Recently 21, I feel as if my life is just beginning. I have so much to look forward to, but here are 21 things I've come to learn in 21 years.
1. Change is good.
People tend to think that if you change, it’s a bad thing. But if you don’t change, are you even growing as a person? I’ve found that the most unexpected changes in life are the most thrilling and worthwhile.
2. You have to make yourself happy.
This one took me a while to learn and understand. After a long time, I realized that you are the source of your own happiness. You dictate how you feel everyday and sometimes your days do suck, but you have to learn to get over that. No one else can make you happy unless you make yourself happy.
3. Never just eat a salad before a night of drinking.
It's a Friday night during freshman year and there's nothing good to eat in the dining hall, so my friend and I have a salad each. Then we decided to go out. Needless to say, it is still one of our most talked about nights. As painful as the next morning was, I wouldn't trade memories like those for anything in the world.
4. You’ll fall for the older boy.
He’s cute, tall and on a sports team. As a freshman, you’re smitten with him. He may learn your name, maybe even wave to you as he’s driving by and you’ll feel like a million bucks.
5. It’s OK to be a nerd.
Since college, I’ve learned that I love learning. I’m not even ashamed to admit it. I’d rather spend my time reading books and articles and expanding my mind rather than talking about whatever the Kardashians are doing this week. Being a nerd is pretty cool, or at least that’s what I tell myself…right?!
6. Losing friends are a part of life.
This one is big. After some friendships that have ended, I realized that maybe everyone in your life isn’t meant to stay there forever. Perhaps some people who were in your life were there to show you what you can become or what you can overcome. Not all friendships are meant to last forever. Maybe friends come and go because maybe they’ve taught us everything that we needed to know from them.
7. Don’t let people bring you down.
You cannot let other people dictate how you feel. You are the source of your own happiness, just keep reminding yourself that.
8. The 'freshman 15' is oh so real.
The freshman 15 is unfortunately real. Or if you’re like me, it might be the sophomore slump. It’s OK to gain weight in college. You’re not supposed to have the body of an 18-year-old forever. You’re becoming more of a woman, you might gain some curves, please don’t beat yourself up over it.
9. You don’t talk to most people from high school after graduation.
I didn’t have the quintessential high school experience. I always knew college was going to be better for me than high school ever was. I keep in contact with only the people that matter the most and having a handful of real friends is better than having dozens of "friends."
10. It’s OK to be the third, maybe even fifth wheel.
As the perpetually single girl, this is my life. Whether it’s my roommate and her boyfriend or my brother and his girlfriend, I am always the odd one out, literally. I’ve learned to embrace it and go with the flow. Don’t be a spoilsport just because you don’t have a significant other to hang out with. On the flip side, it’s totally okay to just want to hang by yourself or with your single friends. I just keep reminding myself that one day I will no longer be an odd number, but an even. (I hope)
11. Drunk adventures are the most fun.
Ah, the adventures after a night out. Whether it’s walking to McDonald's or the diner at 2 am, things always get the most fun when you don’t really have a plan. I can’t count the number of times my friends and I have just decided to go on an adventure after a night out and they always make for the best memories.
12. You need to get away from home.
I love home almost more than anyone, but sometimes you really need to get away. It’s good for a change, so whether that means living on campus or even going abroad, going away is the only way you’ll truly learn to appreciate how amazing home is.
13. Just because you’re 21 doesn’t mean you’ll stop buying cheap alcohol.
I told myself that I was only going to buy quality alcohol as soon as I turned 21. Well here I am, still buying boxed wine and Miller High Life on the weekends. Embrace the college experience.
14. Kill people with kindness.
It will drive them crazy.
15. There are people who still think they’re in high school.
There are always a handful of people who are still trying to live like they're in high school. Just ignore them
16. Everyone gets white girl wasted at least once, maybe even twice.
Or maybe even a couple of hundred times…hey, we all have those nights. We’re all entitled to them, but don’t be that girl every single weekend
17. Tragedy is also a part of life.
Sometimes bad things happen to good people and we can’t do anything about it. But that’s life, you have to learn to take the good with the bad and have faith that things will get better.
18. Social media is NOT the answer.
Oh for the love of God, PLEASE STOP SUBTWEETING. No one wants to read your subtweets nor do they even care, at all. It just makes you look immature. If you have a problem with someone, be an adult and talk to him or her in person. Don’t hide behind your computer.
19. Spend time with your family.
My family is everything to me. Growing up and meeting all sorts of people have made me realized how blessed I am with them and also how quickly people can be taken from you. Appreciate them, every single day, because there is no one like them.
20. Burnett's is the worst type of alcohol.
There’s not much else I can say about this. For all of those who have (slightly) survived an experience with Burnett's, pat yourself on your back. For all of those who have never had it, don’t. Please don’t.
21. Praying can get you so far.
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve had a bad day or just have felt really crappy and I didn’t know what to do. What always gets me through anything is prayer. Sometimes all it takes is talking to the big man upstairs to lift my spirits because I know He's always there.