10 Teenage Lessons We Should Take With Us Into Our 20s

by Paulina Jayne Isaac

Entering a new decade proved to be as exciting and bittersweet as I imagined.

Although I am in no way an expert and most likely have more to learn, it would be a waste to leave my teen years behind without some reflection.

Between the drama, hormones and broken hearts, here are 10 lessons we learn from those formative years:

1. Focus more on yourself and less on boys.

Yes, boys are dreamy and confusing, and they will drive you crazy.

Don’t put all your value in what they think of you. Put more importance in what you think of yourself.

2. Flirting is a craft; master it.

Learn the art of charm. Flirting doesn’t necessarily come easy to all.

Hone the craft because it will prove to be beneficial later in life, whether that means connecting with that cute guy in your class or just scoring a free drink at a bar.

3. High school isn’t the best time of your life; college is.

High school is nothing like the movies make it out to be.

I was waiting for some "High School Musical" meets "She's The Man" hybrid school. However, that is the furthest from what I got.

You will be disappointed.

The teachers are less enthusiastic, the sports are less exciting and the dating scene is bleak.

The good news? College is even better than the movies make it out to be (so choose wisely).

4. Don't label yourself.

Isn’t it about time we ditch the “good girl” versus “bad girl” persona?

Stop thinking so much about which label you fit into or what people think about you.

Develop your own morals, and follow those.

5. Just because a subject doesn’t come naturally, it doesn’t mean you’re not smart.

You don’t understand geometry, so what? I guarantee you won’t need it in 10 years.

Take this time to accept that not everything in life comes easy, and accept that learning can be challenging.

You’re not stupid; you’re human.

6. You are stronger than you think.

I know that every mean comment and every backstabbing moment feels like the end of the world.

It’s not.

You will survive the mean girls, the immature boys and family drama.

There is life after high school.

7. Appreciate your parents.

No matter how much they upset you or don’t understand you, you should love them more than anything.

Sometimes, your family really is all you’ve got.

Appreciate them, forgive them and stifle the urge to kill them.

8. Friends are the family you choose; choose wisely.

You know the old saying, “Birds of a feather, flock together?” It’s true.

Your friends will rub off on you, and you will rub off on them.

Don’t waste your time spending time with people who will have a negative impact on your character.

Know the kind of person you want to be, and surround yourself with people who embody those characteristics.

9. Pets don’t live forever; appreciate them.

That puppy you think you’ll have forever will not be in your life forever.

The cat who you consider family will one day not be in your life anymore.

Spend time with your pets, and love all over them.

You’ll miss them once you move out.

10. Follow your passion, no matter how much it terrifies you.

Eighteen is way too young to be jaded about your dreams.

In fact, any age is too young to be jaded about your dreams.

Follow what ignites the fire within you.

Be innovative, be smart and stop at nothing to make your dreams come true.