|Left: At a senior graduation event in high school - Middle: College graduation with my siblings - Right: Grad school graduation|
How (and when) to say no - I'm a people pleaser who avoids conflict like the plague- so it's always been difficult for me to say no (without feeling guilty, anyway). When you're in school, to a certain extent, your responsibilities (courses, extra curriculars, etc.) are somewhat already prioritized for you, and there are built-in limitations as to how much you can take on. However, once those guidelines are removed, it's easy to find yourself over-committed and in over your head because you've taken on too many responsibilities. Knowing when and how (and that it's OK) to say no is a huge life skill. You can't do it all, and that's OK. The world will go on and people will still like you if you say no to them. I'm definitely still learning this skill.
Love isn't a feeling, it's a commitment - It's hard when movies, books, TV, and your hormones are all telling you that love is all about a certain feeling. And it is. To a certain extent. But one thing people don't really teach you is that love is a commitment. Sometimes it is even a decision that you have to actively make each day. Sometimes this commitment is easy and sometimes it is hard. But just like anything else that you commit yourself to, it takes work and deliberate action. It's definitely important to feel that "love feeling," but it's probably even more important to realize that you might not feel that feeling everyday, and that that is part of committing to love.
Sometimes you learn the most from your failures - I think many people learn this lesson pretty soon after they leave school and enter the "working world." I know I did, anyway. I wouldn't say that my first year as a teacher was a complete failure, but I can absolutely admit that I failed myself and my students on multiple occasions. Many days I would drive home from work in tears feeling like I failed, like my lessons never went as planned, and being scared that my students weren't learning anything at all. And this feeling was probably true many of those times. Yes, I had failed. It took me a while, but I did learn from those failures, and I didn't give up. If you can't even recognize that yes, you did in fact fail at something, then you surely can't learn and improve from those failures.
How to negotiate - I definitely think schools should offer courses on negotiating skills. I am still really bad at this, but it is such a powerful and smart skill to have. My husband is the ultimate negotiator (sometimes even to an embarrassing extent), and I've learned a lot about negotiating from him. I think the most important thing I've learned about negotiating is that it doesn't hurt to ask. Something as simple as, "what's your best price?" or "do you offer a cash discount?" can go a long way in negotiating.
How to make friends - In high school and college, making friends and socializing are somewhat "built in." You have group projects in your classes, multitudes of extracurricular activities and clubs available, roommates, and regular activities like orientation and mixers. You make some of your best friends during these times. So it's kind of a rude wake up call when all of those "built in friend-making structures" are suddenly gone. In my experience, it is hard to make friends as an adult. You will likely be in a new city and be the new person at your job, and people won't automatically invite you to lunch or include you in their weekend plans. You have to put yourself out on a limb and be proactive.