19 Things I Learned at 19

Hello Friends! I’m so sorry I have not posted in so long! I haven’t been the best at keeping up on my blog, but I’ve made it a goal to post at least once a week now. Today, I turned 19 years old, the last year of being a teenager. I decided to take some time to reflect on this past year, and write a list of 19 things that I learned at 19. Sorry in advance if some of these sound cliche or cheesy. But everything I wrote comes from my heart, and I hope you find something worthwhile in it. Thank you so much for sticking around, and feel free to subscribe to this blog so you can get notifications whenever I post.

19 Things I Learned at 19 

  1. College can be CRAZY. In so many different ways. College is fun, stressful, emotional, and a time where you can learn a lot about yourself and life all in the span of one year (as cheesy as that sounds). I met some of the most amazing people and I’m so grateful to have made friends that have literally become my family. Also, leaving home can be HARD. Get ready for some tears, on both sides. 
  2. Life can be really confusing. You might not have clarity in your professional life, personal life, or family life, and that’s ok. I feel like everyone holds such a high expectations for people our age, and people feel a lot of pressure to succeed in the eyes of their parents. But take your own time to figure out how you want to go about your own life, because you don’t want to look back and regret that you didn’t accomplish what you wanted to do. 
  3. Give back! Volunteer, donate, make a fundraiser, make your voice loud and clear, get politically active, raise awareness in a cause that you believe in. Do anything you can to give back to your community and make your mark on the world. At 18, I finally got the chance to vote in the midterm election and support the causes that I passionately believe in. The world can be a dark place, and sometimes it seems like no matter what you do, you can never fix anything. But it’s important to contribute, because if everyone contributed, there can be profound change done. 
  4. Get some hobbies! This sounds really simple, but I’ve met so many people close to me have always said things like “man, I wish I sang, or I wish I could play tennis, or I wish I did this.” I used to say these things ALL THE TIME, but now I realized that I could just do them. It’s never too late to join a sport, or an a cappella group, or learn the ukulele (YouTube is a great place for that). Whatever you want to do, don’t let yourself hold you back. 
  5. Read more books for fun! I’ve honestly been so bad at reading nowadays, not because I lack the time for them, but the motivation. But sitting down with a good book in the library with a hot cup of coffee on a Sunday morning- one of the best feelings ever. Some of my favorite books- A Thousand Splendid Suns, Becoming, and Unbroken (you can read more about these in my previous blog post). 
  6. Learn about finances! This is something that is just not taught in public school (I have no idea why), but this could quite possibly be one of the most important lessons a young person going into the real world needs to have. Before college, I had no idea what the difference between a savings and checking account was. I had barely an idea of how stocks worked and was just clueless on budgeting, financial planning, or 401ks. Read up on this stuff, do your research, learn about taxes, so that when it comes time to do this stuff on your own, you won’t be clueless as I was. 
  7. Read about Bitcoin! Following up with number 7, I recently started reading into Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The timing was fitting, as I’m working as a cybersecurity intern, and I’m getting more and more interested in Blockchain and cryptography. After watching a podcast by two of my favorite YouTubers (Michelle Phan and Ryan Higa), I finally got to understand what Bitcoin was, and why it’s such a valued asset.  It’s digital gold y’all!
  8. Catch up with childhood friends! There’s nothing like meeting with your old friends and catching up on life. You know they’re your best friends when you haven’t seen them in years, but it feels like nothing has changed. 
  9. Practice self-care! Everyone always says this, and I know it’s hard to actually do, but trust me, it works! My go-to method is meditation. Check out my meditation playlist on Spotify at audi9000. 
  10. Talk to your grandparents! I haven’t been really good with this, but the more I talk to them, the more I’m in absolute fascination with their life stories. My grandparents are all from India, and it’s so interesting hearing about the experiences they’ve had growing up. My grandpa used to be an English professor and tells me all sorts of stories about his time as a lecturer in India. And he knows everything about everything, literally. He can give a summary of any literature book in existence, or give you a breakdown of the history of any country on Earth.
  11. Be informed! Read the news, know what is going on in the world around you. We are all citizens of this planet, and it’s our responsibility to be aware. 
  12. Reduce social media consumption! This was probably one of the biggest changes I made in my life this year. I would literally waste so many hours of my life surfing on Instagram, watching YouTube videos, and going on Snapchat. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these things, but I truly feel that are generation has a collective addiction to social media and it is becoming somewhat of a disease. What is the point of living through other people’s experiences, when you can create your own? Instagram was rated the worst social media for your mental health, and it’s clear to see why (you can read more on this in one of my other blog posts). 
  13. Health is wealth! Mental health and physical health. Take care of yourself. 
  14. Love yourself. This has something I have admittedly struggled with for a long, long time. It’s so easy to fall into the hole of self-deprecation and self-loathing. It’s also easier said than done to actually be content with yourself. It’s useless to compare yourself to other people or put yourself down constantly. There’s little room for progression and success for people that aren’t confident in themselves or their abilities.But take it one day at a time, and be appreciative of who you are as a human being. 
  15. Be respectful! This is definitely something I’m still working on. You might not agree with everyone and anyone, and this is totally fine. Just be respectful, and move on. If things aren’t working out between another person and yourself, wish them well, and move on with your life. Life is wayyy too short to keep toxic people in your circle and cause you stress. 
  16. Don’t be afraid to branch out! Change is hard, but inevitable. Reach out to people, smile and say hello to the person who is sitting alone at lunch. Or be friendly to the person who decides to sit with you at lunch. College is the perfect time to meet all sorts of people, and make best friends for life. 
  17. Party culture is complicated. America’s party culture is a bit overwhelming, to say the least. And it makes sense, because partying is fun (especially in college). But after going to a few, you might realize that it’s not your scene. Maybe your scene is going on summer night drives with your best friends, with your windows rolled down and music blasting. Maybe your scene is talking about your big dreams and your plans to take over the world. Maybe your scene is playing board games with your family and cooking your favorite food. The point is, it’s OK if you don’t like to party. Don’t shame other people for partying or not partying, the choice is theirs. 
  18. Listen to music! Music has literally been therapy for me, my entire life. There’s hundreds of thousands of songs out there. Pop music, rock music, Spanish music, bollywood music, K-pop, the choices are endless. Follow my playlists on Spotify at audi9000!
  19. Enjoy your life! Do stupid things, and learn from them. Work hard and set goals for yourself. Be kind to other people. Spend time with your parents, who will literally be there for you no matter what. Follow your passions. Keep learning. Travel the world. The world has endless possibilities for you, and it’s up to you to create the life that you want for yourself. Be brave, and enjoy the ride that life takes you on. 

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