Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

18 lessons, 18 years

18 lessons, 18 years


What a landmark! It’s my 18th birthday today. It surreal and amazing that a girl that still can’t tell her right from her left or do a handstand or say a sentence without using the word “basically” is going to be a legal adult. For me this birthday is such a milestone as although technically becoming an adult isn’t going to make that huge of an impact of my life since I’m already old enough to drive, get married and drink at home but in a sort of, turning point in my life way, it’s a huge thing for me.

Turning 18 signifies a maturity and a level of responsibility that I am not yet ready for, being 17 is a safety blanket, you can pretty much act and be treated as an adult without the reality of actually being one. 17 is a great age, and has been one of the best years of my life so much has happened and to be honest it’s been perfect, yes life has natural ups and downs but I gotta say being 17 has been amazing! When there’s so much hate in the world why would I complain when I’ve got a family that mean the world to me, the most incredible friends, have the best time at college and have incredible plans for the upcoming year!

This week for me is so important as me and my older sister share our birthdays so it’s literally the only day along with my wedding day (which will be quite some time away and I have to share with the future Mr Bourne) that I’m going to get completely to myself! Not that I don’t love sharing my birthday with my favourite person but an 18th birthday is a right of passage so Vanessa’s ok that I’ve cancelled her birthday this year.

So I’ve now been alive nearly 2 decades as a millennium baby. So in that time I should have some wisdom to pass on. Well, I wouldn’t call it wisdom, but let’s have a go. Here are my 18 lessons after 18 years of Becky!

  1. Family is the world

If you know one thing about me, it’s that I’m a family girl! I am very close to my family and personally I think I have the best family in the world. My parents are both so loving and supportive and do everything they can to give me the best life they can. I have two older siblings who have set the best example ever and are everything I could wish to be! My nan is the most inspirational woman and I love her completely, and my auntie and uncle look after me and make me laugh so much. The main thing I’ve learnt isn’t to not take these people for granted because a family’s love is unconditional.

  1. You can’t buy good friends

True friends are hard to find, ones that will love and stay with your year in and year out. Fortunately, I am ridiculously lucky in that respect as I’ve got some incredible friends who have seen me do the most stupid, insane rubbish and be a nightmare and still love me despite that. Thankfully, my friends are just as weird as me so it’s a great match. The thing with finding good friends is no matter where you get to in life they’re gonna be there, to pick you up or for you to pick up.

  1. Finding yourself is more important than finding someone else

Romance isn’t my speciality, but before I go on one of my notorious self-love and appreciation spiels (believe me my friends have heard my rants about this topic, and they can be pretty long!), I really think that too much in our society we’re pressured into a couple because apparently that’s what’s going to make us happy. For a girl like me with massive wanderlust, and a heart to see the world, a relationship isn’t particularly on the cards.

  1. Trustworthiness is the most admirable trait

For me being able to keep secrets is a massive deal. I’ve found it’s incredible the amount people rely and like you when they realise that what they say in confidence stays in confidence. Trustworthiness is a trait people don’t talk about that much but I think its 100% one of the most important in a person.

  1. Working hard is the key

This is pretty self-explanatory, working hard is the key to getting everything you want. There is literally no point in being ambitious if your lazy because you’re never going to achieve anything. I’ve found that life is a simple case of what you put in you get out most of the time.

  1. Put down your phone and make memories

I might be a hypocrite for writing this one because anyone that knows me, knows I’m a phone addict! The thought of having to be without me phone for even a day makes me feel slightly ill however when I’m with my friends and family especially I love putting down my phone and making memories. Some of my best memories haven’t been captured on record but are in my mind forever. I love it because at my nans, there is no phone signal whatsoever so when your inside you have to be in the room (we call it the Bermuda Triangle). It’s great because no one uses their phone when they are in there, it’s all about having fun and spending time together.

  1. Everything takes time

Patience is a virtue. Sometimes I’ve wanted things to happen in life and it’s annoyed me that they aren’t happening NOW! But when I look back I can see why it’s better things worked out that way, in the grand scheme of things sometimes you can’t understand why things happen a certain way, but it might be for the best, you never know.

  1. Reading is the best way to grow an imagination

I actually cannot recommend reading enough and books are one of my great loves. Fortunately, I was raised by a bookworm so my mother’s love of literature passed straight onto me. It’s actually semi-weird that one of the places I feel most at home is in a library or bookshop. I can see how much reading from an early age has helped me, academically and socially. Spelling, grammar and vocabulary have always been some of my strengths – by the time I was 8 I was using huge words and I think slightly freaking my teachers out. Socially, books have given me a vivid imagination. At some point I’ll do a post on some of my favourite books because otherwise this paragraph is going to turn into an essay if I start talking about books!

  1. Siblings are the best people in your life

Again, another one on family. (I don’t care!) My siblings are incredible, and if you know me you know that I talk non-stop about them! I’m the youngest, and for me, my siblings have always looked after me. I hear about families where siblings fight, argue or ignore each other. The three of us have never been like that, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever fallen out with them, and I have so many happy memories of my life with them. The thing with having siblings is I’ve watched them grow in the same way they’ve watched me from a baby, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

  1. Learn from the generation before

This one is in specific reference to my grandparents. I am that grandchild that could listen for hours while my grandparents tell me stories. Most weeks I go to my nans after work on a Sunday and we sit and talk and she tells me about her incredible life, growing up in Barbados, moving to the UK, the racial struggles in England, being a single mother to five children and all about my dad and aunties and uncle’s childhoods. This fascinates me because sometimes you think of your nan as your nan and forget they’ve had a whole life before. With my mum’s parents, my grandad was in the para regiment of the British army and travelled the world and my nan is in a wheelchair but has done incredible things such as the disabled horse riding and swimming. For me my grandparents are a pillar of strength and I love hearing about everything that’s happened in their lives.

  1. Everyone’s human

This is really simply about tolerance. For me, you can be black, white, Asian, young, old, gay, straight, and whatever other label or stereotype society wants to put on you but as far as I’m concerned you’re a person and that’s how I’ll treat you. Coming to college was full of a lot of stereotypes. People made assumptions that I would dress and act a certain way because of my race, when in actual fact I’m nothing like how they assumed. Either way, I’m a huge believer in acceptance.

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” – Evelyn Beatrice Hall

  1. Being independent is the best thing you can do

I’ve always been a very independent person. Since childhood, if I was able to do something by myself, I would. I’ve never liked relying on people too much, of course everyone needs help and guidance but maybe in my books I read about strong women and have always wanted to be one? For me being independent means conquering fears, trusting instincts and finding out about how you cope in situations because you don’t have anyone to rely on.

  1. Confidence isn’t natural

It’s a case of fake it till you make it with me. I’m a big believer in the sink or swim method, for me confidence isn’t a natural emotion so it’s something you have to try at. Confidence is hard and scary but I’ve also had some of the best experiences of my life because I had the confidence to seize them.

  1. Don’t be a sheep

Having your own voice is one of the most important things. If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m not easily swayed, I think having your own morals, views and sticking by them is so important. Being a teenager there’s so much peer pressure but people will respect you if you stick by your own convictions and interpretations.

  1. Your body is a temple

This is such a cringe line but I’m gonna stick with it! Looking after yourself is super important. I’m a huge believer in body confidence and I can happily say it’s never been my ambition to be a Victoria secret model size. I’m just a huge believer in health and I hate watching people’s health plummet due to preventable factors such as a bad diet or lack of exercise. I’m not just talking about the physical body, but the mind as well. This could be through religion, meditation, mental exercise and much more.

  1. Does it actually matter what other people think?

I literally couldn’t give a toss what people think about me. Ok strictly that isn’t true, as say if I’m going to an interview I obviously care what the interviewer thinks of me but in a social sense, I don’t care. I’m not fussed if not everyone likes me and in a world full of Instagram likes and retweets, I really don’t need accreditation of a bunch of people I barley know, how’s that gonna make me feel any better? People’s lives on social media are so orchestrated and fake that I’m not worried about how my life looks online, because I know my life’s great.

  1. Don’t coast be proactive

Being proactive is a massive thing for me, I hear about teenagers who sit in their rooms on the Xbox not particularly doing anything with their lives, no job, no education. That’s just not for me, I just think there are too many interesting things to do I’m genuinely worried about not fitting them into my years on the planet!

  1. I’m 18 what do I need to worry about?

My final point on my 18th Birthday is… I’m 18, do I really need to be stressed? Turning 18 is the beginning of a new chapter with more fun, more laughs and no added worry.

So happy birthday to me!