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By Serena Bernal, Metea Valley

Remember when Kylie Jenner said that 2016 would be the year of “realizing stuff”? We all laughed at that quote and ridiculed it’s oddity, but as 2017 comes to a beginning, I have come to notice that in 2016, I genuinely realized quite a bit. So, I guess Kylie Jenner was right, because through the experiences and events of 2016, I learned a lot about myself and the world around me that I would love to share.

So, without further ado, here are 16 things I learned in 2016.

1. In order to see results, you need to work hard.
This year, I managed to see success in aspects of my life that I had never seen before. The success I saw wasn’t a miracle though. I worked diligently at everything, I practiced for countless hours, and I went the extra mile for it just so I could be an expert. My hard work paid off in ways that I’ve been dreaming of for years. When people say “hard work pays off” they really do mean it.

2. Sometimes you need to do what is best for you.
There were several points in 2016 where I had to make major decisions, such as deciding to quit my job. It was tough, especially because I didn’t want to negatively affect others. In the end, however, I realized that I need to put my happiness before others, and I need to do what is right for me. Others will adapt accordingly, and I can’t put myself at risk for the convenience of strangers.

3. Change is OK.
I’ve actually written an entire article talking about my feelings on change, so feel free to check that out here: http://themash.com/insider/2016/10/17/change-think-change

4. You don’t need to talk all the time, sometimes you just need to listen.
Listening to others can be so beneficial, because you can learn more about those around you. Being a listener rather than a talker shows your investment in those you care about. It also gives you time to realize that the whole world doesn’t revolve around you, and that conversations should be balanced, not one-sided.

5. People thrive off of positivity, being negative is not “quirky”, it’s rude.
This is something that I’m still working on, but positivity can attract so many more people than the relatable “teen angst” can. Sarcasm works in certain cases, but using it as a common tool in daily dialogue is not only discouraging, but demeaning. In essence, be careful of what you say and how you say it.

6. Take time away from your phone, and look at the vibrancy of your environment.
I don’t really feel like I can explain this point well in words. My recommendation is you take my advice and genuinely experience the world around you. Look at the colors, the texture, and the shape of nature. You will be surprised with what you see.

7. Good things aren’t permanent. Cherish them while you can.
One day, the things that you so avidly love will no longer be there. Experience them to the fullest while you can. Make memories with them. Do everything you can to make sure you never forget them.

8. Pumpkin pie is really yummy.
This point isn’t a metaphor or anything, I just tried it for the first time just a few months ago and fell in love with it. I highly recommend.

9. Good friends will be there for you at your high and low points.
Friends who discourage you when you are at your highest points are not friends. If they care for you, they will be proud of what you accomplished. They will not be jealous of achievements, and they will most certainly not make you feel bad for achieving your goals.

10. The best way to get rid of procrastination is to learn to enjoy the things you are procrastinating.
I used to procrastinate schoolwork like a madman. It would take me about 5 hours to even consider picking up a pencil. This year that changed. I began to truly love the subjects I was learning about, and I began to find methods of learning that made me enjoy the content. Find happiness in the things you dread.

11. Learning is one of the best parts about living.
It always makes me sad when people disregard high school. High school is one of the last times you will be given an education for FREE. After high school, you will have to pay thousands of dollars for knowledge. Please take advantage of the education you are being handed, so many would kill for the opportunities you are being given.

12. Taking shortcuts will hurt you in the end.
Aside from time benefits, taking shortcuts has only brought me disadvantage. Whether it be in school assignments or daily tasks, I’ve found that taking a shortcut has either left me unequipped or off-guard. If you weigh the options of the shortcut and the long road, you will see that you will grow and gain more by not skipping the extra step.

13. Helping is wonderful, but be weary of those who only ask for help, and never give it.
We all have those friends who ask you for homework assignments constantly, and when you ask them for help they are either “busy” or they give you the most unhelpful guidance. Those types of people are people that I’m always uneasy with. If they receive more than they give, I think that it is a solid representation of who they are in all aspects of their life.

14. Friendship is a two-way street, if one person doesn’t want to put in the effort, let the friendship go.
I saw a lot of friendships go this past year, which of course made me sad. Although, I’ve realized now that for a friendship to flourish, both sides have to tend to it. If the opposite side doesn’t put in the same amount of effort you do, that’s a sign that they don’t want the friendship to grow.

15. Treating others badly for comedic effect is never respectable.
It’s disheartening to see good people do hurtful things for a laugh. Treating others well creates a better reflection than a “roast” ever will. I’m sure you hear it all the time, but treat others the way you want to be treated. Think about what they may be going through. Is it really worth it to treat others unfairly for the momentary laugh?

16. Every day will be a good day if you have the right perspective.
Obviously your day will be bad if you believe it didn’t go well. Perhaps, you didn’t do so well on a math test. If you choose to only pick out errors on your math test, you are doing yourself a disservice. Instead, you should look at the situation as a way to improve your algebra skills. Life is all about perspective, so choose to have a positive one.

There it is, 16 things I learned in 2016. Some were serious, some were silly. In the end, I hope you can take away at least one thing from this article. I’m definitely not a philosopher, so take what I say with a grain of salt. However, these were all things I had to learn the hard way, so maybe you can save yourself the trouble by keeping some of these ideas in your back pocket.

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About Serena Bernal

Serena Bernal is a Junior at Metea Valley High School. She loves to write about the world around her and is always eager to learn from her experiences.

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