This week I have officially became an older human being. For all our younger readers out there, who might think that some 25 years old with a job probably has all their life figured out and will make sound decision in every situation, I am here to tell you that you are wrong.  Even though some of my life decisions are fashionably disastrous to a stranger’s eyes, I do have some lessons I wish to share.

1. Don’t take yourself too seriously

We are all humans who are prone to making mistakes, fail miserably and embarrass ourselves. There is no point pressuring yourself to be perfect in every waking moment. Life is interesting if you make it interesting, with a little bit of humor and the comfort of a friend, we will laugh those moments off.

2. Be comfortable with Hellos and Goodbyes

As I grow up, I learned that people will come and go into your life. Some of them stays and some of them leave. The reason could be because the situation forces us to or just because we grow apart. But the people you meet will share their point-of-view on life and it will make you a different person.

3. Failing is OK

I remember my moments of failure as if it was just yesterday. At that time, it feels like the world is coming to an end. Things may feel very bad right now, but every failure will have its own lesson. What I wish I could tell my younger self is to not fear failure. The process is what counts.

4. Accept yourself

At this age, I learnt to just accept myself instead of fighting against it. For example, I would rather stay at home and watch movie in my room rather to eat at a crowded restaurant.  I like ice coffee more despite how cold the weather is. We of all people should be able to love our own quirks.

5. Never undersell yourself

I must admit that I stole this sentence from one of my lecturers during my master’s. This sentence has changed my perspectives to life overall. It does not mean you must brag about your achievements to the world, but having a standard on what treatment you are willing to accept. To stand up when you are wronged and say it. Take that from my experience where I have sent an angry email in a situation where I felt that I have been treated unfairly. Because if you accept that one unfair treatment, then you are setting the bar for other people to be treated that way as well.

6. Find sublime experiences

I stole this one from the same professor as well. Sublime is defined by the Oxford Dictionaries as: “of great excellence or beauty, extreme or unparalleled”. The English romantics on the 70’s refer to sublime as to “realm of experience beyond the measurable.” Those experiences that we would consider as sublime, is the experience of extreme greatness, where you challenge yourself and overcome boundaries and it affects you so much. When you look back, you will see how grand some experiences can be.

University of Edinburgh – IBEM Program dinner 2015/2016

7. Have youR own values

One of my friend told me this at one moment. People have different values in life, whether it’s work-life balance, family, relationship, or achievements. Imagine if values are a pie, then each person have a different proportion of what matter the most to them. We should respect those values as what we wish other to respect from us.

8. Carpe Diem

That scene from the Dead Poet Society explains it all: Carpe, carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.

9. Don’t listen to everyone

Honestly, just don’t. While some people might be worth listening to, most people do not even know what they are doing as well. Have some courage to do what is best for you and what you think is right. The best moments in life comes from the courage of doing things other people told me I can’t. If I listen to people, I will not join that competition because I will be afraid of what everyone thinks. If I listen to people, I will not have the courage to apply to the scholarship that led me to studying in the UK and led me to some of the best moments in my life. If I listen to them, you will not read this. Whatever you do, people will talk anyway, you might as well do what is best for you.

10. Keep good people around

I am lucky enough to be surrounded by good people that inspires me to be a better person. Yes, it’s cheesy, but it is necessary. Surrounding yourself with people that make you feel good is important and I can see that in some situation, you can be surrounded by people who makes you feel worse about yourself and it’s uncomfortable and tiring. You cannot force yourself to accept being in that kind of environment, you are meant to feel good every day with people who genuinely care about you.

The most important lesson I can tell you is to be grateful for your situation. Even though it is far from perfect, we can hopefully enjoy our blessed life in the years to come. Someday we will look back at these moments and will be able to hold our heads high and say we did our best in life. I, for one, cannot wait for more adventures to come.


In between weekend and overcaffeinated days, Najwa writes as a co-contributor of Hello Millennials as a form of sharing platform where she hopes to share her two cents on the brighter side of being a millennial on this day and age. As a proud alumna of The University of Edinburgh and Institut Teknologi Bandung, she has taken interest in international business, emerging markets and technology.

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