get what they want in life, and when a challenge comes…they fail because they, in fact, didn’t try hard enough or at all. You should always try to stand out, try harder each time, AND be innovative and smart about it. Anyone can do what you do, but if you get to do it in a better and more efficient way than others–that’s when you shine.

11- Don’t let fear hold you back. This is probably really hard to overcome, but your fears can’t win every time! Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to tell that person what you feel. Don’t be afraid to change something you don’t like. Don’t be afraid to follow your instincts. Don’t be afraid to be a goof. Don’t be afraid to do something new. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Let this video show you what I mean.

12- How to control your shopaholic impulses–or at least most of them. It’s true that more independence comes in college, and it’s true that you will probably go crazy with it. Don’t buy that shirt when you could save your money to buy the books for next semester. Ordering online has got to be your biggest enemy when it comes to finances; it all seems so easy! But, always ask yourself: “is it a want or a need?” Breathe in, breathe out “is it a want or a need?” You’ll eventually have your answer.

13- Getting involved takes you places. Get with other people who have the same interests, join a club, volunteer places, participate in the community…it feels good, and it’s something different from your school work. When you participate in the community, you become much more likely to be noticed by others, and have some great ways to enhance that resume of yours. You might make the best friends there. I’ve met a lot of people who, with similar aims and principles, I know have made my college journey an outstandingly beautiful experience.

14- We all start out as strangers. Never be afraid to meet new people! But sometimes you might be afraid to approach the traditional way, right? Ice breakers are always good, but they don’t work every time, and that’s fine…you can find other ways to approach. I’m all about talking to random people, and I’ve got very, very interesting conversations out of those! If a simple and boring ice breaker doesn’t work for you, maybe you can try something like the video below! I’d be up for that, no question!

15- Know what gets you back to Earth. In a “chaotic” yet beautiful world like this, we sometimes find ourselves spacing out or wanting to run away…but we need to get back! Hey, Earth is calling you! You surely have experienced something like this, and you overcame it, right? How did you do it? Whatever got you back, a person, a group of people, your dreams, an activity, going somewhere else…hold on to that–it’s a very important thing to have that, because you’ll need it a lot.

16- It’s okay to not know where you’re going right now. Look, I don’t even know what I want to do either! People constantly ask me “what do you plan to do with your degree?”, “where are you going to go after college?”…I. Don’t. Know. I still didn’t really know what I wanted to go to college for the beginning of my senior year of high school–what? I had no idea if I wanted to stay in my country or come to the US. It’s okay not to know what to do…I’ve been there. Life sometimes is kind enough to help me through this, so I eventually come to a conclusion or an answer. Also, don’t be afraid to change something in your life…like your major. If you’re not happy, you should be proactive and do something about it. Don’t stress yourself over this too much, concentrate on your present so you can have your currently indefinite future.

17- Pay your debts, keep your friends–or any relationship for that matter. I always picture my mom at the back of my mind saying this–she taught me that, and it’s entirely true. You probably didn’t have enough money to buy dinner and your friend bought it for you; pay him/her back, or buy him/her the next meal! And it’s not only about money, but things they do for you–favors. You may encounter two types of people: the ones who aren’t looking for anything in return, and the ones who are. Either person, you should know that it’s way better to have a balanced relationship–even when you hear the famous “don’t worry, don’t pay me back” or “I do it because I’m your friend”, be a good friend too and return favors.

18- Accepting failure and mistakes will help you grow as a person. I know a lot of people are afraid of failure and that holds them back from so many things…but you should know, it’s a good thing to acknowledged them. Blaming others will not solve anything either. When you accept you made a mistake or that something really didn’t work for you, you’re letting yourself grow a little bit. Experience is a whole process. You’re probably afraid to admit you failed at doing this certain thing, but the moment you do, trust me…you feel good. And then, your lesson is learned. Experience gained!

19- The word “wasting” shouldn’t be part of your “dictionary of life” by now. Huge no-no. You aren’t allowed to waste time, what if you miss out on something? Be aware of your surroundings and the things on your way. I know you want to rush a bit, but stop for a minute and stare to your sides. What do you see? You aren’t allowed to sit still and let life pass you by. No. As people get older,  they regret wasting time and wish they were younger to do that thing they turned their back on…don’t let this happen to you! Be awesome! For example, people say college life is one of the best chapters of your life…don’t spend your time locked up in your dorm room! Get out there and explore! Just let Kid President tell you!

Believe me, I thought this list was going to be difficult to fill out, but I found myself wanting to be older just to put more, haha! I have many other things for you guys, but here are the ones that I really carry with me and remember at all times; I also try to get other people to notice them, let them know there are so many things to learn in this world–experience is definitely one of your best friends in your journey of life. I hope you carry these with you!

Sources of my inspiration:

Life Vest Inside

SoulPancake videos

Personal experience.

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One response to “19 Things You Should Know by the Time You’re 19”

  1. Claire says:

    Thanks for posting this. It is very refreshing and a perfect meditation article. It helped me reminisce my past experience as well as evaluate myself. I love your way of writing. It is very conversational and simple yet really got my attention. Keep posting. Keep inspiring others:)) Have an awesome day!

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