1. Do not settle. Yes, you may be young. No, don’t just run with the first option or offer someone has given you. You aren’t too young to negotiate, and being young doesn’t have to mean you are worth less than anyone else.

2. Graduating College doesn’t automatically mean you need to have your life figured out. You have your own pathway and you make your own rules. It’s up to you how flexible and impactful those rules are. If you break them, you’re breaking yourself. No one should determine your path or punish you for having a few (a lot, actually) slip-ups. It is your decision whether you recover, or find yourself on a new path that could be better or could be worse.

3. If your friends respect you and your decisions and encourage your success, keep them and drop the rest. Family is loving, supportive, honest and prays for the best in you. This does not always mean blood. When people show their true colors, believe it and never forget it. Do not hold it against them, just know what harm people are capable of. A family member can hurt worse than any stranger or friend could. A friend could be there in the toughest of situations, rooting for you and helping you become your best self. There is a difference, blood or not.

4. You are not tied to one job/location/calling forever. Certain passions have faded, some have become stronger. What I wanted 10 months ago versus what I want now are two very different things, but that is okay. Small or big, I made an impact. Although this year did not turn out how I wanted it to because God’s plan for me is different than my own, I can now use the rest of my life to better myself, be supportive to my loved ones, and love hard and fearlessly.

5. Don’t feel bad for taking risks and being your true authentic self. It took me a few months to realize that I am not giving up on my city. Michigan is who I am, but is not where I need to be right now to make ME happy. I am exhausted. I am tired. This year has been brutal. But I am alive, and it’s mostly been a pretty fun ride, whether this year is deemed a success or not. I’ve traveled, I’ve volunteered my time, energy, and effort a majority of my life and It’s okay to want a break to focus on myself.