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  • Writer's pictureEmma Nickse

18 Things I’ve Learned at 18

What’s up guys? In case you didn’t know, as of September 22nd, I am officially an adult. On one hand, I feel like I’ve entered into uncharted territory as I leave my childhood behind. On the other, I also have the mental space of a 14 year-old and cannot comprehend how I made it this far. A very conflicting predicament. Anywho, from the time I was young to now I have learned so many lessons that shaped me into the person I am today. Mistakes, triumphs, and experiences that taught me so much about myself and my abilities, that ultimately could help someone else down the road. So, without further ado, the 18 things I learned in my 18 years of life.

Don’t Take Yourself (and Life) Too Seriously

This is something that I’m gradually trying to get better at. Life is too fricken short to face anything with a hard head. Have fun with everything you’re doing, even if it’s the most mundane and boring things. Everything doesn’t have to turn out picture perfect (in any aspect of life), so don’t sweat the small stuff. Let loose and do your thang, and accept all trials and victories with an open heart.

2. Get Involved with God

If I didn’t have such a close connection to my church, youth group, and the communities that come with it, I truly wouldn’t be as supported or spiritual as I am now. From mission trips, to becoming close with such a strong group of kids my age, if there’s any way you can get involved spiritually, DO IT. It gave me such a strong foundation and platform to ask questions, get support, and give my life a goal and purpose; to do all the good that I can, for the Lord.

3. You Are Beautiful Even if You Don’t Look Like Her

As we grow older, it’s so easy to compare our bodies to other women, and this was especially true to me. In middle school and the beginning of high school I struggled with how my body wasn’t as thin as I would’ve liked it to be. I was playing club volleyball and going through physical training, so of course my body was more muscular, and what I didn’t realize beforehand was that it was exactly where it needed to be. I was so obsessed with having a thigh gap that I wasn’t appreciating how fast I could run or how hard I could hit the volleyball. Ladies, PLEASE try and fall in love with yourself and learn to be fascinated with everything it can do rather than critique what it doesn’t look like.

4. People Can Change on Surface Level, But Deep Down Most of Their True Self is Set in Stone

For the past two years, this is a lesson that I’ve had to come to terms with. High school is a really complex place with lots of different types of people, so I know this experience is different for everyone. People are so quick to change on surface level aspects, such as who they’re friends with or what’s popular at that moment. However, a once-friend I had  struggled with finding happiness in me and other people instead of within themselves, something I tried to help them with numerous times. Just as I thought they had understood what I was trying to teach them (that true happiness comes from within yourself and a relationship with God as opposed to other people), it was like a switch flipped and they would start doing the exact same thing over again, causing a bigger rift between us. Unfortunately, it affected both our relationship and my health, and it made me become a person I never wanted to be.  I was so confused and upset why they were able to change so quickly in the eyes of others, yet the same problems would reoccur between us. The thing is, although in some cases I could be wrong, most people have habits or personality traits that can’t be changed, no matter how many times you try and help them. Although I thought trying to stay and help was me being a good friend, I should’ve thought more about myself and how badly it was consuming my life. In the end they left me, so this shaped me to be weary of how many chances I give a person, and to not put up with reoccurring problems in any kind of relationship.

5. Parents Are (almost) Always Right

Man oh man, I WISH I listened to my parents sooner about a lot of things. What to wear, who to be friends with, who to let go, all of it was the best advice I sometimes didn’t take. My dad is basically the same exact person as me, and he knows exactly how I feel. So take a leaf out of your parent’s book.

6. Finding Someone with the Exact Same Humor as You is the Literal Best Thing

I cannot tell you how much my life has been filled with laughter because of our same taste in memes, inside jokes, and spontaneous outbursts of laughter. You know when you have that person in your life, and honestly it’s one of the most uplifting and amazing pluses in life. I totally encourage you to find that.

7. There is Beauty in Being Vulnerable

Most of my life I felt embarrassed or weak if I cried in front of someone. I felt afraid to express how I really felt in fear of being judged, misunderstood, and looked down upon. Well, fortunately I’m here to say that that mindset is crap, and now I live to be vulnerable. Being so willing to offer up a piece of yourself to someone shows the ultimate trust in the one receiving it, and to be quite frank, crying is awesome. You get to let out all those negative emotions, and the sleep afterwards is bomb. So, now I’ve learned to seek quality in a friendship by how vulnerable I can be with them. To be vulnerable is to be your truest, rawest self, and if you’ve seen that just know you’re a special one.

8. Eat Your Food

Your body is what is protecting you, what is providing you the opportunity to live. Over the past couple years I’ve been mistreating it by not eating as much as I should’ve due to very bad anxiety. I know this sort of thing is very personal to every individual, but knowing and fully understanding that in order for my body to be loved and functional, it must eat. The Lord made my body in the way He saw fit, so it’s only right to take care of it the best I can. If you’re having trouble with that or any sort of bodily imbalance, PLEASE go to a doctor and start that healing now, so you have a better tomorrow.

9. Early College was the Best Decision I Ever Made


10. Take All the Trips and Take All the Pics.

11. Coffee is the Ultimate Food

Yes, I said food. It is EVERYTHING. I drink it religiously, and that bean juice has made me stay up until hours I didn’t think possible. I love the aesthetic, the vibe, and what it represents. A lil peep of my inner coffee snob.


Doing extensive research for a speech taught me just how important bees are for our world. They power the agricultural industry, and without them we’d only have four years left to live. I encourage you all to support your local beekeeper and dig a little deeper to find how you can play your part in saving the species.

13. Treasure Beach Drives with the People You Care About

You never know when you’ll be able to do it again.

14. Literally Do Not Let People’s Opinions of You Be the Fire That Burns You


15. Kill em with Kindness

Something I’m still trying to practice.

16. It Makes Me Happier to Give than to Receive

I would rather spend my paycheck on other people than for my own benefit (except maybe for food. That’s all I spend my money on these days)

17. It’s OK to Say No

18. I’m Still Learning

How to love, live, lead, and grow. So I cut myself some slack every so often, and know that I have learned so much already and that there’s always something to come ahead.



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