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Morgan Bakies

Summer co-op, LyondellBasell

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If you could give your twenty-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Why?

Hello! I'm an undergraduate student who was truly inspired by Meg Jay's talk, "Why 30 is not the new 20" so I wanted to see what the TED community has to say. I turned twenty in March and I want to make the most of my next decade of life. How did you spend your twenties? Was this the defining of your life? Currently, I see endless opportunities, but I'm scared for the day they will disappear.

So if you're above twenty, what advice do you have for your past self? If you are twenty-something, what do you tell yourself everyday to be the best you can be? And if you're under twenty, what's one thing that you hope your twenty-year-old self will remember about adolescence? Thank you so much and I look forward to seeing what you have to say!

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    May 20 2013: I spent my late twenties trying to fix what I had messed up in my teens and early twenties. I graduated from college with a meaningless major and no sense of direction. Eventually, I was able to backtrack, pick up the pieces, and take a bunch of useful post-bac courses. Through hard work and a lot of luck, I was ultimately able to get into medical school. So I ended up in a good place, but it took much longer to get there than it should have. It would be sweet and poetic to tell you that the journey was worth it, but the truth is that all I see when I look back is how I wasted a few years of my life. I would like to have those years back.

    What I would tell my twenty-year-old self is the following: The ideal of wandering in your twenties to try to "find yourself" is overrated. Move more purposefully. Try to figure things out quickly and efficiently. If you know what you're interested in and what you want, don't be afraid to grow up quickly and seize it. Life's too short to be reckless with your twenties.

    Only my $0.02, of course, Morgan. In the end, only you will be able decide what makes life meaningful for you. And a slew of internet comments shouldn't sway your internal compass. But I'd like to add my voice to the ether with the overall message that there really is such thing as "wasted time", and you may have to live quite deliberately in order to avoid it.

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