Looking back at pictures from college, I’ve realized that I didn’t know who I was a year ago. I wasn’t even conscious of my lack of self-awareness. College is strange. It locks you in a bubble where nothing matters outside of getting good grades, turning up and finding free food. You, yourself don’t even matter in this weird ecosystem.
As I reflect back on this past year, I can see tremendous growth in myself. Here are 15 things that I’ve learned while “adulting”:
1. It’s all about the process.
After I started my first official job, I found myself asking, “Is this it? Is this what being an adult really is?” I spent a lot of time turning that question over in my head. Nothing will ever be IT. Life is about evolving, growing and paying it forward.
2. Consciousness is important in all areas of your life.
From relationships to how you swipe your credit card, be conscious of every decision that you make. I’m not saying to make a list of pros and cons to decide whether or not you should go with Tidal or Apple Music. I’ve learned that it’s important to put good thought and consideration into the big things. And it’s also good to keep track of how you move on a daily basis.
3. It’s okay to not have it all together.
I can’t scream this loud enough. Everything in your life will not be perfect at once. Yes, it’d be nice to be in shape and simultaneously refrain from binge-shopping when Victoria’s Secret has their 5/$27.50 sale, but that’s not reality. We can’t do it all and we can’t have it all.
4. Be mindful of the energy that you allow in your life.
I stopped being the girl who ‘goes with the flow’ and allows everything to run its course. I am now very specific about the people that I allow into my life and my space. There are people who will feed on your positive energy and do everything that they can to destroy you. Don’t let them. They don’t want you to win, but you need to.
5. Adulting means owning up to your sh*t.
I’ll say it again for the people in the back. Adulting means owning up to your sh*t. There are no excuses in this world and nobody will baby you. Take responsibility for your actions, and if you need to change them, do exactly that.
6. Do NOT run away from your talents.
I spent my entire college career running away from my God-given talent of writing, and it has been chasing me every step of the way. My first job out of college presented me with the opportunity to write. It’s something that I have always loved, yet ignored. Since I have embraced it, I’ve been happier and more fulfilled with my life.
7. Everybody isn’t for you.
If they disrupt your life, let them flourish… somewhere far away from you.
8. Don’t chase a career, chase your purpose.
College brainwashes you into finding a career. A career is cool, but what about your purpose? Purpose is where your passion meets your talents and where financial opportunity meets a need (of the world). If you find yourself at the intersection of these four things, your life will be golden.
9. Be unapologetic.
What are you saying sorry for and why? Be unapologetic in everything that you do. Don’t feel sorry because you’ve achieved your goals and your friend hasn’t. Don’t feel sorry if you need to call out ‘black lives matter’ because our children are being slaughtered in the streets. You don’t owe explanations for your feelings or success.
10. Never forget to take time for yourself.
Earlier this year, I challenged myself a 7-day self-care challenge. I’ve allowed myself to be consumed by my work and be intoxicated by the grind one too many times. Self-care is very important, and when you’re churning out papers like a factory, it’s hard to recognize the importance of loving yourself by resting.
11. Stay on top of your game — no excuses.
If this means calling out of work sick because you’re going through a break-up, fine. You need time to heal. If this means working late to meet a deadline, fine. You need to do well. No matter what, do not show up to your job unprepared to deliver. We already know that we have to be 2x better than our counterparts to get where we need to be. Don’t allow your emotions or the plight of working hard distract you from your goals.
12. Your 9-5 is not your end all be all.
As long as you’re working toward where you want to be, your 9-5 doesn’t matter. I’m not saying to walk into the office tomorrow and raise hell. I’m saying that a side-hustle (or three) can only help you. If your 9-5 isn’t perfect, get your side-hustle on. Financial stability is key.
13. Say ‘no’ and mean it.
When saying ‘yes’ to something means saying ‘no’ to yourself or your personal convictions, you need to say ‘no’ and mean it. Even if this means saying ‘no’ to a job that’s offering you less than you’re worth, do it. Do not settle.
14. Love the life that you are living.
Depression might sneak up on you. Death might take someone out of your life. That job you really wanted might not work out. Despite every obstacle you face, you still have a life to live and love. Appreciate pain, for pain gives way to growth and strength. Always find a way to make the grass green on your side of the fence.
15. You are yours before anyone else’s.
Love yourself. Care for yourself. Do what you want to do. Live your life without apologies. Nothing on this earth is more important than doing YOU. Live your BEST life and don’t be ashamed of it.