See ya teenage years, I’m twenty. I can’t believe I’ve left such a big chapter of my life behind and it’s time to write a new one. I can easily say that nineteen was the best year of my life. So many incredible things happened and my life changed for the better. I lived in my first apartment, I made so many new friends, I made Dean’s List, I was a hands mom, I was a tour guide, I sat front row at New York Fashion Week, I was accepted into the College of Arts and Letters, I landed my first internship and experienced so many other absolutely incredible memories. Truly, there were so many blessings that entered into my life these past 365 days that I can’t remember them all. God has been so incredibly good to me this past year, I can never thank Him enough.
That all being said, I learned a lot this past year. Seriously, there have been a lot of lessons that friends, family, sorority sisters, peers, professors, and co-workers have taught me and I’m here to share them all with you. Here’s to making year twenty the year of taking leaps of faith, being a professional, the year of making a name for myself, the year of making a statement, and the year of taking chances.
1. The word NO is powerful and sometimes necessary. If you want to stand your ground, say no. If you want to stay in and turn down a party invite, say no. If that creepy guy asks for your number, say no. It’s not a bad word and it’s sometimes necessary.
2. Pamplemousse La Croix is hands down the best flavor there is. No debate.
3. Leadership positions are empowering and you should go out for as many as you can, no matter how small. Be the president of your sorority, lead a small group, spearhead a volunteer project. Hell if there isn’t a leadership position you love, create one. Do something to bring out the girl boss in you. Wake her up because she can do incredible things!
4. Learn to cook. It’s your first step into adulthood and once you can feed yourself, you open the gateway to responsibility and independence.
5. Keep your appearance in tip-top shape. It’s the main thing (along with your handshake and speech) that makes a first impression. If you can’t take care of your person, you can’t take care of life and all the messiness that comes along with it — and people will notice that. Take that extra step to pamper yourself and spend those extra dollars on good skincare, a facemask or that luxury mascara.
6. The impossible is possible. It’s so possible, its not even funny. I never thought I would make it past the first round of Student Ambassador applications and here I am, a proud SA still astonished I got into Student Ambassadors. It’s the organization at JMU that gave me an incredible purpose at my school, and I literally never thought it would work out for me. If you think it’s impossible, still try at it. If it works out, you’ll feel like you can walk on the moon. If it doesn’t, than you learned a lot from your experience.
7. If you need a glass of wine to finish writing a paper, girl pop the cork. Been there, done that. Got an A.
8. You don’t need to spend a million bucks to look like million bucks. Seriously, sales are your best friend! You don’t even have to tell anyone you purchased things on sale! I mean I love to brag that I bought a $125 sweater for $18, but to each his own!
9. Sometimes the people you never thought you would be friends with turn out to be your best friends in the entire world. Give every single person a chance because they could one day be your bridesmaid, your sorority sister, your roommate, or the gal you just can’t live without. People surprise you and your best friends will too.
10. There’s no time like the present. Tomorrow isn’t promised and it’s sometimes not easy to wake up in the morning and carry on with life like you’re loving every second of it. That being said, seize the moment. Start the blog you’ve always wanted to, apply for the job — even if they say they’re not hiring, start the workout plan you’ve been putting off. Just do it (Nike don’t come for me!).
11. Everything in text, email, online, tweeted, or Facebook posted can and will be held against you. This never happened to me, but boy did I see it happen to several people I know this past year. Be kind — especially when your words are put into writing!!
12. Nobody will trust you, work with you, believe you, or sympathize with you if you have a short temper. Carry yourself with decorum and be as patient and as even tempered as possible. Think through things critically and do not involve emotion. I know — super difficult to do!! Practice it and I promise when you do, you will become less jealous, less hot headed, less curt, more understanding, more approachable, and more trustworthy.
13. If something in your work life is holding you back, it’s okay to let it loose. Quitting a job or leaving an internship doesn’t mean you’re a quitter if you gave it a fair and honest chance. The same is true with friendships. Leaving both on a good foot, but if somethings aren’t working out then let them go. Do what you need to do.
14. At the end of the day, sometimes you just have to be your own cheerleader. Encourage yourself for you. You can do incredible things. Yes, you can write that 20 page paper, yes you can win a leadership election, yes you can learn to cook for one, yes you can get into your school of major, yes you can start a clothing line, yes you can join that team. There is so much you can do and let the perky gal inside of you cheer you on 24/7.
15. Chanello’s cheese bread is appropriate at literally anytime of the day. After work on a Thursday at 3pm — celebrate the almost weekend with Chanello’s. After you just finished having a panic attack about school — stress eat with Chanello’s. In the library when you’ve had 4 hours of sleep — recharge with Chanello’s.
16. The power of VSCO is so real. Recognize. If you want an Instagram theme or just want your pictures to look cool as hell, download VSCO. No excuses, it’s free.
17. Nothing in life worth bragging about comes without hard work and determination. From the 99 you earned on the mid-term of the hardest class in your major (check that off my bucket list), to the front row tickets to New York Fashion Week that you scored (check that too), all of those things and everything in between came with years and years of hard work and weeks of endless preparation. Work hard and accomplish incredible things.
18. Sometimes you need to cry…or call you Mom…or both. I’ve done both many times. You can cry to yourself, to your friends, and to your mom. You get 10 minutes, after that, pull up your bootstraps and get sh*t done. Nothing is unsolvable and if you can’t figure out how to get in through the front door, find a back door, or heck — cut a hole in the wall and make your own damn door. Determination is stronger than you think.
19. Friday’s are the weekend. When the sun sets, the liquid eyeliner goes on and the pregame starts. Everything from sundown on Friday to noon on Sunday deserves a toast because sometimes life is hard and you just need to celebrate the little things.