1. Never doubt yourself. You’re right far more times than you are wrong (at the very least, I am).
2. Half of the time we ask for advice from others, we seek only validation for the choices we have already made.
3. Going to the gym is really, really great for your body. As is lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling for an hour. Figure out what your body needs that day.
4. Shame and guilt are the most crippling of feelings.
5. No matter how often people tell us not to take things and other people at face value, we still take things at face value. Understand how you display yourself to the world, and evaluate if that is the first impression you want to make. You may not care now, but there will come a time when you do. People are quick to judge a book by its cover.
6. Boys are really a whole lot better in theory (and as a side note, TSwift is 99 percent on-point about most things, listen to her album).
7. Figure out how to love people. Go to the gym with a friend every week, get lunch on Wednesdays, have sleepovers. It doesn’t have to be extravagant – it can be something as simple as remembering what they put on their burrito, or making tea when they come over.
8. The people you least expect to be friends with make the most brilliant friendships. The seemingly self-centered RA from freshman year can turn out to be one of the smartest people you’ve met, and the freshman that spends your first duty night with you before class starts can become a close friend two years later. Give people the chance to surprise you.
9. Let people in. I’ve proven myself to be a carefully guarded person, so saying what’s on my mind is my personal struggle. There’s no need to tell the whole world your problems, but it’s perfectly alright to not be okay. Talking to someone about it is a sign of strength.
10. There’s a stark difference between not knowing exactly what you want to do, and being aimless.
11. Eating is a pleasure. Enjoy everything you eat.
12. Saying “no” is a lot easier than everyone thinks it is. Do it more often. You don’t even have to give an explanation for your answer. It makes all the moments in which you say “yes” that much more meaningful.
13. Emotions and feelings suck a whole lot, but it’s far better to feel them out than ignore them. Burying them can be catastrophic for your future self.
14. The way I think I present myself and the way I actually come off to other people can be, and usually are, two very different things.
15. My major does not define how hard I work. My GPA does not define my intelligence. This is true for everyone. A student studying journalism works just as hard as one studying mechanical engineering. But if you tell me that Biochem is a thousand times harder than Heat and Mass Transfer, I will pray to every god that I believe in for you not to get into medical school.
16. Gut feelings always come about for a reason.
17. Figuring out what you want is hard, so understand what you don’t want to do with your life, and who you don’t want to be. It’s easier. I spent five years chasing someone else’s career path before realizing where my strengths and interests really lied.
18. Now is the time we discover that our parents are far from infallible, and can be wrong about many things. But everything that they do, that they say, comes from a form of deepest love that many of us don’t understand just yet. Forgive them.
19. There’s always a choice to make.