13 Things We Wish We Could Tell Our Younger Selves: A Guide for Graduating Seniors

May 10th, 2016 by Search Influence Alumni

Younger Self Advice
Life is hard, and the realization that hindsight is 20/20 truly resonates the older we get. From lighthearted life lessons to heavy-hitting hardships, 13 Influencers share the raw, real, honest, and wholehearted advice that they would give to their younger selves.

1. “My mother died when I was 17. It was about three weeks after Hurricane Katrina uprooted me from my freshman year down here at Loyola, and the combination one-two punch really traumatized me. The entire trajectory of the rest of my younger years definitely hinged on those two incidents. I’d love to be able to tell my younger self that it’s okay to get help when you need it, and that bottling up all of my anxiety just to release it as anger, while natural, isn’t healthy. Being stuck in a mental rut isn’t a weakness. It’s a chance for strength.” — Mattie, Web Developer

2. “I’d tell my younger self that she’s on the right path. Right after college, it felt like I dropped off into a pit of nothingness. I had planned out my whole life, and then when I got to taking the next step, it wasn’t what I wanted anymore. I took some time to reflect, took a big leap of faith, and it all worked out. So, I’d tell myself to keep passionately following whatever has caught her interest most recently. As long as you are moving forward, it’s all going to be okay!” — Shaye, Internet Marketing Team Lead

3. “Just go with the flow. Once I stopped trying to fit myself into a particular life path, I started to actually find out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.” — Sarah Jane, Senior Internet Marketing Associate

Optimize Your Mind

4. “Don’t waste your time with people that don’t deserve it! Keep your goals in mind.” — Anthony, Senior Account Associate

I Give Myself Good Advice

5. “I once got some great advice from a teacher, even though I’m still working on following it: Don’t forget that the only person you’re really competing with in life is yourself. So your goal should be to grow stronger every day than you were the day before, and to make yourself proud!” — Aubrey, Internet Marketing Team Lead

6. “To my kid former-self: Never bully someone, and don’t sit idly by when you see it happening to someone else.  To my teenage former-self: Don’t get hung up on the dumb stuff that happens in high school. It won’t matter in five years. To my college former-self: Prepare yourself better for adulthood. Loans are bad. Experience is imperative. And finally, just in general: Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone when you are young. You’ll be glad you did later.” — Chris, Senior Internet Marketing Associate

7. “Don’t be pressured by all those cute pictures on Instagram. I have found that women (especially) tend to negatively compare themselves against where their friends are in life — ‘If she is engaged, married, having a baby, etc. then I need to be doing that stuff, too.’ I implore you — DON’T RUSH THROUGH THOSE LIFE EVENTS JUST SO YOU CAN CHECK THEM OFF OF YOUR TO-DO LIST. People progress at different times. Fall in love at different times. It is ok to be a bridesmaid 10 times and an aunt two times. Wait for the right one and the right time for you. And, yes, it will come.” — Melissa, Marketing and PR Manager

Note to Self: ALL is Good

8. “I would tell my younger self not to worry so much. Everything is going to work out. Just keep focusing on the goal. Let all the noise fade. #KeepCalmAndCarryOn” — Candice, Junior Internet Marketing Associate

9. “Always do your best to live in the moment and appreciate what you have!” — Erica, Production Manager

10. “If I could tell myself one thing, it would be DON’T devalue yourself! Whether that relates to relationships, jobs, or even smaller aspects of life, don’t forget that you are worth something. Look at your accomplishments, how far you’ve come since high school, and don’t discount your potential. Some people seem to be born with confidence, and others have to work at it. If I could go back to my younger self, I would tell her that she doesn’t have to stay in a dying relationship; she doesn’t have to accept a minimum wage job with a master’s degree, and she has the merits to go farther than she thinks possible. I’d also tell myself that you don’t have to compare yourself to others so much, which is a dangerous road to devaluing yourself.

That being said, it’s important to know your limits and stay humble, but if your lack of confidence means you’re shying away from opportunities that can only build you up, you’ve got to be reminded that you DO have what it takes to pursue your goals! These reminders are things I still have to tell myself, but I think it’s very important to worry about being the best YOU can be, not being who someone else already is. You’ve got this!” — Laura, Account Associate

11. “I would have been more patient upon graduating—taken some time for myself to truly figure out what I want to do and what my passions are. If that meant taking on a smaller intern role to figure things out, then I should have done that. I should have gotten my ducks in a line before entering the workforce. For example, I had various internships: event planning, internal marketing, etc., and I never took the time to evaluate which was the best fit for me.” — Caroline, Account Associate

12. “One piece of advice I would give my younger self is that life is not over after college. College may be the golden years that you will remember fondly, but there is so much to look forward to after college. While one chapter of your life is drawing to a close, it is really exciting to see what the next chapters will have in store (new job, grad school, meeting new people, moving across the country, etc.). There is plenty to look forward to!” — Jensen, Account Associate

13. “Make the choices that make the best stories.” — Josh, Senior Internet Marketing Associate

Life is messy, and oftentimes unexpected events throw unwanted curveballs when we couldn’t possibly be more unprepared. A particular song that I absolutely love by the band known as Bright Eyes comes to mind when I think about advice that I’d give to my former self. The lyrics to this song titled, “Cleanse Song,” go as follows: ‘Don’t forget what you learned; all you give is returned, and if life seems absurd, what you need is some laughter.’