Now that I am 30, I know way more than I did in my 20s. I had a lot of fun in my 20s, yes, but I also made so many mistakes. Not to say that I regret anything I've done in my past. But if I had known then what I know now, I could've got to where I am now so much smoother. Here are some of the most important things I wish I knew when I was 22. But you know what they say, hindsight is 20/20.
This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Erie Insurance.
I know 22 may seem like an odd age to reflect on, but I was out here like Taylor Swift enjoying that age. Maybe it was because I was in my last year of college. Or maybe it was because I had just come home from living in New York for a year. But I think a good portion for why I was feeling 22 was because I had my first apartment without roommates!
Living alone was huge for me for a couple reasons. First, I believe that everyone woman should live alone at least once in her life. At the same time, it terrified me to live alone. So I knew it was something I had to do. When I got my first place, I was doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted (outside of my classes, at least).
If I had to go back and do it again, here are five things I would've done differently.
1. Get Renter's Insurance
I remember having conversations with my friends about renter's insurance for my apartment at the time. And thinking that I wouldn't have to worry about anything happening to my stuff (as if bad things never happened to me) so I didn't get it.
Fast forward eight years later and I have seen close friends have to use their renter's insurance to deal with unforeseen circumstances. And they were so grateful to have it at the time.
The surprising thing to me is that I did not know all the things that renters insurance covered. For example, if I were working in a coffee shop with my laptop and it was stolen, that would be covered in my renter's insurance. This was surprising to me, especially considering how big of fear this was for me when I was freelance writing in coffee shops on the daily.
Renter's insurance covers any damage in your apartment, including fire damage. Renter's insurance would also cover the cost of wherever you stay while you are away. It could also cover medical bills if you or someone who was visiting was injured on your property. After learning all of these things, long after I was 22, I consider myself incredibly lucky to not have had any incidents.
But if I rent an apartment again, you better believe I will be using renter's insurance. And if I were to choose an insurance plan, it would be with Erie Insurance. They are trustworthy, affordable, and convenient. Also, you can get car insurance and renter's insurance together and get a multipolicy discount.
Getting renter's insurance is definitely one of the most important things I wish I knew when I was in my 20's. All I know is that if I had renter's insurance I would've been less anxious about my assets. If you want to learn more about the benefits of renter's insurance, you should check out this post here.
2. Apply for Jobs BEFORE You Graduate
Let's just say I had a rough time finding a job when I graduated after college. You can learn the details of my story here on how I started Miss Millennia Magazine because of how much trouble I faced after graduation. But if I could do it all again, I would've been applying to jobs at least six months before I graduated.
The truth was, I did not have that strong of a resume. I did not have many skills that I could bring into a job with me. And honestly, I pretty much expected people to be throwing jobs at me since I had a degree. So I waited until after graduation. I did not take into consideration the fact that we were in a recession and that I was competing with people who had a degree and experience vs. just a degree.
I felt pretty foolish once I realized how difficult the job hunt was. After I graduated, I ended up in my first big girl job almost two years after my graduation date. TWO YEARS! Now I was working side hustles and customer service jobs before then, but it was still rough.
Job hunt early and job hunt with intention! Also, invest the time and money into getting your resume worked on. Know what career path you are looking for and go for it. This is one of the most important things I wish I knew before I graduated from college.
3. Start Saving Money Now
This one is a big one because I knew how to get a job and I knew how to make money on the side. The problem I had during school is that I just didn't want to do anything above the bare minimum to pay my bills. The excuse I had was that I was in school and I wanted to focus on school only.
If I'm being real, though, I just wanted more free time. I realize I could've been saving up extra cash from a part-time job to pay my student loans when I graduated. But at the time, student loans could've easily been called “free money” and I would have thought of them the same.
Looking back on it, I would've not only saved more money by getting a part-time job, but I also would've taken out fewer student loans. No need to go further into debt just because you do not feel like working. So my feedback to my 22-year-old self…stop being so damn lazy.
If you need help brainstorming ways to save money, read our article 17 Creative Ways To Save Money Online!
4. Say Yes to More Things
Speaking of lazy….once I had my own apartment, I was hooked on the time I got to spend there doing all the things I liked. Things like watching Animal Planet all day, drinking way too much wine, and napping.
Oh yes, I took so many naps then. And while sleep is important, while I was doing these things, I said no to so many others. I wanted to be more involved with different college groups that appealed to me as well as do more things with my friends. But I said no a lot, only thinking about how I would miss Big Cat Diaries that afternoon if I said yes.
One of the important things I wish I knew when I was younger is that I should say yes to more things. I hate to say it, but I was very much like Jim Carey in the beginning of Yes, Man. Except I was a No, Man. (I am so glad to have gotten that off of my chest.) I love that movie so much because it is the epitome of getting yourself out of a rut. But you have to say yes!
If I could change something about being 22 in this regard, I would've done more socializing and challenging myself rather than saying no and watching a repeat of the Dog Whisperer.
5. Be More Comfortable in My Own Skin
This one is a big one. No matter how confident I may have looked in my photos, I was self-conscious about everything about myself. What I said, what I wore, how I talked to people. These thoughts really made it hard for me to get comfortable in any social situation. Which is probably why I chose to watch TV at home instead of being social.
After so many years of uncertainty, I've learned that being yourself and being comfortable in your own skin is all your friends really expect of you. They don't want you to be someone you are not. And if they do, it may be time to get a new set of friends. If I could give the advice to myself at 22 it would be to get comfortable with yourself. Everything is going to turn out alright. You are not running your life with any of your current choices, so have some fun!
If you want some incredible tips on growing your confidence, read our article Body Positivity 101: Learning To Embrace Your Shape. I wish I knew this advice when I was in my 20's.
I know it is impossible to go back in time and change things. But it is nice to think about who I am today vs. who I was then. Personal growth is a beautiful thing. And I can only imagine the type of advice I will have for myself at 30 when I am in my 40s. Stay on the lookout in a few years for a list of important things I wish I knew when I was 30!
What advice would you give yourself at 22? Let me know in the comments!