20 Top Tips For The Under 20s

On the 15th of August, in 1 and a half weeks (eeeeeeeek), my rocky teen journey ends and I finally become 20! They’ve been difficult to say the least – in fact, all the mistakes/problems you think a teen could make/face, I could probably tell you a story or two, so I think I’ve earned enough experience to mark the end of an era with some advice for all those struggling through. I’m aiming it at the ladies, as I am a lady (duh), but most of these could be applied to both genders, so fellas stick with me!

You ready? Here goes…

1) Whatever your passion is, go and do it – a lot. I promise you when you’re older and figuring out your next month’s budget, your ballet class will not realistically be on that list, and if it is then please show me how! If your parents are kind and supporting enough to chuck money at your hobbies, thank them with all your heart. If not, do what you can to earn the money to go and do it – clean the next door neighbour’s car or walk the dog, if you’re old enough get a part time job, its a very small price to pay to follow your dreams.

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2) No job is ever, and I mean EVER, beneath you. When you’re finally old enough to go and get your first part time job, bare in mind you have zero experience, and no matter how fabulously bubbly your personality is, for you to be employed without that is a very big risk. Carry this mantra with you for your entire life – this is coming from the girl who took a part time job at maccies to last the first few months at Uni. Any job is better than no job.

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3) Take loads and loads of photos. And make back ups of them all. As a general rule in life, I try to take photos of every single thing I do. Realistically, how much of what you were doing at 14 are you going to remember when you’re 80? Probably not much – every photo you don’t take is a memory you’re going to lose. Snap away!

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4) They’re lying – you’ll probably never use algebra, but you do need that C in Maths. Of course you’re right! I promise you the second I took that maths exam I have never ever once needed to understand algebra or Pythagorus or any of that terrible stuff (although this doesn’t apply if you want to be a scientist etc), but not having that C will hold you back forever. You don’t want to be retaking through college or uni, or paying for classes when you’re older – settle down and get it done, as difficult as you may find it.

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5) Dump him. That guy you’re oh-so-in-love with, but he treats you like crap. What is it, humiliating you in front of friends? Flirting with other girls? Cheating on you?? Stop right there, get him outttttttt. You’re so young, I can assure you (and all my girlfriends would whole heatedly agree) in two years time you’ll barely remember his name.

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6) Forget him. Similarly, the guy you’re swooning over in Music class. The one who’s so popular and likes a bit of lad banter, I mean he might make jokes at your expense but he’s super nice to you when you’re alone right? Nope, he will always be an absolute dick. Let it go – you don’t want him anyway. Trust me, let. it. go.

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7) Don’t live by someone else’s rules. Society’s labels and restrictions are just someone’s opinion, and as you grow older you’ll learn to let those go. If you want to wear something that isn’t deemed as fashionable, do it. If you want to take a class that isn’t ‘cool’, go and do it. If you want to be friends with a bunch of ‘uncool’ people, please god go and do it – they’re probably MUCH nicer people. I spent most of my younger years trying to fit my whole life into a label. You’re a unique complex beautiful person, you don’t have to stereotype yourself.

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8) Be kind, always. Don’t be cruel be true because everyone else is, don’t judge someone because you don’t understand them, don’t spread hatred everywhere you go. Talk to people like you’d like to be treated to – understand that not every person will be exactly like you and learn to love their individualities. There’s enough hatred in this world, it does’t need to come from you too. You never know when someone might need your kindness most.

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9) Respect sex. Luckily for me, I’ve developed a very open relationship with my Dad, and I still remember the day he said to me ‘you might think you’re ready, but you’re not ready emotionally’. Needless to say I ignored him and did it anyway, and he was right. There’s a lot of confusion and complications when you include sex in your relationships, it’s soooooo cliche and I’m sure you’re tired of hearing it – but make sure you’re ready.

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10) Protect your body. Sex with the right person is faaaaaab, and I’ve always said (living in current times) that it doesn’t matter what your number is, I’ll never judge you on that, but I’ll judge you on how you treated yourself and your sexual partner during that time. Respect is key, but so is a condom. STIs are no joke – protection EVERY time. When the rest of your class are giggling away at putting condoms on bananas in sex ed – take it seriously. Learn as much as you can, about your own body and the other gender’s. This stuff is seriously life changing, and it still shocks me at 19-25 years old how much my friends don’t know. Also, you can pick up tips on how to make it more fun, so why would you not want to learn???

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11) You won’t be happy ALL of the time – That’s okay. Life is full of ups and downs, seriously. And normally if your work life is fab then your social life or love life is going up the creek. It really is okay. Remember last time you thought your world was caving in? You’re still here aren’t you? Exactly. There’s so much pressure on us all to be happy, and if you’re not then you’re doing something wrong – it’s not that simple. Embrace the down points, and prepare yourself because they are definitely coming.

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12) Learn to be comfortable in your own skin. Literally every photo you see in the press has been airbrushed soooooooo much – take it from the girl who works in the press. Even the ones that are pap style – you think that celeb didn’t know 100% they were going to be photographed that day? You think they didn’t have a whole team of beauticians helping them before they left the house? Trust me, don’t base yourself on that bull. You might not be your own definition of beautiful (you should be) but I promise you someone is sitting over there envious of your hair or how your eyes shine when you smile.

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13) Be careful what you put online. I crawl through my Timehop every day and cringe ridiculous amounts over what I said 4 years ago, like ‘inbox me a number and I’ll tell you what I think of you’ or ‘Yes, and now you’re never having me back because you’re so mean’ – urgh gross. But I’ve always been relatively wise enough to not use certain words or post about how much my boss is peeing me off…be careful. It honestly does get searched through by your future employees (and your parents), so watch out!

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14) Get rid of awful friends. People make mistakes, accidents happen, but if someone is continuously being a bad friend to you, let that person go. You honestly do not have to put up with it and at some point you’ll realise that – so why not make that time right now.

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15) Confidence is key. I know I’m blessed enough to have an endless flow of the stuff, I don’t know how, I wish I could teach you, but even if you don’t feel it – learn to fake it. It is the stuff that’ll help you wing job interviews and square up to dreadful customers and tell that boy that the way he’s treating you is not okay. Don’t shy away, just try not to feel the awkwardness in new situations. Slap on a smile and feel fierce – because you deserve it.

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16) Try and have a career to aim for. Coming from the girl who spent her whole life saying she wanted to have a career in musical theatre, who then decided after years of studying she wanted to be a photographer or something in the press – it’s ironic and hypocritical I know. But that original aim will give you ambition and bite, it doesn’t mean you have to stick on that path and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind.

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17) It’s okay to question your sexuality, and it is okay to be gay. I’m straight so I can’t preach about the struggles of coming out of the closet or working out that part of who I am. But I’ve definitely looked at a beautiful woman and thought ‘hot damn, she’s perfect….am I a lesbian?’. It’s okay, it’s normal – and if you decide you are gay that is completely okay. In fact it’s more than okay – it’s great! Well done you for making that decision! My advice to you would be surround yourself with accepting people, and ignore the one or two people who are still stupid enough to judge you. They’re idiots. If you need someone to talk to, I’m here for anyone and everyone. (This applies to being transgender or anything else too, be whatever you want to be, it’s no one else’s business)

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18) Don’t go through things alone. Your friends are there to love and support you, whatever you’re struggling with go and talk to them. It’s something I have to work on myself too, so I understand that you might want to be strong and independent – but feelings do not make you weak. Everyone needs to cry it out sometimes or to borrow someone else’s strength. Again I reiterate, if you feel like there’s no one you can talk to – talk to me.

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19) OTHER GIRLS ARE NOT THE ENEMY. Really really read that and let it soak in, this is so serious. You’re bought up to fight one another, especially in terms of men. Please don’t let society teach you this. Go and say a Taylor concert, she’ll teach you all about empowering one another and celebrating each others successes.

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20) There’s more to life than exams/work/bills. At some point you’re gonna get to a stage where all you’re doing is working or studying or stressing about your next bill – take a step back. Go and lie in the sun with a Starbucks and top up that tan (with suncream obviously), engross yourself in a gripping book or go buy that fabulous dress you’ve been wanting for ages. Don’t forget to LIVE.

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I LOVE YOU ALL.

And of course….Stay Sassy,

Lauren xxx

Ps. Stay tuned for an update on my birthday fun!

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29 thoughts on “20 Top Tips For The Under 20s

  1. southamptonoldlady says:

    From an old lady and looking back at my youth – I can agree entirely on all this sensible advice. I would also add one more – don’t abuse your body or you will regret it one day and wish you had looked after yourself. Looking after your body is extremely cheap – no cigarettes, drink plenty of tap water, not too much alcohol, no drugs unless necessary – prescribed or otherwise, at least 56 hours of sleep a week (catch up with a day off on Sunday if you over do it), shower and exercise (brisk walking is good) regularly. All this will pay dividends later in life and will keep you young.

    Like

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