I am fast approaching my 21st birthday (it’s on the 25th March – mark your calendars). This post is very different to any previous ones because it’s quite personal. On the assumption that any of my readers care about the person behind the opinions of RaynaSays, I wanted to take this period of reflection to note down the biggest things I’ve learned through personal experiences.

Persevere – making it through university:

I changed this one from the wording “getting into university” because that was the easy part. However, it must be said that one of my proudest moments entails my university application mentioning Chelsea winning the Champions League. But on the subject of getting a degree itself, these past 2 and a half years have been a struggle.

University life has been harder than I ever would have thought. I moved away from home thinking that living alone would be easy but I was proven wrong fast. It’s the every day things I had to adjust to. No one but me was going to buy food/shampoo/medicine. No one but me would make dinner or do the laundry. And no one was going to tell me that I shouldn’t buy a new lipstick instead of saving that little extra money. I’ve learned to be independent in so many ways. I’ve also learned a lot of new cooking skills and how to change bed-sheets quickly (and yes, I am proud of the latter).

I’ve also learned a lot about facing disappointment, particularly in my final year. Working hard does not always mean the results will go your way. I’ve had this experience both with assignments and job applications. When looking to the future and the big, scary world, this is the most valuable thing I will take with me. I’ve had to accept my capabilities and not drop everything in the face of stress.

Be ambitious – having my work published:

This is perhaps my biggest achievement of my life, so far. I have always enjoyed writing but waited until very recently to pursue it properly. Writing has always been a part of my life. I used to love drafting short stories and poems as a pastime. Now, I am proud of the fact that I stepped out of my comfort zone and took on a challenge that has proven already to be more successful than I could have ever hoped.

It took a lot for me to trust my own skill, starting with this blog. It was something I had been encouraged to do for a while, especially by my dad. He always supports my writing and is always on hand to give me ideas, headline suggestions, and a ‘like’ on LinkedIn to get my reader stats up. One of my most nerve-wracking moments was when I published my first post. Thankfully, people seem to like what I write and it’s built my confidence and my ambition to continue.

I also have Talk Chelsea, The Pride of London, and The Blue Lions Podcast to thank. The editors of each trusted my writing enough to share it with their readers, and I am still so proud of that achievement. Seeing my work alongside some amazing writers has been such a milestone. I’ve also met some interesting people through these sites and been exposed to a whole world of fan writing that I didn’t know existed. (Make sure to check out the sites if you’re a Chelsea fan).

Be grateful – in every aspect:

I am grateful for the people surrounding me. It’s really easy to feel alone when deadlines force me to stay inside or I can’t go home to see my family as much. But, I have some really incredible relationships that have helped me through the other achievements as well as the not-so-great times.

On this note, I have developed a passion over 21 years: football. From this, I am extra grateful for my family for being football crazy – in particular my mum, who is next to me, supporting the Blues, at every game I go to. She is the reason that I love the sport so much. To all the non-football fans reading this, I probably sound crazy. But to me, football embodies so much more than just a sport. It dictates emotion, strengthens loyalty and brings people together. I love being a part of that (and hate it, but that’s part of the fun).

Finally, I’ve gotten to travel the world and see many beautiful places. An appreciation of other cultures and countries is something I will never take for granted. There is so much to learn. From what I’ve experienced so far, I cannot wait to see more.


So, there you have it. 21 years of life condensed. Thanks for reading, and have a think: what would your three lessons be?