Last week at work, my coworkers and I were joking about what it would be like to be 20 again. We were talking about what we'd do differently had we known how we'd feel five to 10 years later. I felt pretty strongly that, if given the opportunity again, I wouldn't go back to being 20. But, if I were to, here's what I'd tell myself:
1. Remember, you're part of something bigger. Whether you're religious or not, the world is so much more than just you and your campus. I know it doesn't feel that way when you're in the college bubble, but you are one part of a much larger body of our human population. Don't live like you're the only one that matters.
2. Wear sunscreen. You really don't need to be that tan. And also, don't go to the tanning bed. Ever. It's the winter in Indiana; it's cool if you're ghostly.
3. Date nice guys. And keep your standards high. There are way, way too many good people out there to make space in your life for those who aren't kind. (Also, if you're looking for love, check this out).
4. And be friends with nice people. You often become similar to those you spend your time with. Who do you want to grow into?
5. Don't change yourself for people. Being authentic is so much more fun than trying to fit in. And, you glow a whole lot more when you're doing you.
6. But don't be afraid to change. I remember someone I was friends with in high school told me in college, "you've changed". And it hurt my feelings at the time. Now? I'm thinking: well thank goodness! If I was the same at 22 as I was at 18, I'd wonder what I'd learned the last four years.
7. Don't forget that you WILL have to answer for the decisions you make in college. I made decisions in college that I wish I hadn't and I've had to reconcile them personally. But that's not always the case. Many people will answer to graduate programs, future employers, etc. Oh, and also, you're representing your family - make your mama proud.
8. You don't have to figure out your whole future now. Move forward - yes. But know that life is constanlty changing. I've used my major a lot since college, but in different ways than I anticipated. Life is full of beautiful surprises. Don't stress so much about controlling everything - just focus on building the best version of yourself that you can.