“You can choose your friends, choose the dream job, but you can’t control fate, all you can hope is that you cope with the hand she deals you”
– Gossip Girl Season 5 Episode 10
Nothing can prepare you for what is thrown your way, that of which is out of your control. Events of the past three years have been thought provoking, tearful, exciting and life changing.
Here are thirty things I have learnt since I left school.
- Choose your friends wisely, and don’t be afraid to “break-up” if things aren’t working or you can’t trust them. I’ve always valued loyalty extremely highly, but it is a two way street. Don’t let someone who betrays you pull you down.
- Maintain a digital diary. So sometimes I still accidentally double book myself, but that’s only because I have forgotten to write something down in my diary. As I’ve gotten older, and have taken on more responsibility, I have definitely realised how important it is to be more organised. “Winging it” doesn’t quite cut it any more.
- Be punctual. There is nothing more irritating than someone who is persistently late for meetings and events. A start time is given for a reason, use it.
- Cherish family time more. As you get older, so does your family, and you truly don’t know how much longer you will have left with them. When my nan died in May 2014, I was not prepared for it. I have been racked with regret for not being able to get home from Uni more to visit, not calling more, not saying ‘I love you’ enough. Your family teach you invaluable life lessons, about being honest, and doing the right thing, and without my family, I wouldn’t be the person that I am.
- Formal education alone won’t get you a job. I am so glad that I worked through 6th form and throughout my degree, in an Ice cream and sweet shop, in a coffee shop, in a perfumery and then in the office of Syed Kamall MEP, leader of the European Conservative and Reformists group in the European Parliament. I learnt so many different skills in all of these employments that I could never possibly have learnt in my degree alone.
- Party whilst you can still hack a hangover. I definitely cannot hack a hangover any more so I am glad I got this over and done with in my first year of uni.
- Invest a bit more money in decent furniture that will last longer than 6 months. When I first moved into my own place, I bought cheap furniture, it fell apart pretty quickly. Spending a few more pennies, even if only in Ikea, has certainly been worth it, for some sturdier furniture.
- Be careful what you post on social media, because in this modern world, whatever you post is there to stay, and the whole world can read it. A split second reaction could ruin your life
- Take time for yourself, don’t burn the candle at both ends. Always take time to sleep and repair, because if you don’t, there will be a never ending cycle of illness.
- Do not protect bullies because you are scared of them.
- Always have an open door for those who need it.
- Look after your physical health.
- Look after your mental health. There is only one of you, and no matter how much someone tries to ruin your life, and bully you for things you didn’t do, you can’t let it consume you.
- Don’t forget to read for fun. It’s very easy to get wrapped in reading what you have to read, and forget to read what you want to read.
- Everything happens for a reason. Fate is both a bitch and a beauty.
- Get a gym membership and routine and stick to it. Getting older means your metabolism slows down and it’s more difficult to keep the weight off. Also working full time in an office means you’re less active so it’s even more important to get to the gym to keep the limbs limber and lean.
- Live for tomorrow, don’t live each day like it’s your last. Living each day like your last is a recipe for disaster. Tomorrow is always a possibility so always be prepared for it, don’t crash and burn unnecessarily.
- Life is fragile…
- Drink alcohol in moderation. See number 6. It’s also really expensive in London and your purse will thank you for that glass of coke or water in between alcoholic beverages.
- Honesty is a key policy, don’t stay silent. Always do the right thing, staying silent only makes thing worse and allows things to build up.
- Just because it doesn’t work first time, doesn’t mean it won’t work ever.
- Invest in more expensive beauty products. You’re skin deserves better than what poundland can offer.
- Travel. Experience the rest of the UK, and the world. The world is quite literally your oyster and so much can be learnt from other cultures.
- Try new cuisines. My favourite discovery has been Caribbean food. JERK CHICKEN!
- If you eat crap food, you will look like crap. End of.
- If it’s not working, let it go. This goes for friendships, jobs, everything.
- Get back in touch with old friends. Reminiscing is really fun and time knows no boundaries to people who have been there for you since you will still losing your baby teeth.
- Falling in love is not a bad thing. I’d been hurt a lot by men up until I started University, and I can’t believe how I lucky I was when Luke and I were both just in the right place at the right time to pick up the pieces.
- It’s OK to eat Nutella and peanut butter straight out of the jar with a spoon. Everyone needs some comfort every now and then.
- Ultimately, always be true to yourself. No explanation needed.