You really do think you know everything when you’re fresh out of high school.

You think you’re so mature, and that you know as much as an adult, and that you know how to function and live life. Funniest of all is believing that you’re fully set in your ways and have no real room to grow further as a person; that you were who you are.

I sure as hell believed all that. It’s why we tend to toss our hats higher than our already lofty ambitions.

Yet, evidently, I’ve changed incredibly since high school, and 4–5 months away from graduating once more, I can think with retrospect at all the ways my life has changed.

  1. I grew to become a lot more sociable. Now, 4 years later, I can say I have a true group of genuine friends. I’m less reliant on social media, and the awkward anxiousness driven by a desire for online-attention from friends and acquaintances has been dead for years for me. I became my own person rather than a slave to trends and all. Am I still awkward? Who knows, probably in some settings. I don’t really care anymore, so long as I’m, and those around me, are having a good time, that’s what matters to me.
  2. I used to think that STEM was the only path to a successful life and that anyone that chose to study anything else was wasting their time and probably not that smart. I’m graduating with degrees in Political Economy and Law in Society and then going to law school. Need I say more? High school me had a very binary perspective on things.
  3. Upon graduating, or I guess I’m cheating here but a bit before graduation, I broke up with my ex, who I had been with for almost 4 years. I learned to stand up for myself and my emotions a lot more, and have grown to be a strong advocate for mental health, particularly for men. My ex was incredibly toxic. I don’t think one can fully escape toxicity, in relationships or otherwise, as they’re young – however, I do believe I’m in a much better place and have chosen the best people to keep around me.
  4. I didn’t care to know too much regarding my culture or heritage in high school, partly due to no one teaching me. Seeing that now I can say I know a lot more, can read and write in Urdu, and am actively trying to learn more and uncover my history, and speak for victims of partition like my family, I’ve sure as hell grew into my identity a lot more.
  5. I no longer do judo because of injuries. High school me would not have believed it, and certainly would not have been happy about it either.
  6. I used to not care nor know anything about politics. Now it’s what I study.
  7. I finally learned how to dress well!
  8. I know how to handle money, build credit, save money, and live with some frugality in order to help myself later in life.
  9. Due to a lack of time, I don’t read as much for joy anymore.

You change a lot as you get older, let alone after graduating. For me, I grew and lost a lot, and am a very different person than who I was 4 years ago. There are a few fundamental parts that haven’t changed. I’m still studious, work hard, and have high ambitions, but how my energy and feelings are directed is what makes me a much different, and arguably better, person.

Don’t ever push away your ability to change – look ahead with holism and humility!