Edge of Eighteen: 17 things I learned at 17

Adriana Sanchez

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Today I turned 18 and I’ve learned a lot in the past 17 years. This blog is a summary of what I’ve come to view as important and central to me as a person. I’ve come to realize some realities and also some unexpected joys. Here are 17 things I learned in 17 years.


1.) Not everyone has the same heart as you

You go through life thinking people will do for you as you do for them, but from experience I have learned to find that false. Not everyone will treat you the way you want to be treated. That can be hard to process, I always think, ‘What am I doing wrong for them to treat me the way they do?.’ Not everyone will be as kind as you are. I have come face to face with people who are so rude, for no reason, and I blame it on myself, but I know it’s not my fault. It took me awhile to understand that people do not have the same kindness as me.


2.) Treat others the way you would like to be treated

This goes beyond being just kind to people, it’s about adjusting your views and attitude.


3.) Never apologize for how you feel, your feelings are completely valid

Growing up I have always apologized for the way that I feel, even about the little things.


4.) If they don’t know you personally, don’t take it personally

I was bullied for a long time, and I always took what they said to heart, when I shouldn’t because they don’t know me. In the beginning of my freshman year, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t let people get to me and stand up for myself. To this day,               that promise still stands.


5.) A lot of times what you want isn’t what you need.

I still have a hard time with this, when I buy something that I want but I don’t need. Along with toxic friendships, and relationships, the people that I let go was for the better, their presence was something that I wanted since I didn’t have anyone but myself, but it’s not what I needed. I feel like yes, you do need that interaction with someone, but if it’s not for the better, then you don’t need them.


6.) Step back, take a deep breath and look around you the world is better like that.

If you stress about everything that is going on, then your problems won’t be fixed. Realize how grateful you are to be here. I believe everything happens for a reason, or else we won’t be where we are now.


7.) You’re not defined by your past, you’re shaped by it

I don’t regret going through the bad times in my life because it shaped me for who I am today. I learned from my mistakes. I wouldn’t change my past for the world, it made me change so much as a person, and made me realize how much I have grown from the tough times.


8.) When one door closes another one opens, but sometimes we are so fixated on what we lost that we don’t see what’s right in front of us

I believe that when something bad happens, something good will happen in return, throughout the years, I have dragged my past behind me, as if I got it tied to my feet like rocks sinking to the bottom of the ocean. I learned to let the past go and move forward for what is best to come. I always focus on the bad side of things instead of realizing how much I have to be grateful for.


9.) Challenge yourself

Living in your comfort zone all the time won’t get you far. Life is unpredictable, so learn to face those challenges head-on with no fear. That’s what makes going out of your comfort zone exciting, because you’re not used to it. If you’re offered a good opportunity, take it, take risks.


10.)Every day is a gift, not everyone is given tomorrow.

Being able to go to school, and be healthy is such an amazing gift in life that a lot of people don’t have. I have learned over the years to be extremely grateful.


11.) Being alone is okay

Not everyone needs a big group of people around them constantly. Take some spare time for yourself and enjoy the peace and quiet. Struggling with this most of life, being alone, I have learned a lot about myself that was so good for my mental health.


12.) Speak for yourself not for someone else

I have learned to speak my mind not under someone’s influence. Think for yourself no matter what everyone else thinks.


13.) Talking to someone you trust helps

Sometimes having everything bottled up inside can cause a lot of stress. Speak to someone you trust, a friend, teacher, or a therapist. I started to talk to a therapist and it has helped me in such tremendous ways. It that has made me feel so much better, to let everything off your shoulders, to let everything go, made me feel so much better.


14.) Friendships can get closer or grow apart

Naturally, certain people will either want to stay with you, or slowly drift away from your life. Not everyone will be there to stand by you and that’s okay. Some people come into your life as blessings and others come into your life as lessons.


15.) Forgive yourself for your mistakes

Move on and focus on the present and let go of the past. If you continue to hold onto those memories, you will never move past them.


16.) Make friends

This is very cliché to say, but make friends, it might be scary in the beginning, but in the end it will be worth it, don’t be scared to be yourself.


17.) This is just the beginning, have fun with your teenage years

I regret not doing a lot in my 17 years, but I have so much more ahead of me. I get so caught up over the little things. Don’t waste your time with people who don’t make you happy. Find things that make you happy and pursue them, be your own person. I have so much more to learn about life, turning 18 is just a new chapter of my life.


At the age of 18, it is important that you face realistic challenges that you must chase to become independent. Becoming an adult holds its benefits and its struggles. For the most part, this new chapter is complicated, exciting and confusing. I know that I will learn a lot this year. Turning 18 comes with a lot of responsibilities, but I am excited for what it holds.  Stay tuned for my next blog: Being an “adult”