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20 Lessons Learned: Reflections at 20

By: Eisha Patel

1. Don’t stress the little things or the big things, it’s not worth it 

It is easy to get caught up in short-term stresses, but usually in the grand scheme of things, one small decision won’t have drastic consequences. One grade or one exam will not be the end of the world. 

2. Know your worth without needing constant validation

Don’t rely on validation to build your confidence. It is important to find confidence from within so that even without others, you can still believe in yourself and your goals. 

3. You don’t have to be the busiest person ever, give yourself free time 

There is no gold star for doing the most. Do what makes you happy and your obligations, but also spend time with your friends, family, and yourself. 

4. Learn how to say, “no”

While it is great to capitalize on opportunities in front of you, know it is okay to say no. Prioritize yourself and your needs / wants because you can't be everything for everyone.

5. Learn to do things for yourself rather than for others

Make sure your goals are YOUR goals. Try to avoid creating goals based on others’ dreams or ideas. You are the one who has to pursue these, so it is important that you believe in them.

6. Try new things

Life is short, so try new things whether it is new restaurants, new places, new activities. You never know if you’ll enjoy something or not until you try it.

7. It’s ok to fail, don’t take it so hard

Failure is truly a part of life and there is nothing to be ashamed of. You learn more about yourself from failures than from successes. Even if one opportunity passes, more will come so it is important to learn from it and move on rather than dwelling on it.

8. Don’t take the little moments for granted

My best memories have been small things like blasting Taylor Swift and singing in the car with my brother or talking to my roommates on my couch all night. Rather than trying to create big events, appreciate the little moments.

9. You get to choose who you want to be 

No one else but yourself can decide who to be. Be true to yourself and your values regardless of what others’ believe. This is relevant for your career and your personal life.

10. Don’t go along with the pack, think about what your needs and wants

It’s easy to follow those around you, but it is much harder to form your own path or go against what others are doing. However, forming your plan based on your needs and wants is much more beneficial in the long run and will make you happier in the long run.

11. No one is thinking about you so stop caring about what other people think

It is so easy to get caught up in other people’s opinions, but you can never make everyone happy so forget what other people think and do what you want!

12. Make time for at least one thing you love per day 

When life gets busy with exams or work, it is easy to change your priorities to focus on your professional or academic life, but always do at least one thing you love every day where it is going for a walk or listening to music. 

13. Take the time to smell the flowers 

I heard this a while ago, but this past year it has really hit me the most. It is so important to take a breath or a break. I often go down rabbit holes where I am super fixated on one topic or activity, but sometimes I need to step back and take a break and see the bigger picture in life. 

14. Grades or accomplishments do not define you 

When you are 100 years old and thinking back on your life, it is more important to make memories and form connections and relationships than have a transcript or a list of accomplishments to tell others.

15. Cut people slack, everyone is learning too 

It is too exhausting to hold grudges, so as my dad always says, forgive and forget! Everyone is always learning about themselves and who they are and everyone makes mistakes.

16. Don’t wait for tomorrow, start today

Try not to push things off because tomorrow never comes. Start today! 

17. Take time to reflect

Every once in a while it's a good idea to stop and think about your actions, values, strengths, and weaknesses, so you can know more about yourself and how to improve. Take time to sit with yourself and think through these things.

18. Speak up for yourself 

You are your best advocate! Be able to speak up for yourself and what you need and want.

19. Figure out what makes you happy

I’ve always found that when life gets crazy, it's important to do something that makes you happy, so it's really important to know a few things you can do that bring you instant joy no matter how big or small.

20. Everyone does things differently

There is no right way to do things! Everyone thinks differently, so let people follow their own creative processes even if it is different from your process.


About The Author:

Eisha Patel '25

Business Honors, Finance, & Human Biology

Entrepreneurial LeadHERship Fall 2023 Student

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