1. Waking up an hour before you start your day will change your life. So will eating breakfast! It’ll give you a chance to recharge and mentally prepare yourself for the day.
2. To do that, getting eight hours of sleep a night will really help. From skin problems, to exhaustion, to anxiety, to even bloating, I have found that sleeping enough makes all the difference. Your body and brain really need that rest!
3. Drink all of the water! Almost all of the little problems in life can be fixed with hydration and sleep. I know that (especially in college) it is easy to forget to drink water or sleep on time, but get an app or something and plan ahead! Which brings us to the next tip:
4. Get a planner, online or physical. iCal is great, as is Google Calendar, your Apple Watch, iPhone, Alexa or literally any little robot in your life that can sync themselves to be your digitized personal assistant. If you’re a little more old-school, then ban.do and a hundred other companies make fantastic tangible planners. Use them.
5. Not every relationship has to be “the one.” And if you put that kind of pressure on it, there is no chance it will be. Take it day by day, and if it’s going to last, it will. Just let it be; don’t force things. Life’s too short to constantly nitpick and too long to be worried about forever at this age.
6. Not everyone will like you, and it’s okay not to care. Wasting your energy on someone that probably doesn’t even know you that well and hasn’t invested the time to simply isn’t worth it. Trust me on this one.
7. Read books. A lot of books. Nothing can stand in for the value of reading. It will make you a better writer, a more well-rounded person and nothing you read will ever be a total waste of time. From Japanese fiction to Serbian poetry — all of the books I’ve consumed have come in handy.
8. Make time for people who matter. “I don’t have enough time” is never a good enough excuse if someone you love needs you. You can stay up an extra hour to finish that problem set if your best friend is truly upset.
9. Never underestimate the importance of family. They’ve always been there for you, and they will always be there. Appreciate them, always.
10. Spend time alone. Often. At the end of the day it’s always going to be you — everyone else can walk away at any time, but you’ll always be in your own company. Make sure you’re comfortable with yourself.
11. Fight well with the people you love. Remember that it’s not you vs. them, it’s you two vs. the problem. If you love each other, then chances are your conflict was caused by a miscommunication or an honest mistake. It’s okay to be frustrated with a situation, but you love them for a reason. Don’t let yourself forget that in the moment.
12. Stop overthinking everything. I promise you, that little inflection on the word “no” meant nothing. You can stop thinking about it.
13. Stray from the Top 100 playlist on Apple Music. There’s a lot of great stuff out there, and some of the best music isn’t from our generation!
14. Make some really, really good guy friends (and ideally some good girl friends too). Having close guy friends has changed my perspective on everything. To the men reading this, find yourself some ladies and you’ll see what I mean; it’s a whole new world from another gender’s point of view.
15. Keep your circle small and your walls high. Trust people until they give you a reason not to, but share your heart only with those who deserve it. As Taylor Swift said, “May your heart remain breakable, but never by the same hand twice.”
16. See as much of the world as you can. No number of textbooks or YouTube videos can replace immersing yourself in other cultures and physically traveling to new places. Think of how small we are in the grand scheme of things. Don’t you want to see what’s out there?
17. Coco Chanel was right when she said, “Always dress as if you’re going to run into your worst enemy.” Take the time in the morning to wear something you feel confident in and learn the appropriate thing to wear in various environments. When you feel good, you look good, and when you look good, you feel good. There’s only a slight difference between business casual and semiformal, but there’s a difference!
18. Learn etiquette. It may not be the most exciting thing, but we’re all adults now. It’s time to use a fork and knife once in a while! These skills will also be super handy when networking.
19. Keep it classy! Middle-school pettiness has no place in the real world. Keep your chin up and try and take the high road whenever possible.
20. Try everything and then forgive yourself over and over again. There will never be an age at which you can say “I know it all.” Mistakes are inevitable, but learning from them means being able to choose what you’re afraid of. If you can get to a place where you’re on the other side of fear, when all is said and done, you’ll be able to say you have far fewer regrets.