What I wish I knew When I was 18

What I wish I knew when I was 18

At the very “old age” of 26, I have finally reached a place in my life where I feel like I have gained some serious wisdom from my experiences both good and bad. While we all come from different walks of life. I think it’s safe to assume that most of us are not the same people we once were.

At 18, I graduated High School and went straight to college. Excited to be free from the parents nest college was a new place full of opportunity and room for growth. I already knew that  I wanted to study something in the communication field. During my first semester of college I was determined that I wasn’t going to date or be social for that matter. Four years in college was all I was going to allow myself to do. I was going to be serious because I was “so busy” and didn’t have time for fun. I was there to learn and get in and get out attitude. This ideal lasted about two weeks. Until I realized that I was 18 years old out on my own for the very first time.

First semester of college was great. I of course hung out with my friends way too much and spent money that I didn’t really have. I was being reckless because that’s what freshman do. But my fun quickly ended when my car was stolen not once but twice in the fall semester. The first time wasn’t my fault. I was actually being a responsible student/upstanding citizen by taking the local transit instead of driving to campus. But on a late November night I walked out to the public transit parking lot where I had left my 1996 red honda civic. I looked at the empty parking seeing other red cars but not my own. I quickly called my dad now panicking. His response being,

“Are you sure you parked your car there?”

“Dad, I am 18 years old. I would not forget where I parked my car!”

I shrieked now feeling the tears rolling down my face.

Realizing now that I wasn’t kidding my dad told me to call the police. As it was in the middle of winter I stood there in the cold without a jacket. Because at 18, no one prepares you for that one time you’re stuck outside in the cold because you lost your car!

The police arrived within minutes, and as I waited for my aunt to come pick me up I sat in the backseat of the police car. I felt like a criminal. Even though, I was the one that had been violated. My car was my pride and joy. I paid for that with my own money and I couldn’t believe it was gone. My aunt came and saved me from the back of the police car and within an hour we got a call from the police that they had found my car! I’ll never forget pulling up to retrieve my car and seeing cops pulling brown paper bags of drugs and alcohol. One officer asking if any of it was mine which surely it was wasn’t. I officially felt violated. My car smelled of cigarettes and beer. It was no longer my car and I didn’t drive for over a week. I had learned two things from that experience one: Honda Civics 90’s model are the number one stolen car in the United States and two: Don’t treat your trunk as your on the go closet because it will go missing.

The fall semester ends and to no one’s surprise I did not do well. Before breaking the news to my parents I decide that going 80’s Dancing with my friends was in order before heading home for the winter break. As we begin to get ready my long time best friend Maddie and I argue about who’s car to drive. I loose.

The club was called Area 51 and on thursday night’s 18 year olds were allowed in for the infamous night of 80’s dancing. Maddie and I dressed in our best 80’s wear. Walking in only with what we needed leaving the rest in the car. Including her brand new pink leather jacket and dorm key.

After we hours of dancing our friends leave and we head back to our car. The same feeling I had a month prior as I walk out from the club in my leggings and fanny pack came over me. My stomach drops out of my body as I scream,

“Um, my car is gone!”

Maddie chiming in right after me squealing

“My pink leather jacket is gone!”

“Maddie, my car is gone! Along with your dorm key!”

We both just stand there as it begins to snow as it being the middle of winter. We phoned our friends to come rescue us. And headed back up to campus where we had to wake a very irritated RA. I felt defeated and waited to call my parents until 3:30 am after my shocked had died down. Knowing that the outcome wasn’t going to be good.

My parents pulled me from school. And I was forced to move home. I had to get a job and had to wait over a month before the insurance would send us money for the car. In the moment felt like the world was ending and my life was over. This was not apart of the plan. I was supposed to get in and get out of college. I was devastated.

What I didn’t know was that getting my car stolen not once but twice would be the best thing that would ever happen to me. At 18, you’re not mature enough to see that timing is everything. As I look back at my college experience I am reminded that the butterfly effect is real. Take one small horrible experience away and it will change the entire course of your life. 7 years later I am now graduated with my bachelors degree. It took me a long time to get here. But I gained so much more than I lost. Through hard work and dedication I balanced school and working full-time the best I could. Not always succeeding but never quitting. I’ve lived a fun exciting life. I’ve crossed off over 25 adventures off my bucket list and even lived in Paris. No one could have prepared me for what has happened over the past couple of years. But I am somehow grateful for that stupid red honda civic.

Life is like pink leather jackets sometimes you want or like something so much that it takes loosing it to actually appreciating what you had. But in the chaos of it all you learn that failures can bring so many other blessing and opportunities to your door. To my 18 year old self I want to tell her that if you can get through the little stuff in life you will be capable to handle so much more. You’ll lose so many pink leather jackets and red honda civics in life. But the only way to move forward is to keep going no matter how many you lose or how long it takes. It will all work out if you really want it too.



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