Chat with Ruthie 18 things I wish I knew at 18
My oldest daughter is headed off to college next week and I’m slightly freaking out… First, I can’t believe she’s that old AND next I can’t believe I’M that old either!! I honestly don’t know where the time went- it seems like yesterday she was learning to ride a bike!
She and I had a little chat over some cucumber salad a couple of days ago, as we were talking she took notes and said she’d hang them on the living room wall of her new apartment! Which got me thinking about when I was 18 and all the things I know NOW that I wish I knew THEN…
1. Go to class! Everyday!! It’s so easy to skip one class and then two and then pretty soon you’re so far behind that it’s almost impossible to catch up.
2. Stay in school! No matter what, finish a degree in something!! It’s very difficult to survive in today’s world without a college degree. Be committed and get it done during the period of life when accomplishing it is the easiest. Set goals and re-set goals until you finally achieve them!! This is such an important skill to develop because it’s one you’ll use all through out your life!
3. Don’t lose your scholarships… it’s free money! Make sure you know what the minimum grade point average is to keep each scholarship and keep your grades above it! I knew a lot of people that let their grades slide during their Freshman year of college and lost their scholarships. NOT cool!
4. Make a friend in every class- someone to text and ask for the day’s assignments if you’re sick, or to help answer a question, or to be a study partner!
5. Take advantage of this time in life to really develop who you are; figure out what you want to be, what your dreams and goals are, travel or study abroad. Develop your talents, learn, discover, and improve yourself so when you’re ready you’ll be whole and healthy person who can make a life long decisions of marriage, career, and rearing a family.
… Once again… get your degree! You honestly never know what the future holds- you very well could end up a widow, or divorced, or with a spouce who’s some how disabled! Get yourself in the best position possible to handle whatever life brings! I know many people who have had these things touch their lives, including me.
6. Get sleep! Have fun but stay grounded… it’s hard to make your brain function on too little sleep. Figure out a routine and stick to it! Our bodies function best if we have a consistent sleep/wake routine.
7. Feed your brain! Eat balanced; even though budgets are often tight. Try to eat fresh produce, whole grains, and lean proteins. Get exercise too! It’s a stress reducer and keeping your body fit improves quality of life, it’s a life-long habit that is super important!
8. Remember to buy toilet paper! Enough said.
9. Don’t drink other people’s milk! Just make it easy on everyone and eat your own food… if you don’t it’ll cause a lot of drama!! It all boils down to being respectful of each others belongings (same thing your folks taught you… only now it’s ‘Real’ life!)
10. Don’t be a pig! Living with other people can be hard because everyone in an apartment or dorm has been raised with different levels of cleanliness. Try to make life easy on your room mates by picking up after yourself and taking turns with bathroom, kitchen, and garbage duties! You know the old saying “Many hands makes the work light. ”
11. Live on a budget, know how much your out-going monthly expenses are ie: rent, food, utilities, entertainment, gas, etc. Get a bike (and a helmet) and ride it as much as you can; not only is it good exercise but it’ll save money too! Be sure to save money for the bigger expenses ie: tuition, fees, semester books, car repairs (if you have one), etc.
12. Don’t get into credit card debt! College age kids are a prime target for credit card companies, it’s better to do without than to rack up a huge credit card bill. My husband had one at too young of an age in college and messed up his credit for 8 years because of missed payments, etc. Credit Card companies don’t mess around- at all!!
13. Have fun and date all kinds of people… look for someone well rounded, NOT the best looking!
14. Be cautious in dating. Make sure a friend or room mate know where you are and when you should be home so they can watch your back, and you’ll be safe. This is especially important as your getting to know someone new! I may be a bit paranoid but I carried mace in my purse because I got out of work late and lived at the end of a dark hallway and I just felt safer knowing I could use it if I needed to! (and that was over 20 years ago!)
15. Every one of us wants to be adored, to be the most important thing in the world to that special someone! Don’t settle. Be picky and get to know what you’re looking for in a life long companion by dating a lot of different people.
16. Some day you’re going to want to find a good match- someone that fits your life, that compliments you. I DO NOT believe in ‘soul mates’… sorry, to burst any bubbles! I believe there are probably thousands of people out there; that you or I could be with and live a long, happy, and fulfilling life together. So, pick wisely!
17. If you happen to find a special someone… it’s imperative that you get to really know his/her family and friends! If a person isn’t capable of having healthy and good relationships with their family and friends then they aren’t capable of one with you. NEXT! You’re never so tied into some thing that you can get over it and move on… make a wise choice and listen to your heart and your mind!
18. If you are sexually active… I don’t care how you were raised, what religion you are, what your views are about premarital sex… it happens! Be smart. If that’s something that’s happening in your life- protect yourself from diseases and unplanned pregnancy. See a doctor or planned parenthood center and get informed about your options.
Going off to college is like a fresh start in life… you can become whatever kind of person you want to be! Set goals, work hard, and you’ll surprise yourself with what you can achieve. The college years are such an important period of life… you’re laying the ground work for the rest of your life! Make smart decisions, stay focused on your goals, improve your mind, take care of your body, and stay in tune with your spirit!
Embrace this part of life and reach for the stars!!
Momma Ruthie (as my daughter Madi’s friends call me!)