I had mistakenly thought that I had it all figured out because of knowledge acquired in blogs and books, but life has surprised me.

I have realised that the saying “Experience is the best teacher” is indeed very true and below I list my 3 main life lessons.

Lesson 1: Every man for himself

The way I feel so strongly about this, I even wanted it to be the title for this post. This idiom makes more sense in my life right now. So, let me share a bit of my story.

When you arrive at a new place (e.g. First year University) you literally have no support except the support you receive from people at home. Once you done with grade school, you are considered an adult and expected to act accordingly.

Oxford dictionary defines ‘adulting’ as “The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult”.

When I moved to the University residence, I experienced so much change that made me understand what it truly meant to be an adult and do things for myself. Suddenly, I had to manage all aspects of my life and see myself through everything.

Though I had friends from the first day, but I soon realised that there were so many things I had to figure out all by myself without any help. Everybody has their own business to attend to, so as soon as you get to University you have to immediately start being independent. It’s like being thrown at the deep end and being expected swim and survive somehow.

So indeed, the saying “every man for himself” made so much more sense. You have to realise that everyone has their own life to live and won’t be able to attend and give you attention all the time, and that’s okay.

Lesson 2: Age means nothing- own race own pace

After experiencing the challenges above, I had this mindset that probably I came into university late because I took a gap year. I thought my classmates would be younger than me but I was pleasantly surprised to find different types of people. There were people who had graduated already, people who like me took a gap year and even people who had been working before and discovered their passion then decided to go back and study.

This showed me that age is nothing but a number and that I still have plenty of time to figure out what it is that I really want to do. Being expected to decide on a career path at 16 is hard and we are given the impression that you will have to live with that decision forever. Even though your degree will make an impact in your life, it’s never too late to do what you really want.

The saying “Age means nothing” to me this also says, as young people we must be as responsible as the adults since everybody is seen as an equal in settings such as Universities.

Lesson 3: Everybody but you seem to have it all figured out

I’m one person who is always reading blogs about life lessons just to make sure I don’t mess up, trying to figure out the best way to avoid mistakes that would ruin my life. While I’m trying to figure out if it’s best to date that guy or not, it seems everyone knows what they want in a relationship. When I was trying to figure out what to study, everybody around me knew what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives.

Looking from my point of view it looks like I’m the only one who is still trying to know myself and what I really want.

It’s not until you talk to these people that you realise as humans we have the same problems. Nobody has it all figured out, at some point we must make decisions and live with consequences we don’t completely know how to deal with.

Making these three realisations took me a while but I now really understand, or at least have an idea on how to be my independent self.


About the Writer:

Palesa Makuru is a Pharmacy student who enjoys artistry particularly writing. She’s a content creator and writes columns about beauty and lifestyle on her website Pretty Palesa (http://prettypalesa.co.za/) and has shared her columns for similar South African blogs.

She often echoes that life lessons are taught every day, from the motivational videos in the morning, to a friend giving advice. She considers herself an “addict” of advice blogs and the like, but she has also realised that some things are better learnt through experience.