21 Things I’ve Learned

Emma Eekhoff 21
  1. Extend that olive branch - I’ve been known to dig in my heels and wait for the other person to call and organize. But 9 times out of 10, the other person is expecting the same action. You will give and go without receiving many apologies in your lifetime, get used to it.

  2. You are your best advocate - You’ve lived in your body, your mind, and your habits for many years now, you know what you're bound to do, trust yourself and speak for yourself.

  3. Don’t allow someone else to diminish you - Being a young person, especially one who works and aspires to thrive in industries that are highly concentrated with people who have spent decades there, you're bound to encounter people who want to try your patience and strength. If someone if threatened by your potential, let them be, let them see what you're made of and what you bring to the table.

  4. Check in - It’s as simple as texting your friends an affirmation; as simple as calling your mom with no news but what a great lunch you made for yourself. The people in your life want to hear from you.

  5. Be coachable - I found this one applicable from the basketball court to the job market. If you aren't willing to learn new methods, and ways to deliver, just know that you are replaceable if you're unwilling to work.

  6. Crying is a healthy human function - I live for a good cathartic cry - whether it’s after a hard quarter of school, or if you're watching The Holiday with friends and the tears just hit. Let them flowwww. There’s nothing wrong with a good cry.

  7. Have that ice cream, go on that trip - My dad instilled in me this idea of “Well, let’s go.” To not be held back by different constructs of life, like time. To simply go because you’re in the midst of this short life, so let's make the most of it as we’re here.

  8. Give yourself grace and rest - This is something that I’ve gotten better with through the years, but it is a day-to-day, hour-to-hour conflict I have with myself. It’s telling yourself after a long day that you’ve made a good use of your hours working; it’s telling yourself that it’s ok that you didn't work out or find time for yourself today. You are human, and sometimes shit doesn't pan out the way you wished or planned for. All of these things are okay because life is a lot; you juggle many hats as you grow up. Breathe.

  9. You will encounter the same people throughout your whole life - You will encounter people who exhaust you via osmosis, people who make you feel empowered, people who ask more than they give, and people who will listen when you need it most.

    All these people are valuable people because they teach you lessons about your inter and intra personal relationship. (Shout out COM1100 for that intra-inter bit, maybe my 50K education is paying off, *begins to sob*)

  10. Everyone processes and responds to traumas differently; don’t shame someone for the way that works for them - Everyone experiences and perceives trauma differently, therefore we rise and process it differently, so no one has the right to say what’s correct or just.

    It is how you deal with it.

  11. Embrace uncomfortable silences - I hate it so much when I’m with someone, and the conversation drops off into silence and then they feel the need to bring up something stupid, and unnecessary at the moment, like “What do you think, is big bird female or male?”

    I could not give a single care.

    Don’t waste your words on silly shit.

  12. Motivational Self-speeches - It’s Tuesday morning, you know you have a long day ahead of you. Get up, put on your power color, look yourself in the mirror and say, “You were made for this role, people count on you and people love you.”

    Even if you don't believe it at the moment, you will come to believe it.

  13. Forgive yourself and others for the deepest wounds - I could have so many regrets because of mistakes I’ve made, but I don’t because I forgive myself for doing and being an imperfect person. The implications of not forgiving myself or others is dangerous because, actually all of those things have brought me to where I need to be and caused me to learn these lessons.

  14. Write thank you cards and say ‘I love you’ - We all have gratitude and love to give, write it down or say it out loud. Unexpected love/appreciation is the greatest.

  15. READ - Growing up, I used to hate reading because my past education tried to control the kind of books I read. But after elementary and middle school, my parents threw books at me until I enjoyed them, and now as a full time uni student, I wish I had more time to read all the books in my possession. Reading is the greatest.

  16. Honor another’s busyness and business - My best friend lives in a different time zone, and she also has an unpredictable schedule. When texts go unanswered or calls not returned, we don't guilt each other for not paying immediate attention because we honor each other’s busy-ness. We know that we will return to one another on the phone or in person eventually. You make time for the ones that matter.

  17. Have difficult conversations with your friends (esp. your white friends) - It's cool to live in your own little bubble with people that agree with you, but it's even more important to encounter new friends that you disagree with, or friends that tends to say problematic statements.

    Speak with them about how their actions and/or words can make others feel and create a continuation of stereotypes and pain.

    If speaking doesn't work, take them to areas and spaces where they will be able to see and experiences truths. (But do this, thinking of the sake of the marginalized; don’t make the marginalized uncomfortable at the sake of learning)  

  18. Fuck saying, “I’m Sorry.” - Because I’m a woman I’ve been socialized to make sure everyone around me is at comfort, before myself. Women have been taught to apologize and take on the responsibility for others problems, but I say, fuck that because everyone is ultimately responsible for their actions and 99.99% of their feelings.

    I’m not going to say ‘sorry,’ because you feel some type of way.

  19. Be on time - it shows respect - I remember watching the Oprah Winfrey Show one day after school with my mom, Oprah hit the audience with “When you’re late, you’re not respecting another’s time.” 7-year-old me was like “Damn, you right, you right.” Ever since then I pride myself on being uncomfortably early to appointments and meetings.

  20. Learn how to say, “No,” and feel no guilt from it - “You never go out with us anymore,” “Why don’t you want to go?”

    Maybe it’s because ever since I was little I was good at saying “No,” but now being in the skin I’m in, I’m able to say no to people, opportunities, and/or nights that I know aren't good for me, or that I’m simply not feeling up to.

    Stand strong in your gut-decisions.

  21. Sweat - You will feel better after a yoga session, after lifting a barbell, however you choose to exert yourself, you won’t regret it because it feels so good.


Emma Eekhoff is a 21-year-old that would rather be networking for business than at a party with her college friends. She's not afraid to share my stance on something, whether it is an art form like music or recent events in the world. She's been writing in a journalist setting for only a few years, through her high school’s online newspaper, The Growl Online or for a music blog. She loves to connect and network with new people in the worlds of business and music, travel to new places and eat new interesting foods.