What Would You Tell Your 18-Year-Old Self?

3953833717_dc457081dd_zOver the next few weeks college students will be headed back to campus and for many, this will be their first time leaving home and venturing out on their own.  Do you remember when you first left the comfort of your home, your family and your childhood friends?  Looking back, what would you would tell your 18-year-old self?  

Here’s what some members of the Generation W community had to say:

“The world is way bigger than you think, so don’t get too caught up in the small moments that feel like everything at the time.”–Katherine Callaway, Chief Go Get It Officer, Orender Unlimited/Generation W/Generation WOW 


“Never listen to those voices in your head that say, I’m not good enough.  They lie.  Believe in you.”–Donna Deegan, CEO-Chief Eternal Optimist, The Donna Foundation and 26.2 With Donna

“Your college experience is what you make of it.  Go “all in”,  get involved, be curious, this is the time to learn things you may never get another chance to…poetry, astrology, philosophy.  These four years are a gift.  Cherish and nurture it.”–Shelley Diamond, Global Chief Client Officer, Young & Rubicam

“I would tell her to stop looking to acquire things in order to be her best self. I would tell her you already have everything you need to be the most powerful change agent in your own journey. She won’t listen to ME though!” Tiffany Dufu, Chief Leadership Officer, Levo League

“You might not (read: probably won’t) meet your BFF on Day 1. Or Week 1. Or Month 1. Or Semester 1. You may not even meet them in your first year (or you may meet them, but not quite be best friends by the end of the year). Half the folks who “did” are just acting, anyways. It took a long time to develop the friendships you had in high school, and college isn’t any different. So put yourself out there. And put yourself out there again. And put yourself out there some more. Be confident in who you are. Do the things you like to do, even if it means going to an event alone. And be your own best friend. You will find your stride and your niche in time, and when you do, you’ll take off running.”–Risa Isard, Program Coordinator, Aspen Institute

“Look around at everyone who has an opinion about you and know, 90% of those folks will be forgotten in 5-10 years. Focus on what you can control and what you can do to live your purpose, not what anyone thinks of you.”–Angie Orth, Writer/Media Consultant/Adventurer

“The things you’re worried so much about are actually not worth worrying about.  All the “externals”- what other people think of you, what clothes you’re wearing, the number on the scale.  Let all that go- it’s just noise. Focus on the mind and spirit, and the hearts of others.”  Melissa Ross, Host/Producer, First Coast Connect

“Don’t take life too seriously, enjoy every moment. Take each challenge as an opportunity for growth. Learn a second language, grow your own food, hydrate every day, move your body in some way every day and breath more. Slow down to experience the magic and mystery in life. Listen to your inner voice, it speaks loud, don’t resist. When we follow our truth the path will unfold as it should. Surround yourself with people who lift you up, let go of the vampires in your life. Whatever your gift is, share it with the world, don’t hold back-know that the universe won’t give us anything we cant handle. Blessings on your journey my friends.”  Blakely Stein, founder, Lady Love Food

“I sent both of my daughters off to college in the last few years and somewhere between the extra-long dorm sheets and everything-a-college-girl-could-ever-need-from-IKEA I also managed to pack in some…wait for it…ADVICE!  It’s cool to be smart. Learn everything you can. Try it all. Streak The Lawn. (They went to UVA, this is a MUST for a Wahoo.) Step out of your comfort zone. (Hence, the streaking.) Learn. Mind your manners. Don’t do drugs. Drink responsibly. Learn. Respect yourself. Respect others. Learn.   We’ve heard it all before, said it all before.

But what advice would I give to MY 18-year old self? Hmmm…I had to think long and hard about this, there are so many things I’d like to chat with her about!  I think that in a less than optimistic and far from perfect world, the reminder that this overly optimistic 18-year-old would have cherished most is this:  “By celebrating what is right, we find the energy to fix what is wrong.”  It’s true. It works. I wish I knew this simple secret even sooner.”–Mary Ann Wasil, Survivor, President/CEO/Founder, The Get In Touch Foundation

“Enjoy every single second of college.  The good and the bad, the ups and the downs.  It is a beautiful time of growth.  And, it truly flies by quickly.  Have fun!”  Claire M. Zovko, Esq.  


Your Turn:  What piece of advice would you share with your 18-year-old self? Share with us on Facebook and Twitter.


image courtesy of flickr/BY CC 2.0