The 5 Most Important Lessons I Learned in 2018

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to share the five most important lessons I learned in 2018. This year was filled with uncertainty, immense happiness, risk, laughter, sadness, and love. From graduating, to teaching English, to taking road trips, it’s been one of the best years yet. Through the memories and people I’ve encountered, I’ve learned the following:

1. Just because society tells you that you need a traditional job after college does not mean you have to sell your soul to corporate America. I witnessed many of my peers accept jobs that were not aligned with their values and interests just because they felt like they had to get “experience” and start making money ASAP. Of course we all have bills, but what’s the rush? Try new jobs and don’t feel like you’re stuck.
Teaching English in Ukraine – Summer, 2018 //
2. Speaking of jobs, if you don’t like your job, QUIT! You don’t owe anyone anything regardless of societal pressures to build your resume and make connections. Your happiness is more important than another line on a resume. Of course, do so in a respectful manner and make sure you have enough money to support yourself or have another job lined up in advance.
My first pop-up shop for ‘With Love by A Newer Kat’ – December, 2018
*I quit my job the next day.
3. Travel as much as you can. Four years ago, after studying abroad in Prague, I was hooked to traveling. I had these crazy dreams of participating in as many study abroad programs as I could and traveling to every country. People told me that I just had the “travel bug” and it would go away. It still hasn’t gone away after studying in China, spending a year in Italy, teaching English in Ukraine, and traveling to 25 other countries. Don’t let anyone stop you from traveling (especially if you’re a solo female). Go out there and experience all that you can, and make sure you take care of your health in the process.
Hiking solo in Sardegna – March, 2018
4. No one is going to believe in your dreams as much as you do. If you’ve been following me on this platform for a while now, then you know I have some wild dreams including becoming a motivational speaker, being on Shark Tank, living in my Jeep, and traveling to every country in the world. These are the things that keep me up at night and set me on fire. I’ve had countless people say I’m just a “dreamer” and “yeah right, Kat”, but I don’t take no for an answer. I gave my first speech at the Villanova School of Business graduation, placed second as the only solo female competitor in the Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition (after being told it would be too difficult for me to compete alone), and traveled to more than 5 countries this year (2 solo). How’s that for a no? Keep believing in your dreams no matter how many no’s you get.
Vision Board – January 2018 //
5. Walk into love. Easier said than done. Prior to teaching English in Ukraine, I was blinded by my goals and dreams. I put everything else on the side line: my friends, family, and doing fun things in my day to day life. When I got to Ukraine, my focus shifted and I realized that I needed to balance achieving my goals and “walking into love” without fear of being judged, worrying about not dedicating enough time to my dreams, or being hurt. If you want to learn more about this lesson, read this blog post.
Estonia – July, 2018
What’s the biggest lesson you learned this year? I hope this new year brings you all health, happiness, and fulfillment of your dreams and I’m thankful to be on this journey with you!