Things I wish someone had told me at 18

Last week I wrote about the fear of getting towards 30 and not having achieved things. Since then I have been thinking about things I wish someone had told me before I hit my 20s. Once I started thinking I came up with quite the list, turns out growing up is full of learnings.

Nobody cares you get a 1st

Really. Once you leave uni nobody cares what degree you got or what grade you got, just that you got one and it was at least a 2i. After you’ve been in the world of work for a couple of years they don’t even really care about that. Spend your time at uni more wisely than studying!

Do that year abroad

One of my biggest regrets is that I had the chance to do a year abroad in the US or Canada in my second year of uni and I turned it down. I didn’t get to spend a year abroad until several years later when I went to live and work in Orlando. That year was amazing, I gained so much confidence and had incredible experiences. Going out of your comfort zone and going far away from the people you already known is a life-defining experience. Do it, travel, screw the nerves!

Make the most of those uni opportunities

You will never be able to do as many things at the same time as you will at uni. I was lucky enough to help produce 6 musicals, hours of TV, a dance show and several charity events. In the real world you will never have this many opportunities again and you definitely won’t have as much time to commit. Make the most, the opportunities are incredible. And to point one, screw the degree!

Go out out, while you can

My year in America involved 5 nights out out most weeks. My years at uni were never quite so wild. Once you leave uni and get a big boy job you just can’t. Go wild, you might regret it at the time but you will never regret it looking back. Those £1.50 drinks don’t exist once you are over 25!

You don’t need your dream job straight away

It is super tempting to be disappointed that your first grad job is not changing the world and doing exactly what you want to be doing for the next 40 years. Where once that job defined your career that is so not the case today. Many people will have 10s of different jobs in their lifetime and some even many different career paths. Take something from every job and take it to the next one – be it a skill or an experience it is all valuable. I would not be where I am today without the five jobs I did before it.

Everyone’s terrified, even if they don’t look it

This one has taken me a long time. I used to be terrible walking into a room of people I didn’t know. I had this entirely irrational thought that all these people had known each other for years and had no interest in me whatsoever. Age has taught me this is not true (obviously). Everyone is terrified, almost all the time. Nobody thinks they are doing it right. So the key is be confident, put yourself out there. This is especially true at work. Want to get promoted? Someone a lot more senior than you needs to know who you are, what you are about and how you think . They are not going to get to know the quiet guy hiding in the corner. They don’t know who you are if you don’t speak up.

What would you tell your younger self? Leave a comment below

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