Third Culture Kid Dating; adults who have spent their developmental years outside their parent's culture

What would you tell your 18 year old self?


I was inspired by a beautiful post on a fellow adult Third Culture Kid’s blog Prepped and Loaded from Bate Consulting on what you would tell your 18-year old self. I actually found it really hard to write because there are so many things I’d say. And I’m sure, I could think of a million more things! But I’ve tried to narrow it down to 10 things!

But first, a quick reminder as to where I was at 18. I had just finished High School at the International School of Hamburg.  I had applied to plenty of universities in the US, mostly on the East Coast.  I had finally decided on Boston University in Massachusetts.  For the first time in my life, I was going to move countries without my family. After 4 moves together, this time I’d have to fend for myself. I was moving to Boston alone. I could not have been more excited though! I couldn’t wait to see what class would be like at university.  I’m a geek at heart and was ecstatic to meet my professors and learn all about economics and finance. I couldn’t wait to join the football and basketball intramural teams! I was thrilled to discover all the cafes, parks, and bars (even though I had to wait until I turned 21!) Boston had to offer. I was already planning on taking the bus to New York City on random weekends! I was psyched to meet the other students at orientation!  So what would I tell my 18 year old self at that point in time?

1. All of the hard work you put into university will be worth it!  Those days in the library studying Finance and Managerial Accounting will help you get the job you want.

2. The friends you meet at university will surprisingly not be the people with whom you’re friends with in your twenties! And that’s OK. You’ll change so much in the next 8 years that you’ll be looking for something different at that point in time.

3. Stop worrying about not meeting guys you could fall in love with! You’re young.  Stop stressing about how bored you are on those dates. Enjoy experiencing new restaurants and meeting new people. Seven years later, you’ll meet a guy who you can’t help falling in love with.

4. The study abroad trip you do in Auckland and in London is the best decision you make at university. It will help you realize where you want to settle down. As a TCK, that was bound to be a challenge in itself!

5. Don’t be so hard on yourself you overachiever! Relax!

6. Keep forcing yourself out of your comfort zone. That’s when you’ll experience the most amazing moments of your life.

7. You’re allowed to use your friends as a support system. As a TCK, you’ve learned to rely on yourself. It’s OK to ask for help.  They will be so happy that you finally asked for it!

8. You haven’t quite learned how to be vulnerable yet, and that’s alright; it’ll come with time.

9. Your parents, your sister, your brother, no matter how far they are, will always be one phone call away. Their support will be unconditional regardless of the life choices you make with regards to career, love, and life.

10. You’re still figuring out who you are at 18. It’s fine not to know exactly who you are just yet. The more you challenge yourself by taking on new projects, meeting new people, and throwing yourself in the deep-end, the sooner you’ll figure it out!

Tell me, what would you tell your 18-year-old self?



2 thoughts on “What would you tell your 18 year old self?

  1. Such a beautiful post, Olivia. I am definitely thinking about making it a series because as I’ve learned from TCKchat, we’ve all had some really great but also trying experiences as we moved from TC (kid) to TC (adult), especially coupled with a move (or everyone else’s if we remain the host country). I think post like this and Shannon’s help to give some normalcy to the 18, 19, or 20 year old TCK university student.

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