19 Things I Learned By 19

This weekend I turned 19—yay! Among the celebrations and cake, I’ve found myself reflecting on the past year of my life. It’s been an interesting one: from moving away to university to beginning my studies in journalism to trying to make sense of these crazy political times. I’ve blogged throughout it all, of course, but I haven’t been blogging for my entire life (could you imagine?). I’ve learned a lot this year, both about myself and about life. I’ve also learned a lot in other years—so I decided that, to commemorate my 19th birthday, I would share 19 things that I have learned thus far in my life.

1. I am happiest when I am writing. I love getting into the rhythm of writing every day—be it fiction, blog posts or even just journal entries. I could be super busy with schoolwork and studying, but if I can make time to write then I am happy. Writing doesn’t feel like work—and that’s how I know it’s what I truly love to do.

2. Hard work pays off, even if you don’t see the results right away.

3. On a similar vein—what seems like a failure is often an opportunity to be redirected to something better. I can’t count the amount of times that this has proven true in my life. When one door closes, another one opens; you just have to be willing to move past the closed door to explore the new opportunity that lies ahead.

4. Yes, you will make friends. This was my primary concern going to a university where I could count the number of people I knew on the fingers on my right hand. My worries haunted me for the first few days after I moved into residence—and then, at journalism orientation, I met my now best friends. I think my worries actually propelled me into being more social, though. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change anything.

5. Being kind, compassionate and optimistic are strengths—and don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you differently.

6. Set big goals and then break them into bite-sized chunks. I love Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s quote, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” If you can balance big dreams with achievable mini-goals along the way, you can work towards achieving amazing things!

7. Never underestimate the power of honesty. Whether it’s being honest with a friend, or even being honest with yourself in your own thoughts, there is power in telling the truth.

8. Both inside and outside of school, life is full of learning opportunities.

9. Sometimes life doesn’t make sense. And sometimes it does. Life is weird—but, in the words of Oscar Wilde, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”

10. It is going to be OK. It sounds like such a cliché, but it’s really true. At the beginning of this year when I was moving away to university I wish I would have known how happy I am now. My year was more than OK—it was fantastic. And knowing that that experience, which I was worried about, turned out to be fantastic reminds me that other things that I am concerned about now can, and quite probably will, turn out to be great, too.

11. Leaving your comfort zone is the best way to grow. It’s challenging, but it can really pay off to jump and find your wings on the way down.

12. You can’t always be happy, but you can make a conscious decision to be positive. Positivity is a mindset that can eventually help you find happiness.

13. Similarly, you can’t choose what happens to you in life but you can choose how you react to it. (Hint: reacting with optimism helps.)

14. Work hard, but don’t forget to find time to relax. This is something I struggle with sometimes—I can get so focused on my goals and my endless to-do lists that I convince myself that relaxing is a waste of my time. But it’s not—I’ve learned that if I relax then I have more energy to be productive! It’s a win-win.

15. In the words of Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

16. You never know how what is happening now will impact you in the future. The not-for-profit organization I’m currently working for during the summer is where I did my placement during high school. Obviously in high school, I had no clue that I’d come back as an employee—and yet, here I am!

17. “Take it day by day” was a piece of advice my dad gave to me when I was feeling overwhelmed at the beginning of this year. I like to think about, and plan for, the future—but it’s also important to focus on taking each individual day as it comes.

18. Laughter makes everything better. I have an affinity for puns and bad jokes. Sometimes (most of the time) I’m the only one who laughs, but I don’t let that discourage me from trying to make others laugh!

19. Be kind. The world needs more people who are kind not because it poses some benefit to them, but simply because they have good hearts. Your kindness could make a huge difference in someone’s life, and it could have an incredibly positive impact on the world.


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94 thoughts on “19 Things I Learned By 19

  1. Wishing you many many happy returns of the day,Happy Birthday!I am so happy to know you.Have a great year ahead!The post is what I needed to read today.Thank you so much.Loads of love!

  2. What an outstanding article you wrote Sherina.

    I would rate it one of the best things I’ve read all week, and amazingly from someone very young.

    You have wisdom far beyond your years.

    I look forward to seeing all the great things you accomplish years to come and I wish you the best in everything you do.

    My name is Paulette Le Pore Motzko and it is a joy to write new material on my blog that is called TotallyInspiredMind.com.

    There’s also blessing energy way to meet people like you common learn about you through your words and your blog here in WordPress. I searched on the reader the word positivity in your story came up. I am so happy it did.

      1. I am so happy you loved what Sherina-wrote too. It makes me so happy to see my followers talking among one another. I am trying to figure out more ways I can encourage that.

        Paulette Motzko

  3. I really love those ones about having big dreams – they really do seem unachievable sometimes, but it’s true that they’re still possible. Which goes with the positivity one as well I guess, something I need to work on 🙂 And happy birthday!

  4. #1 on the list is a very special habitat to get into. I still struggle to set aside time to write and it’s a great habit to develop so young; it’s something I certainly envy.

  5. Happy 19th birthday Sherina. I am so impressed with your blog, which I have just discovered. You write so beautifully and from your heart -well done! BTW this list is soo good – it’s better than anything else of this kind that I’ve read elsewhere on the internet, and believe me I’ve read a lot of them! Keep up the good work

  6. I know you talked about how you’re happiest when you’re writing but do you have a certain schedule you follow during the year? I’m a student too and I’m trying to figure out how to balance blogging and school.

    1. That’s a good question! I used to stick to a schedule of posting every Sunday, but this year I decided to just kind of go with the flow and post whenever I felt like it. Strangely, with that “non-schedule” I’ve been posting more than usual! I do try to write about one post a week, though–and if I have some extra time I will pre-write posts for when I get busier. Hope that helps! 🙂

  7. Happy belated birthday!! I just came across your blog and I actually just wrote the same post but it’s scheduled to go up on my birthday (July 28th!) I agree on all of your points and actually have similar ones. Amazing post and can’t wait to read more from you!

  8. Hello, happy belated birthday. I just got on word press this week and started a blog. I wonder how you got so good. I’m 17 doing an anonymous blog. It’s cool to see someone so young be so successful, it’s inspiring. Do you have any advice on how to be a better blogger? And your advice was really good and helpful because I just graduated and am about to start college in a few weeks.

  9. LOVED THIS!!! I’m approaching my Thirties (eeeek) but I agree 100% with your list… I would also add a number 20 if I may: Love yourself!!! Its something nobody ever really teaches us to do, although it becomes vital as you get older!!

  10. All that you have written also makes sense to my life right now as a young adult. I just can totally relate. Anyway, hoping you a success for all your endeavors in life Sherina! 🙂

  11. 19 Things you learnt by the time you are 19 years old waw it looks like you learnt each year one more thing hhhhh. Wishing you long life as you enjoy your celebration.

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