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Simmons: Some advice to my younger self

It’s hard to believe it has been 10 years since I graduated from high school.

I know what some of you might be thinking…10 years isn’t really that long ago. What about 20 years…30 years…even 50 years!

Wait. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Bossier Parish seniors will graduate in full pomp and circumstance Saturday. Coming from a school with a graduating class of less than 90 graduates, I’m still shocked to see how many students walk across the stage yearly from the six Bossier high schools.

Every year around this time, though, I can’t help but think back to 2005. I feel like it was just yesterday – I was an eager 18-year-old ready to leave the classrooms of Elysian Fields High School behind for a grand new adventure. With scholarship in hand, I was on my way to Northwestern State University.

Amanda mugAs eager as I was to grow up, there are things I know now that I wish I knew back then.

I posed this question to my friends via Facebook – What advice would you give your younger self? Anything you wish you knew as an 18-year-old entering the ‘real world.’

Here’s a compiled list of responses I received:

-Make a budget and stick with it.

-Appreciate what your parents did and thank them for buying everything (toilet paper and shampoo add up).

-Do something adventurous like study abroad or go to a different country to travel for the summer or do a really neat internship.

-Go to school as far as you can go without interruption. It’s hard to go back once you stop, especially when responsibilities start stacking up against you.

-Get to know yourself before you get caught up in a serious relationship.

-Wait until your late 20s to get married.

-Wait until later 20s to have kids.

-Appreciate the small things!

-Enjoy life. Don’t be too anxious to grow up!

Boy, that’s quite a list. While I agree to an extent, here’s my advice to my younger self:

-Call home often…even if it’s just to say ‘I Love You’ one more time. (Visiting is even better! Natchitoches is only an hour and a half away from home.)

-Money really doesn’t grow on trees. Work hard, save harder! You’ll appreciate it when you’re older!

-Overcome your fears early. Don’t be afraid to meet new people or try new things. It makes life a lot more exciting!

-It’s ok to fail; take the negatives and develop them into something bigger and better. (Don’t let your failures define you either.)

-Do things in your life that make YOU happy. (“Love what you do for a living and you will never work again!”)

Congratulations to the class of 2015. Cheers to the next 10 years.

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