some lessons.

Have you ever had something hit you so hard that it gave you a stomach ache, but the good kind? Not in the literal sense but in the sense that a lightbulb goes on in your head and you say to yourself, "well duh!"? And it makes so much sense that it makes your stomach ache? Maybe it's just me, but that happened recently.

I'll tell about my trip home later, but over the weekend I had the realization that I've got some big changes to make. They are changes I've known I've needed to make for a while, but I've been procrastinating. I'm living in a place that, while it's been great to me, is not mine anymore. For the last few years, it has been. It's taught me a lot of very important lessons that will carry me into my next phase, and for that I'll forever be grateful for this little college town.

So here are, to me, some of the most important lessons I've learned here. Some were hard, some were fun, and all shaped me and helped kickstart me into my next chapter, which I'm starting to get excited about. And who knows, maybe it'll help a girl who's just about to move into my town to start her new chapter.

1. Be a good friend. Once you're out on your own, you rely on the people who come into your life as much as you do your family. And a few times I learned the hard way that it's so important to treat people the way you want to be treated. The golden rule is a real thing, folks. I'm a natural giver, that's what I like to do. I like to help people. But if you are constantly doing things for someone with nothing in return, it's probably time to think seriously about if that person deserves to stay around.

2. On the flip side of that, be careful who you trust. I hate that I had to learn this, but I learned the hard way. I grew up thinking that everyone had my back, that their intentions were good, which is a great way to grow up. But eventually I learned to become a realist. While most people are on your side, there will be a few who are not. It's important to learn who those people are as quickly as you can. And make sure that people can easily trust you.

3. Keep a constant watch on your bank account. This is important! When you're living paycheck to paycheck, as most college students and recent grads do, it's easy to go a little overboard. *guilty* Learn how to save, but also learn where and when to splurge. Sometimes {and only sometimes}, a new sweater can make a bad day turn out pretty good. Especially if you look killer in it. :)

4. Don't stalk past exes on Facebook, Instagram, etc. I know this sounds like silly advice, but it's true! I seem to be the lucky girl who dates the guy who, about a week after you break up, is dating someone else. And it sucks! So why make yourself sad by keeping up with them? I learned that, by seeing how happy they are without you, it's easy to forget that you're happy, too. And maybe if you're not right now, you will be. I promise.

5. Take pictures. As a freshman I was one of those obnoxious 18 year olds who wanted a picture of EVERYTHING. But as the years went by and I lived with roommates who I relied on for photos, I all but stopped. And I regret that. So find that fine line between obnoxious teenager and "too mature for her own good" 20-something and take some dang photos! Just don't go Instacrazy. Three or more photos of the same event calls for a Facebook album. ;)

I'm sure there are quite a few more lessons I could post, but this is turning into a novel and I'm sure you're bored by now. So these are my top five. If you want more, leave me a nice little comment. :)

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