I’m not perfect. No one is, trust me.
I was assigned one hour to write about a time I made a mistake, and I will sheepishly admit that I had to waste time thinking about a time when I made a true mistake. This is not out of haughtiness, rather, I spend an inordinate chunk of my daily life ensuring that I don’t mess anything up. Call it chronic perfectionism, a flaw in and of itself, anxiety, or perhaps rigid meticulousness.
Inside, however, I know I have made many mistakes throughout my life. While I do not currently have any notable regrets in my eighteen years on Earth, here are some examples of times I know I messed up.
I almost hit a motorcycle my first time driving to school.
What I learned: Don’t always listen to the person next to you and make sure to look before you change lanes.
I mixed up the gas pedal and brake (You may reconsider getting in a car with me….).
What I learned: You may not be safe from crazy drivers like me, even in innocent parking lots.
I have false hope about a lot of things.
What I learned: This is often a side effect of the “go big or go home” mentality. You know what they say, shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you will get sucked into a black hole of despair. Something like that.
I used to cut up my clothes to make new fashionable looks.
What I learned: Children are creative creatures and my mom was incredibly patient during my art escapades.
When people would tell me that they have a problem/issue, I would not always take it to heart.
What I learned: You don’t have to be a sponge that soaks up people’s moodiness, but if someone says they are bonkers, avoid them, and if someone wants sympathy, just give it.
I talked myself out of my STEM passions because I was afraid the abundance of men would be too intimidating.
What I learned: I am pretty intimidating myself, and not everyone is out to wage a gender war. Most students just want to build things and pass their classes, not discourage people from pursuing their dreams.
I let flattery get the best of me.
What I learned: From personal relationships to college counselors to seedy folks, many people want things from you. Compliments are fine; but falling for sequential and deceptive falseness does nothing for you. The biggest flatterer in your life should undoubtedly be yourself.
I want my life to be planned to the “T.”
What I learned: Plans and people change constantly. Fear is innate. Let things go.
I believe some things last forever.
What I learned: Nothing lasts forever. Life, roses, pastries, love, friendship, movies… they are all terminal. Enjoy what you have while you have it, because forever and always is simply an empty lie.
Avoid whatever enables you to stray from who you are in all circumstances.
EVERYTHING matters a little bit. You deserve attention, but don’t miss opportunities. If you are considering not trying too hard to achieve something, reevaluate why you are in the position of the challenge in the first place. Perhaps you are not striving because you do not want it. If you do not want it, leave it.
Not getting involved in dual enrollment sooner.
What I learned: Some of you may know that I have been homeschooled since 2nd grade. My social abilities are fine, but you do learn a lot of lessons in the school environment. I would definitely have started dual enrolling at community college full time in junior year if I had known how great it would be.
Stressing over college.
What I learned: I applied to 8 colleges and eight additional honors college programs. I was flat out rejected from two schools and waitlisted at another. In many of the honors college programs I was waitlisted, and after my hands cramped up from writing essays and I stressed over packing for scholarship weekends, I discovered that I did not belong in Harvard or Duke’s class, but rather, at a public school’s. I have been thinking about college since 7th grade and spent so many hours reading essay-writing books and studying for the SAT. It did not hurt me, but I did not enjoy high school as much as I could have.
Allowing other people to change how I felt about my body.
What I learned: It’s the same story as everyone else’s: girl is confident, girl sees skinnier girls, girl loses confidence, girl eats less and exercises more and runs a dark streak through her formative tweenage years. Now, I eat cheesecake. I eat fries. If anyone truly cares about how much I weigh less than I do I would be extremely shocked.
I felt guilty about not having a boyfriend during most of my teen years.
What I learned: The last thing a stressed 14-year-old with zits and plummeting self-confidence needs is a boyfriend to attempt (and probably fail) to impress. I write boss stories, belch loudly, don’t curl my hair, dance like Beyonce, and watch football every weekend. I would not be me if my favorite habits were squelched by some outside influence for yeeeeears.
Not being YOLO enough.
What I learned: Zac Efron has a “YOLO” tattoo and I try to live by the #YOLO mentality. Coincidence? I think not.
There you have it, internet: 16 random and not-so-shameful mistakes and the decently insightful lessons I learned from making them. Now, it’s your turn. What is your biggest mistake? Leave a comment if you are feeling zesty.