21 Things I Have Learned At 21

21 Things I Have Learned At 21

Growing up is hard to do.
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I have seen this type of video produced all around the YouTube community—“17 things learned at 17” or “20 things learned at 20,” and so on. These are pretty cheesy, but I keep clicking on them every now and then, and realizing things I never even knew I learned myself.

That being said, I am in no way an expert on life. At all. In fact, I fail miserably at it. But reflection is an important part of life and recognizing where your faults are can help you grow. So, I might as well share what I have learned so far in my 21 years during this incredibly messy life that I have only just dipped my toes into. Hopefully what I have learned can emanate to another being.

1. Be thankful for any education you get to receive and use it to your benefit to help others constantly

This is an important one that I think we as college students forget about. Many people don’t receive the same opportunities to attend a university. It is easy to take advantage of this opportunity but it is really impactful how you chose to share the knowledge you attain every single day. You could be benefiting many others.

2. Always be early

For many reasons—it looks good to employers and professors, but it also relieves a lot of stress and anxiety you might have for an interview or class. It gives you an opportunity to mentally and physically prepare for whatever you are about to take on, and we all deserve some stress relievers.

3. The bars are not the ultimate goals to reach for in life

They are fun—don’t get me wrong. However, there is so much more to life than just that 21 ID. Do not forget other goals, aspirations, and dates that are just as important milestones.

4. Be picky when choosing your roommates

I have had to learn the hard way many times that picking roommates should be a bigger deal than people give it credit for. Where and who you are living with can directly affect your performance in school, but it also can be a huge factor on your mental health. This is an instance where you have to put your happiness first and room with the friends that care for you and treat you as another living human being.

5. Say please and thank you

These ones are simple, but very easy to forget. A “thank you” to your bus driver, professor, or waiter/waitress can go a long way. Saying “thank you” and “please” show your consideration for someone’s service and can make others feel appreciated.

6. Always pack a snack (and tampons) wherever you go

This one is pretty self-explanatory, and I think everyone can relate to a time when they really wished they had packed a snack and we have all had to learn this the hard way, unfortunately. Also, it is also just really nice when a girl asks for a tampon and you can be that person that saves her day.

7. Call your parents (this one took me a long time to learn)

I was not quite that close to my parents in high school. However, as times got tough and I realized they know way more than me, calling my parents became second nature. Also, your parents love to hear from you. If they do not call as much as you would like, call them instead. Reach out to the people who got you where you are.

8. As annoying as it is, try to plan for the future

Envisioning where you might be could help you make some important present decisions. This can go for planning classes or joining clubs that would benefit your career in the future. This can also be applicable to social events. Your career can be determined by how you spend your free time. Just keeping in mind what you want in the future can help you keep your eyes on the prize.

9. Fake it till you make it

If you are not good at being organized, just pretend you are! Practicing something and pretending you know what you are doing can usually put into perspective what you are lacking in order to be a pro.

10. But DO NOT be fake to other people

This is very junior high. But, it still seems to happen as we get older. Be straight up with someone. If you do not like how someone is treating others, say something instead of letting it slide by and watching them hurt others.

11. Give advice when you can, but realize sometimes people just need you to listen

This one, I am also still learning. Advice is not always needed and sometimes it is not always good advice being given. An ear, open mind, and kind heart can go a long way.

12. It is possible to balance a relationship, friendships, school, and going out (regardless of what has been misconceived to you through the media)

I have personally lived through this one, along with several other friends I have. My friends and I all respect our separate time with our significant others and our significant others respect our time devoted to friendships and school. This takes a lot of communication and comfort but it is well worth the effort and makes life more enjoyable.

13. Use social media for good, not evil

Coming at people for what they post is usually what is more popular than the posts themselves. Social media can be used to share great ideas and events but we get so caught up in the images we portray that we forget that there are people behind those screens.

14. When you find those people who love you unconditionally, seriously never ever let them go

I was a little unfortunate (but also lucky) that I did not meet some really great friends until I got to college. I never really understood when people would tell their BFFs, “You are so going to be my bridesmaids!” but knowing the friends I know now, I can not imagine without them by my side. For that, I thank them.

15. FOMO should have never become a thing

Simply because it sucks to feel like you are missing out on something and no one wants to live life thinking “what if…” all the time.

16. And if you need to stay in to get some work done DO NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT IT

17. But also, if you need a drink to cope with the stressful week, go out and have one (or three)

18. Many good, new experiences might make you feel uncomfy at first, but it will pass and it will be so worth it in the end

You have heard this a million times and I will agree—I hate going out of my comfort zone. So much. But the times I have, I have not regretted it. I have learned many new skills trying different things that have opened my eyes up to new opportunities.

19. Never stop asking questions

This goes back to point #1. We as students have an opportunity to learn and talk one on one with some very intelligent people. No question is a dumb question and you also never know who might be wondering the same thing.

20. Go to class! (this is the pre-service teacher in me coming out)

Seriously, your paying for it. But also, we are all about that stress-free life. Instead of stressing about what you are missing out on, go to class instead and really try engaging by turning off your phone or forcing yourself to summarize the class period later. It is a habit hard to break, but again, stress-free is the goal.

21. Be nice to everyone

The golden rule, the head honcho, the first thing said to you in kindergarten that is constantly and repeatedly forgotten on a day to day basis by almost everybody. Reality is, you don’t know what people are going through and you don’t know what’s going to make them crack that day. SO BE KIND. I know, it’s easier said than done but these acts of kindness could be so simple but could mean so much.

21 is not old, but growing up regardless of age is hard. You have to learn a lot, balance more things, and figure out relationships. Reflecting is important and I encourage you to reflect when you can.

Cover Image Credit: Jeanette Rose Van Zomeren

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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To Those Who Feel The Need To Tear Down Others, Take A Seat

You have no right to hurt others because you don’t agree with them.

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I recently wrote a super controversial article, which I'm honestly very proud of. In the comment section, there were plenty of people criticizing me because of what I believe in, mainly because they didn't believe in the same thing as I put out there.

I would just like everyone to know that the people that write for this amazing company are just that — people. They are real, they have opinions, and they have feelings. There is nothing different about them than you. Would you like someone commenting hate on your Facebook post or anything like that? No, no you wouldn't. When you comment rude things on something that someone worked long and hard on, you are just being rude and inconsiderate of their feelings.

If you just go to the comments to leave a rude comment, you can write it down on a piece of paper and throw it away. You're being a bully. These writers more than likely will go to the comment section, just like I did, and will be hurt by your arrogant, inappropriate comments.

Ever heard of if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all.

If you don't agree with me that's fine, but that doesn't give you the right to deliberately go and try and tear me or anyone else down. You're just being rude and you have no reason to be, all I did was write an article on something I believe in.

Also, don't let anyone rude enough to do this tear you down or diminish your self-worth. There are people out there who are still kind and caring, don't listen to the negativity this world brings. Just keep doing what makes you happy, because in the end, that's all that really matters.

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