2018 has to be by far one of the most challenging yet rewarding years in my life. I’ve grown in so many ways, I’ve learned a lot and have definitely faced some hardships whilst enjoying the endeavours of university. With 2019 just a few days away, I wanted to look at my year in review and reflect on the lessons i’ve learned.

I’m going to be honest with you, if you told me in Grade 12 that i’d be in university studying Sports Science I probably would have laughed at you, but life is full of surprises and here I am, 21 years old and I have just finished my first academic year. I’ve learned a great deal of lessons and allowed myself to be open to new ideas and opinions, 16 year old Jeanna would be proud. I low key wish that my younger self knew the things I know now, isn’t that always the case? It’s also partly the reason i’m writing this – for those people who feel lost, unsure and hopeful but also to look back at the successes of this year before celebrating the new year. Here are 12 things I’ve learned in 12 months.

You’re never too old to follow your dreams.

There are countless articles on how people followed their dreams and became successful in the late stages of their life. I know there is this stigma surrounding what age its deemed unacceptable to go to university but honestly, its a load of bull. You live and you learn, I didn’t know Sport Science was even a thing until last year and that’s what made me apply. Yes, I was frightened because I wasn’t fresh out of school but honestly – as soon as you meet people and start gaining some real friends, no one even looks at your age and more often then not people are more likely to be older than younger. If you want to do it, DO IT!

Not everyone has the same heart as you.

This was a tough pill to swallow but a necessary one. This year showed me that if people wanted to make an effort, they would and that no response is a response. Sometimes people don’t have the same morals or respect for you as you do for them but the way you react to them shows your character more than theirs. I have been heavily disappointed by people I thought i’d be friends with forever but it’s important to remember that those who really care, won’t do that to you!

Everything happens for a reason.

As cliche as this sounds, it really is a way of life. I’m a firm believer in things happening exactly the way they are supposed to even when they didn’t go the way you wanted them too. It’s taken me a long time to teach myself not to get upset over situations I cannot control and to make the most of the turn of events. Once you learn how to enjoy every moment, to the fullest as difficult as it may be sometimes – you’ll live a happier, healthier and richer life (figuratively and literally, I hope)

Celebrate the small victories.

Too often I see people frowning for not getting a better mark than what they had expected or for feeling bad for the things they have achieved, it shouldn’t be like that. It’s important to celebrate the small victories, it those that lead you to the big ones. If you got that job promotion or got that distinction, own it. Don’t feel bad because you’re worried of making others upset, you deserve good things just as much as they do. With that said, learn to give yourself and others credit when it is due!

Everything you need to know is inside your head.

This may not be a lesson I’ve learned but it’s a quote that my sister told me right before I wrote a test that I was extremely nervous for. I have passed it onto every friend, acquaintance and animal. I never thought of it then, and although it may be specifically uni related but when you are nervous for a test or even a big job presentation – whatever it may be and i’m talking moments before when the studying is done and you are waiting in line to go and write/present – this is a very true sentiment to go by. This quote is very simple in it’s manner but the meaning it holds is great. When you have spent so much time and effort on studying for a specific test it’s easy to doubt yourself and make yourself believe that you could have studied more or started studying earlier but in all honesty, there is no use worrying about what you can’t change in that moment. You just have to remind yourself that everything you need to know is inside your head and that you got this!

There are bigger things in life.

This is something that i’ve always known but haven’t practiced all too often. Recently life has shown me how quickly things can turn, how fast something unpleasant can happen and how it’s not worth letting the small things get to you. As cliche as it is, cherish every moment as if it were the last. We all experience things in life differently and no one ever experiences the exact same pain but we need to learn that sometimes it’s not worth getting upset over someone not putting the dishes in the dishwasher or packing the milk away once it’s been used. Life is a beautiful thing and we are so lucky with the fact that we have the opportunity to spend it with those who we love, we gotta make it count! Every single passing second!

Everything is temporary.

There were many times throughout the year where I felt as though the whole universe and everyone inside it was against me, where everything seemed to be going wrong all at once and no one was there besides myself to put it all back together but sitting here, at my desk with a hot cuppa and my cuddle bug of a cat next to me, makes me thankful for those difficult times. It taught me how to be patient, how to be kind to myself and I realised how those feelings, that I thought were never going to go away were only temporary and better things did come from it. It’s important to persevere during those difficult times and have faith that something better is around the corner, because it is you just have to remember to push yourself to get there.

There is so much to be thankful for.

An important thing for me that has helped me get through a lot over the past few weeks is that there is strength in family. I am ever so grateful for my family, if it weren’t for each and every one of them I have no idea where I would be now. When they offer their advice even when I really don’t want to hear it, i’ve learned to listen and absorb what they’re saying and i’m so thankful for that. Life is really a wonderful thing and I have so much to be thankful for besides my family. My friends, my boyfriend that offer me so much support and love, a safe place to live and definitely my animals. I really am a lucky girl.

I am not indestructible.

As much as i’d like to make myself believe I am, i’m not and that’s okay. This is something I often struggle with, I give myself so much to do in a short space of time and when I can’t accomplish it all within a ridiculous amount of hours, I become disappointed with myself. This is something that i’ve started coming to terms with, that i’m not invincible and that I do need 8 hours of sleep and to look after myself frequently. Although it’s something i’ve already started working on, it’s definitely one of my new year resolutions.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and have a safe and Happy New year! x