Things I Learnt In My Teens

Even though I was legally considered an adult in Australia when I turned eighteen, my twentieth birthday is right around the corner, which means this is the last blog post I’ll write as a teen! I thought I’d use this little pocket of time before I enter my twenties (*loud yelling*) to look back on the past few years and reflect on what I’ve learnt, and also to almost give advice to my younger self. All in all, I really enjoyed my teen years – acne, friendship drama, life crises and all – but I definitely went through moments where I learnt lessons that I’ll take with me throughout my life. I’ve been thinking about this post during January and it’s been really nice to write down these thoughts as reminders for the year ahead too. Since I’m overseas at the moment (currently in a hotel in Paris after just being in Florence for three weeks, but that’s neither here nor there) I can’t take my usual style of flatlays for this post. Instead, I thought I’d use snaps of myself in different cities, because if time travel does exist and self conscious 13-year-old Jessica does fly through space and time and get her hands on this post, at least she knows her future is full of travel, great company, and many Insta worthy moments, no matter how sucky she thinks things currently are. If you enjoy this post please give it a “like” and let’s get into the life lessons!

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Don’t feel self conscious about wearing your glasses 13-year-old Jessica! You’ll wear them to the Trevi Fountain when you’re older because you know it’s best to wear them during a long haul flight and you’ll be BEAMING at that landmark and won’t have a care in the world.

13 YEARS OLD | You’ve got all the time in the world. 

I think I’ve repressed most of my middle school memories but year eight was definitely the time where everyone was getting interested in boys, drama, drinking, and the rest, and I just naturally wasn’t. Also, I didn’t want to be. I was more invested in Glee and Robert Pattinson, and I was happy and content with that. I do remember feeling awkward for not being interested in the same things that my group was, but I also remember not pressuring myself to follow everyone else. If I could go back in time, I would reassure myself that I have all the time in the world to worry about those things, and to put another episode of Glee on.

14 YEARS OLD | You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. 

All throughout middle school I thought I would go to the same high school as my older sister, which was more of a creative arts school. But when it came time to apply in Year 9, I realised it wasn’t the best fit for me anymore. During all of Year 6, 7 and 8 I was pretty convinced I’d end up there, so realising I was perfectly fine, if not better, staying on my current pathway and making the decision not to change just for the sake of changing was huge for me! I know not everyone has this experience, but I loved school and I definitely grew more into my own in high school. I joined the debating team and got more confidence, I had supportive friends and I walked out of there with a better OP than I was predicted and was able to get straight into my first choice university degree. I have no idea where I would have ended up if I picked another pathway, but I’m really proud of 14-year-old me for looking at the big picture and making the right choice!

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If I didn’t change schools, I might not have picked this degree, then seen this overseas study tour trip, then made it to Italy or had this photo taken at the Ponte Vecchio! Funny how things work out.

15 YEARS OLD | Know what’s best for you. 

This applies to everything – whether it’s the people you surround yourself with, the subjects you take, the hobbies you devote yourself to and the media you consume, it’s important to know what’s best for you. Sometimes you have to do difficult things in order to benefit and further future you, and sometimes you have to step away and move onto other things.

16 YEARS OLD | Don’t complicate things. 

This lesson was originally called ‘know what you want, know how to get there, and work hard for it’, but dang it not even 19-year-old me can fully do that right now. But what I definitely learnt when I was 16 was ‘don’t complicate things‘. Year 11 is a more important time grades wise than Year 12 as it can make or break your OP, and it’s also the time you’re properly looking into career options. I knew I wanted to have a career somewhere in the field of writing, I knew my journalism degree in mind was an OP5, and I knew I could reach that goal with hard work, determination and support. I got there in the end, and I’m really proud of myself for knowing what I wanted and going straight for it.

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Realised another lesson when uploading this photo: I didn’t know I wanted to study overseas until the option popped up, so say yes to every oppourtunity and freak out later – or in my case smile for your new Facebook cover photo.

17 YEARS OLD | Life isn’t a competition.

Going hand in hand with the lesson above, in my final year of school I knew life wasn’t a competition and that I just had to focus on myself, and that mindset helped me get through all those assignments, exams, and moments of self doubt. I’m so happy I was able to be supported and not get distracted by trying to be the best out of everyone just for the sake of it. Of course sometimes you get wrapped up in it all, but in those times I just remind myself that I’m only in competition with myself and I just need to work on bettering me.

18 YEARS OLD | There’s nothing glamorous about struggling.

I was 18 when I entered my first year of university, and let me tell you, there is nothing glamorous about struggling. The late night hustle, the competition for who can be the most tired, most overwhelmed, most ‘over it’ – call it what you will, but I wanted none of that. I wanted to attend all my classes, complete my assignments to my best ability, and I wanted to be in bed by midnight. I think it’s easy to get caught up in trying to outdo each other in whose university degree/timetable/exam schedule is the worst, but once you take yourself out of that, things don’t seem so daunting anymore.

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I was TERRIFIED during every step of the process when applying for my overseas study tour but I genuinely had an incredible time and met so many wonderful people, so if something scares you, go for it.

19 YEARS OLD | Everything you want is on the other side of fear. 

I cannot for the life of me remember where I saw this quote which is so frustrating because it literally changed my mindset instantly, so much so I made it my main reminder for 2018. I’m a cautious person, and while I feel like I don’t hold myself back in life, I do find a lot of things terrifying. But as soon as I saw this quote, I was filled with motivation and understanding. If something scares you, it’s worth doing, whether it’s learning to drive a car or flying half way across the world for a month and being without your family.

So those are just some of the things I learnt in my teens! I really liked writing this post and seeing how my thinking has developed over the years. If you enjoyed this post, give it a “like” so I know! What are some life lessons you’ve learnt over the years or recently? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to know.

All the love,

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31 thoughts

  1. I love this! I’ve learnt that it’s okay not to have loads of friends and it’s okay to actually enjoy your own company. For so long I thought I needed lots of people around me for me to be happy but this is so far from the truth! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful post with gorgeous photos! I think the need to focus on ourselves and what’s important to our lives is crucial, and I am glad you have managed to do just so. Thank you for sharing your wisdom 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post! I’m approaching my 18th birthday in a couple days and this was great to read. 🙂 I’m now starting to realize “Life isn’t a competition”, which is funny because I am right around the age you would have told yourself that. Keep it up and keep dreaming big! 🙂

    Like

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