So it’s been scientifically proven that the choices we made as teenagers – whether educational or personal – define who we are today. The study goes on to make other points but for me this is the most important.
If I look at my life today and wonder how I got here – if I’m being honest – I realise the roots of today lie very much in adolescence. You keep thinking I wish I had studied a bit harder, wish I’d taken that course instead of this one, wish I’d done that differently or even why didn’t I ever stand up to that one?
For me the main regret is never having taken my university education seriously. Uni was nearly free and it was easy to take it for granted. Nowadays Uni is very expensive and it’s a constant discussion whether charging £9000 annual makes any sense. (I personally think it’s stupid but that later). Which means though it is hard earned money which you need to spend wisely.
So here are some take aways from my adolescence, which I hope will benefit some of the younger lot. I say this as a 45 year old – so not over the hill just don’t want others to make the same mistakes.
- There’s no point in peaking early. As long as you are not in the bottom set when you hit secondary you are ok. If you’ve been a swot most of primary it gives you false confidence in how smart you are. I’m not the one to disparage hard work but save yourself. When others suddenly start doing well from Year 9 you will fall behind and start to question why. This will lead to self esteem issues and will be ultimately a far greater road block than any other.
- Think of teenage as a foundation to your life. Yes you’re a teenager and you must have your fun too – but don’t forget your day job. ALWAYS give education priority. You will have the rest of your life working in a supermarket or low paying clerky job to regret for the choices you make now.
- Most people, not born in wealth, who have made it have worked hard during their youth (17-24) – pick almost anyone. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson… Pick any industry, people like you and me who weren’t born millionaires have to slog our butts to get there. (And THEn you have the rest of your life to take it easy.)
- If you are one of those people who has no friends in school – you are not alone. Trust me if you don’t have positive people around you, you’re better off alone. You are not weird or a nerd. It just means they will come to you later in life – and possibly be a lot more fulfilling.
- At NO point in life are you left without answers. Cultivate and listen to your inner voice. There’s never too early to start meditation and centring. It will also help focus.
- Do not let anything distract you from your day job – if a boyfriend or girlfriend does, cut them out of your life. Face facts – a relationship now will not last a lifetime anyway but the rewards of your course will. Cut your loses and start thinking long term.
- Above all, do be hard on yourself. Is there anyway I can do this better? Is there anything I can do to improve this?
Remember it is Only five or six years maximum of your entire life we are talking about!
Slog it out now and you have the rest of your life to reap your rewards. Then travel anywhere you want to, buy whatever you feel like – you won’t have to answer to anyone about how you spend your money or look at others and feel ‘wish I could buy that.’ Hell, you can too or wait two months and you can. Life is what you make of it.
It’s never been any fun being poor at any point in history.
We haven’t come so far to remain where we were.