Things I Wish I Could Tell 18 Year Old Me

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Motivational Quote

Part of me thinks the past eight years have gone really quickly but at the same time being 18 years old feels like an eternity ago. This time eight years ago I was getting ready to sit my A Level exams and enter adulthood upon leaving school. School and education itself feels like a long time ago, in fact I had a little freak out when I realised that I graduated five years ago this summer. Where the bloody hell does time go?! When you’re in school you think you’ll go to university, leave, land your dream job, find the person you’re destined to marry and settle down, but sadly doesn’t quite work out like that.

Here are some things I wish I could tell 18-year-old me:

Take advantage of work experience and internships

Although I kept my job while at university it was a lot more flexible than others and I could go from working 40 hours in a week to 10 depending on my needs. I wish I could tell myself to take advantage of this flexibility and do more work experience and internships and reduce working to just weekends. When you leave education and get a full-time job it’s nigh on impossible to get these experiences as it requires time off work. I remember taking a week off work to do a weeks’ work experience at NME and it was depressing using up a week when I was still working.

get a job

Join societies when at university

I lived at home so didn’t have the standard university lifestyle that many people had but I wish I could tell myself to take advantage of what was there. Join some societies and make some friends, perhaps ones you’d keep for a long time after leaving. I see friends of mine who lived away and had such active social lives and still see people they went to uni with regularly and I wish for that.

Try to work out what you actually want to do with your life

When you leave university you tend to just fall into any old job if you don’t have a plan. For me I ended up staying in my retail management role for over three years after graduating. While it was great pay and allowed me to buy my own property I always felt a bit behind when it came to a career as I was starting at the bottom a few years later than everyone else. I know not everyone decides what they want to do at university but I didn’t even start to think about it.


Write as much as you can

Music journalism was always a pipeline dream for me but it wasn’t until I was about 22 that I realised that it was a possibility. You can write for online publications and while you may not get paid you get to go to shows, interview bands and get these amazing experiences. As a music editor now within reason I can go to any show or festival I want to and I have some great contacts within the industry but I wish I’d started this earlier. I have people on my team who are 18 years old and still doing their A-Levels or in their first year or uni and I think how much I wish I had done that and began things earlier.

Don’t let a boy come in between your family

When I was 20 I had a boyfriend who had quite an intense argument with my brother which led to us not speaking for about 2 and a half years. These years were rough on my family because he wouldn’t be in the same room as me so we didn’t have family meals out or even Christmas’ (he would come on Christmas eve when I was working in retail and spend Christmas day at his girlfriends’ when I was with my family). Despite breaking up with the boyfriend in question six months after the argument it took years for our relationship to sprout again. I wish I could tell myself to ditch the idiot who ended up hurting me anyway as family is way more important.

best friends

It’s better to have a few great friends than loads of okay ones

Friends can sometimes seem like a numbers game you want to have loads of people to go out with but how many of them are super close friends? I certainly think when I was younger I tried to have lots of groups of friends, people I would go out and get drunk with but very few who I connected enough to be able to call upon anytime. I went through a lot of years around university feeling like if I had a problem, or wanted to talk about boys, or moan about something that I had no one close enough to do so with. I wish I could tell myself that it isn’t a numbers game.

What do you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?

April 20, 2016
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  • Laura

    I lived at home when at uni too. Really regret not getting involved in societies more! xxx

  • Hindsight is a wonderful thing. There are times in everyone’s life when we look back that perhaps we should have done things differently but as long as the choices we made were done with the best intentions that’s all that matters

  • Hungry_Healthy_Happy

    Lots of great advice! I would tell myself not to stress over things that really don’t matter. When I was 18, there were certain things that I thought were the end of the world and they really weren’t. No, 13 years later (wow, had it really need that long?) I realise that I didn’t need to worry.

  • sarah Lea

    I’d tell my 18 year old self these things too! Especially the don’t let a boy come between you and family! Oh how I wish I had listened to my mum! Great advice and great post. xx

  • I wish I had joined more societies at uni too – just seemed like there was never the time! Not enough hours in the day.

  • Tori Gabriel

    Oh wow. So many things I wish I could have told 18 year old me. I would probably tell her not to stress so much. Things will work out.

  • Kira L Curtis

    I’m 19 next week but I’d tell my 18 year old self (a year ago) that I don’t need to worry myself about not going to uni and that I should try focus more on the things I enjoy, things like my blog, getting a job/work experience in a job I like etc. Then maybe I would be stuck in my awful job now!

  • Harriet @ Toby&Roo

    Oh god, the list is too long. Way to long. Don’t get married, get a career, don’t fob off university for a boy… we’re grazing the surface. I’d also like to point out that those hot pants? No. Just no.

  • The Nice Nest

    Some good points raised! I would say this is just the start, continue to learn, be open to opportunities, be less anxious and value those close to you.

  • There is so much I would like to tell myself, mainly things will get worse, but they will then get better – ride the wave and it will all end up OK. x

  • Beth

    Oh there are so many things i wish i told myself at a younger age! never ending list x

  • Hellznails

    There’s so many things I wish I could tell my younger self! Giving up uni for a boy (yes I did that *sigh*) is the main one for me x

  • I agree with all you have said here. If only we knew back then x

  • What a great post. I often look back to my late teens and early twenties and think about things I wish I’d known or understood better.

  • Deborah Nicholas

    Great post and working on one of these myself with some of the same advice…mainly re boys and friends lol

  • I’d have told myself not to get upset at not having ‘freinds’ work friends & family keep you going..

  • mummyslittlemonkey

    I would tell myself: don’t worry about people who don’t like you. Don’t get caught up in bitchy girl gossip – women have enough discrimination to contend with, without tearing each other down too – and ALWAYS speak out and stand up for your friends, and your beliefs. x

  • Your right I wish that I could have realized that a few great friends is better than loads that don’t give a s**t and that is partly why I have less friends than before because I got rid of the toxic ones.

  • So many great tips! I’m trying to best to tackle all of these things so I don’t end up writing a similar letter to my younger self. I’m definitely glad I’ve done a fair bit of work experience before I graduate. I’ve been able to test a lot of things which has given me career ideas!

  • I’m afraid I’ve let a few of these things mess me up from time to time. The good thing is that I’ve learned lessons from mistakes.

  • Ah I love this – I would tell myself to travel and see the world before I had any responsibilities x

  • kitty kaos

    Oh man 18 year old me wouldn’t listen but I would have so much to say xx

  • Ickle Pickle

    This is brilliant – I am going to forward it to my 19 yo daughter who is in Uni, how great for her to read it whilst she is still that age. Thank you. Kaz x

  • Very good advice, Boy I wish I were 18 again lol

  • Charli Louise Bruce

    I think I would have told my 18 year old self it was okay to spend more time at home and enjoy my daughter as I as I missed out on so much of her life until she was around 3 and I took a back seat from my career, I had to my life pretty much too together back then as I had my own home, a one year old and had just qualified as a hairdresser so was building my career I think I forgot to be young and to enjoy being a mum because I was so busy busting a gut to provide the best for my family.

  • Tanya Brannan

    Love this post, and every point you have made is so so true! There is a lot I could tell my 18yr old self. I do find myself wishing I could turn back the clock in some ways.

  • i really do agree with the internships etc. ive never done any and i totally regret it

  • Laura

    I completely agree with taking advantage of work & internships & also joining societies at uni – I was too nervous to ever attend any!

    L x

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