20 Life Lessons I Learned Before I Turned 20

20 Life Lessons I Learned Before I Turned 20

You were right, mom, the world does not revolve around me.

Throughout the past 20 years, I have learned so much about friendship, life, and working hard. They say the older you are, the wiser you are, so here are 20 of the most important life lessons I have learned throughout my life time.

1. Be the good friend

Be the person that your friend can vent to, rely on, and go to when they need support. It is never a bad thing to be a good friend.

2. Don't over-share on social media

No one needs to know what you are doing every second of every day. Sharing your personal drama over the internet will only draw in unwanted attention.

3. Not everything is about you

You were right, mom, the world does not revolve around me.

4. Be nice to everyone, especially those who are working in retail

From someone who has had over three years of retail experience, I can tell you that simply being nice can make everyone's life a little easier. Every other person in retail is just trying to make it through their shift without being yelled at by irate customers.

5. You will learn so much from your high school jobs

I have had a job since I was thirteen years old. I started by being a hockey referee, babysitting, working in retail, and finding odd jobs to make a little extra cash during college. From all of these positions I have gained time management and communication skills and I have become a more independent person by having my own money.

6. High school was not the "best days of your life"

I feel sorry for everyone that peaked in high school.

7. Eat the pizza/cake/chocolate/etc.

Everything will even out eventually.

8. Sometimes the best of friendships can come from weird situations

I met one of my best friends at the beginning of my sophomore year of high school at a church retreat because we were the only two that didn't know anyone else there. We ended up staying in the same room together and are still great friends. I met another best friend of mine by simply waving to her on move in day of our freshman year of college. It's funny how some things work out.

9. It is okay, and sometimes necessary, to cut certain people out of your life

I wish I had learned this sooner, but you should never feel bad about cutting toxic people out of your life. Remember: friends are suppose to make you feel good about yourself.

10. Some of the best memories are made by staying up late

Whether you're talking with friends over late night pizza or getting into trouble. . .

11. Take your education seriously

Education is a privilege and should never be taken for granted. Although not everyone will go to a college or university after high school, we live in a world where you can learn anything over the internet.

12. You don't have to like everyone, but you have to be nice to them

I learned this lesson after not liking a certain girl in my community education gymnastics class in first grade. Turns out, after we were both nice to each other, we found out we had a lot in common and it ended up becoming great friends a few years later.

13. Take lots of pictures

Taking pictures and sharing these memories is easier done now with the use of Instagram and Snapchat. Taking pictures with your friends and family will be something you can look back on at any time in life. Remember: you can't simply Google pictures of you and your friends.

14. Embrace the parts of you that are unique

I remember in middle school wishing that I had stick straight hair because kids made fun of my "crazy" and "uncontrollable" hair. To this day, my hair is one of my favorite features and I hate taking the time to straighten it.

15. Being in a relationship isn't everything

I cherish being single just as much as a appreciate being in a relationship.

16. Drive carefully

You're not invincible on the road, especially when you're 16 years old.

17. Money is important, but it is not everything

Money will always come and go. Being a college student means spending money on things you don't want to spend money on, like textbooks, dishes, and food, but that doesn't mean you can't ever splurge on a gift to yourself every once in awhile.

18. Get out of your comfort zone

When my dad asked me to go fishing this summer, I agreed not knowing what I was getting myself into. If my dad had told me we would be staying in a bunk house and pushing a boat across a muddy portage, I would have been nervous and probably said no, but I am glad I said yes to the opportunity to spend a weekend with my dad, trying new things and being surrounded by nature.

19. Find the humor in every situation

All of those awkward or embarrassing moments turn into the best stories to tell.

20. Take every opportunity

I will never regret hoping on a flight to Colorado on a whim to see a friend five days before I moved into my junior year of college. Buy the concert ticket, watch a movie with friends, go on an adventure, make the memories while you can. You're still young.

Cover Image Credit: Storyblocks

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Finding Inspiration As A Writer


Odyssey is fantastic. I love writing, so I can write something fun or silly, or do a list of something if I experience a brain fart.

However, with million of writers posting articles everyday, how do I create original content? Yes, there are endless things to write, until you realize that four other people wrote about the same topic, with the same title.

The articles posted on Odyssey's Facebook page are very creative, and I struggle with that. Before I plan to write any article, I think about "Is this a popular topic and are there similar articles published?" 90% of the time, it's a yes. I only began writing recently but how does one get acknowledged in the remaining 10%?.

1. Will it appeal to my audience? What is the intended audience?

2. Why does this matter? What type of message does it send?

I wish I had more of an exciting life, so I could write about my extravagant adventures and greatest accomplishments.

I overthink a lot and put a lot of energy into what is something my audience would be interested in. How can I expand my horizons as a writer?

My first article was a listicle, because I was just getting started, until I found more ideas related to family, culture and concentrating on what makes me 'unique'. I hope that my future articles will continue to reflect the kind of person am I and that my experiences can inspire/bring change in a positive manner.

Don't get me wrong... those listicles are great for a good chuckle, but it doesn't leave you with anything life changing. In that manner, I love that Odyssey challenges me to expand outside the box and bring new ideas to the table, with every article.

It's not impossible, but it does require planning ahead and communicating with others to understand what they are interested in and what questions they would want someone to answer.

In the end, Odyssey is fun and my team at Syracuse is extremely supportive. As I publish every article, I see myself getting closer to my dream to build a career in Journalism.

On that note, thanks Odyssey for allowing others to share their voices with everyone and for pushing me every week to become a better writer.

Cover Image Credit: Grammarly

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5 Reasons Joining A Sorority Was The Best Decision I Made


I’ve never been the sappy type.

I absolutely hate corny sentiments, and I am the last person you want to come to if you are having an emotional day. So naturally the idea of “sorority sisterhood” confused me. I was nauseous at the idea of “joining a sorority to meet my future bridesmaids” and “being sisters for life.”

It seemed as if the relationships were artificial and being formed for appearance. Were these girls that you called your “sisters” really the ones that you went to for advice, or was it just a façade that covered up all of the drama that truly went on?

Regardless of my skepticism I decided to participate in rush in hopes of trying to find my niche on Villanova’s campus. After the draining process, I decided to rush Kappa Delta, and it was the best decision I made in my college career thus far. All the preconceived notions about sorority life flew out the window the second I opened my envelope and rushed home to these girls.

1. Things get weird: and that is OKAY.

Stuffing our faces with five slices of pizza, bowling very poorly, or talking about our weird eating habits is how we do our sisterly bonding. We sit there laughing at the ridiculous moments we all have experienced, feeling completely comfortable around each other. These conversations are pure and genuine and allow new friendships to form out of fun experiences.

2. Big Little Week: only the BEST WEEK OF YOUR LIFE

You walk into your room to find your entire bed decorated with fun goodies. Free t-shirts, fun foods, and sorority décor are carefully arranged on your bed every day by your future Big. Sure, the free items are cool to receive but there is something else that is so special about this week.

Without even knowing the sister that will be your future Big you develop a special connection through seeing how much she cares about you. You immediately feel comfortable around this girl, able to go to her with the smallest concerns. This week is the beginning of a great future of a strong friendship, great laughs, and irreplaceable love.

3. Service Opportunities: DO IT FOR THE GIRL SCOUTS

I love to get involved in helping out the local community, and a sorority was the perfect way to do that. It allowed me to become a part of something bigger than myself and support causes that might not have impacted me, but definitely affected others. I am now actively trying to alleviate child abuse, as well as incite confidence within young girls.

4. New Friendships!

A group of 47 girls were all bound together by one thing: sorority sisterhood. We didn’t know anything about each other yet we immediately started saying ‘hi’ to one other everywhere on campus, supporting individual successes in academics, and giving advice on any conflicts. I now have an amazing group of women there for me no matter what difficulties I face, and I know I can always rely on them when I need them most.

5. Confidence: YOU. SLAY. GIRL.

Although I may be obnoxious and loud at times, I am a very self-conscious individual. I never thought I was pretty, always worried about how white my teeth were, and don’t even get me started on what I think about my nose. However, joining a sorority allowed me to feel comfortable in my own skin. I could have a bare face, my hair up in a bun, and sweatpants on, and the only thing the girls would be worried about is the words coming out of my mouth. I don’t need to put on a façade in order to be in front of these girls. I can just be myself.

Cover Image Credit: Victoria Schmidt

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