25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years

I made a video recently going over 25 things I’ve learned in my 25 years of life so far, mainly things I have learned in the last 5 years or so. Some of the lessons are serious and some are silly, but they have all shaped who I am today. Feel free to watch the video and/or keep on reading!

I would love to hear some similar lessons that you have learned or any wisdom you can share with me (maybe I’ll make an updated list when I’m 30!).

25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years Video

The lessons:

1. Student loans are a huge burden, but I had no way of understanding that until after I took them on and finished college. If you’re thinking about going to college, you also want to think about what it will be like to live with only $100 or so left over after bills. Some people have it a lot worse than me too, and are forced to live with their parents without the possibility of affording rent. I really wish there was more of an emphasis on the huge undertaking that student loans are and personal finance in general in high schools.

2. At the same time, it’s okay to get that latte. If that’s the one nice thing you’re splurging on, you’re allowed to treat yourself as long as you’re able to do so and still survive. Don’t let the media guilt you into living just to work and not to enjoy your life in even the smallest ways.

3. Sometimes you will have to sacrifice the little free time you have to make more money, or choose the free time over the spending money if that’s possible for you and your living situation. When I started my current full-time job, I had a second job on Sundays as a makeup artist at Sephora. That was too stressful, so I quit after a little while. However, I found myself missing the extra money and was very paycheck-to-paycheck, so I took on a less intense second job.

That Sephora tunic though.

4. Meal prepping is always worth it, even if you already cooked dinner for that night and you don’t feel like it. You will appreciate that time you spent later. I’m not always good at doing this, but I deeply value it’s importance and am happy when I do it. One of my coworkers is the queen of meal prep, and I envy her every day that I go spend $5-$10 on lunch.

5. It’s more difficult to find friends as an adult, but there’s less pressure to talk to them all the time like when you’re younger, and it’s easy to catch up.

6. Your body changes drastically in your teens, but also in your 20s. It never ends. And acne can continue into adulthood. Great.

7. It’s important to note anything off or different with yourself physically. Some weird symptoms may add up to something you may not easily notice. But don’t freak out about every little symptom either. It’s a fine balance that I still struggle with.

8. Sweaters. Don’t put them in the dryer unless you’re absolutely sure they won’t shrink. I’ve made this mistake twice recently. That’s what I get for never learning to do laundry until I moved out at the age of 22. (However, I learned after posting my video that you can fix this problem by using conditioner on the sweater).

I wore a few of my favorite sweaters in this look book.

9. If you want to advance in your career, you need to stand up for yourself, be professional, and continue learning new skills. If you don’t take on new things, you will stagnate and become frustrated. I use Lynda.com a lot to learn new skills. I learned how to edit videos on Premiere Pro through this, and I’ve used it to learn things with Photoshop, After Effects, and more. (Pro tip: you can get a free account if you sign up online for a library card with the Free Library of Philadelphia, and maybe others do this too?).

10. Tell your friends that you love them and appreciate them. Tell people when you notice something they’re good at. Compliment people. These things will make you feel good and brighten their day.

Be like Leslie Knope

11. Try to use your down time as an advantage, but don’t forget self care too. I sometimes forget that part and burn out, so I try to make a list of what I want to get done, do at least half of it, and then assess whether I should keep going or stop and watch tv, play a video game, maybe light a candle and read, or something else relaxing.

12. Relationships are about choosing one another, prioritizing time together, and using empathy in communicating.

13. If you find something fun but you aren’t good at it, keep doing it anyway(This is me with skiing and most video games).

I’m not great at video games, but I got that master sword in Breath of the Wild.

14. Potatoes are the perfect food. They’re filling and you have a great variety of options for preparing them.

15. Mental health is tricky and there are many things you may have to re-learn when thinking about or communicating about this. You may not even realize you experience mental health problems because of how poorly it’s portrayed in culture and media.

A video going over my favorite podcasts. I may to an updated version.

16. If you have a commute of more than 20 mins, audiobooks (I use Scribd for the post part) and podcasts are life changing. They allow you to be productive instead of feeling like you’re wasting time.

17. Networking is hard, but what it’s really about is some weird balance between friendship and working together/professionalism. (My friend Caitlin Elizabeth Harper is always coming out with great content about networking. You should follow her.)

18. I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned is how to listen and try to consider how others are feeling or react to things I could say. That’s something I really struggled with as a teen.

19. Understanding my privilege was a good and important lesson that allows me to try to understand different perspectives from people who have lived very differently from me. I add to this lesson everyday with new interactions. This concept is not “snowflake nonsense” if you are inclined to think that way. It involves going about the world being a good, kind, considerate person.

20. There’s no “what you want to be when you grow up.” You’re always still growing and becoming the person that you are.

21. If I could re-do college, I would have taken the classwork a little less seriously and had a little bit more fun. I’ve learned that your GPA doesn’t matter in the work world as long as you get a 3.5 or above, unless you plan to go to grad school. I wish I focused more on actually learning new skills instead of just writing papers that earned As.

My senior honors thesis in college written on the books within the books in Harry Potter

22. Sometimes it’s worth getting in an argument with your family, like when someone does something consistently that is uncomfortable or upsetting, and sometimes the energy you use changes nothing and just makes everyone angry.

23. If you’re drawn to something for a long time, it’s probably worth investing your time into. I really loved watching YouTube videos for years before I even thought about starting my own channel. But I loved it so much that it was easy to essentially study others’ channels and learn to film and edit. If there’s something magnetizing like that for you, it’s worth looking into or trying.

John and Hank Green, aka the Vlogbrothers — the first YouTube channel I watched with fervor

24. When I get stressed out, I’ve learned to write a list of all the things I need to do, which helps to de-clutter my mind. I will write all of the larger and smaller scale things, from a video idea I haven’t started yet to remembering to do dishes or send an email. This is one of the keys to my productivity and organization.

In addition to lists, I like using a bullet journal and habit tracker.

25. I always feel better when I fit working out into my schedule. It really helps my irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. But I still have a hard time prioritizing this over being productive in other ways. I tend to focus on working out for a week or two then focus on projects for a week or two, constantly flip-flopping between them.

I’ve learned a lot about friendship, work, relationships, and mostly money, and I can’t wait to keep learning. If you want me to expand on any of these in a future post, I’m more than happy to. Feel free to comment about some of the same things you’ve learned, or something you learned that I didn’t mention! If you’re older, what’s a big life lesson you’ve learned past 25?

25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years