21 Things I Learned By 21

21 Things I Learned By 21

Eat the damn hot dog.

Turning 21 is something people wait for their whole lives. For some, it's the day they finally can drink legally, and for others, it's the day they can ditch the fake id and nothing else really changes. I won't say what I'm most excited about, but I will say I have definitely learned a lot getting here.

1. Just because you turn 21 doesn't mean you have to "start adulting."

For people that are real-life adults at 21, good for you. However, just because you turn 21 doesn't mean you have any of it together at all. Use it as a yellow light instead of a red light. We all know you're going to speed up at the end anyway.

2. Be the girl that orders a hot dog instead of a salad at a restaurant.

Life is too short to pretend like you want to eat plants over an Oscar Meyer.

3. College students are like toddlers.

They love chicken nuggets, break down often and during the weekends, can barely walk.

4. Powerade Zero is a life changer.

It's like Pedialyte but under $1 and just as effective. You're welcome.

5. You're never too old to call your mom.

No matter what age your mom will always be there for you, plus she probably wants to hear from you just as much.

6. If a waiter spills a whole chicken dish on your head, don't get mad.

Learn to laugh at yourself, what you think is a big deal at the time probably won't matter in a day.

7. Never turn down any food eating contest.

When I turned 20 I mentioned not to turn down a wing eating contest. Here I am to correct myself.

8. It's okay to be wrong.

Going off my last thing. It's always better to admit you were wrong and improve, than to refuse defeat and stay the same. Own your sh*t, good or bad.

9. Always kiss your friends.

This sounds weird, but it's alright to show them some love, they deserve it.

10. Always remind your friends how much you love them.

Some people don't go for kissing. But seriously, make sure your friends are reminded how much they mean to you. Your friends are your rock.

11. Fried chicken at Harris Teeter is $5 on Friday.


12. Always make friends with strangers.

When there aren't bathrooms and you have to pee they'll make the damn Wall of China for you if you ask.

13. Your favorite songs from 8th grade are the best motivators.

Do yourself a favor and make a playlist.

14. Never buy toilet paper.

Steal it at places like bars and school. You can even use it as a game with your roommates and see who can get the most free rolls!

15. Do what scares you.

This is the motto I will always live by. The best things in life will come from the experiences you're nervous of. Let fear be your best motivator.

16. Make your hairdresser your best friend

They're who ultimately decides what you look like when you walk out of the salon, plus they make a great listener.

17. Know when honesty is the best policy.

Through my years I've learned that sometimes it's okay to extend the truth a little for certain situations. However, it's important to know the difference of when it's okay and when it's not.

18. Always make friends with bouncers.

They'll give you their flashlight when you lose your phone, just don't lose their flashlight looking for your phone in the process. But that's another story for a different day.

19. Getting complimented on your personality is just as good as getting complimented on your appearance.

How you make others feel is the most important mark you will ever leave on this earth. When someone compliments your mind take it just as well as you would on your looks.

20. Put your phone down.

This might seem like a crazy thing to do as a millennial, but sacrificing an Instagram to live your life from your eyes instead of a screen for even 30 minutes is worth it and completely underrated.

21. Enjoy life while you can.

Never sacrifice your happiness for another person and live your life in the moment. You never know what could happen or when something could change.

Cover Image Credit: Colleen Topliff

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15 Things Only Lake People Will Understand

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people. Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look. Every year when summer rolls back around, you can't wait to fire up the boat and get back out there. Here is a list of things you can probably identify with as a fellow lake-goer.

1. A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day not at the lake.

It's your place of escape, where you can leave everything else behind and just enjoy the beautiful summer day. No matter what kind of week you had, being able to come and relax without having to worry about anything else is the best therapy there is. After all, there's nothing better than a day of hanging out in the hot sun, telling old funny stories and listening to your favorite music.

2. You know the best beaches and coves to go to.

Whether you want to just hang out and float or go walk around on a beach, you know the best spots. These often have to be based on the people you're with, given that some "party coves" can get a little too crazy for little kids on board. I still have vivid memories from when I was six that scared me when I saw the things drunk girls would do for beads.

3. You have no patience for the guy who can’t back his trailer into the water right.

When there's a long line of trucks waiting to dump their boats in the water, there's always that one clueless guy who can't get it right, and takes 5 attempts and holds up the line. No one likes that guy. One time my dad got so fed up with a guy who was taking too long that he actually got out of the car and asked this guy if he could just do it for him. So he got into the guy's car, threw it in reverse, and got it backed in on the first try. True story.

4. Doing the friendly wave to every boat you pass.

Similar to the "jeep wave," almost everyone waves to other boats passing by. It's just what you do, and is seen as a normal thing by everyone.

5. The cooler is always packed, mostly with beer.

Alcohol seems to be a big part of the lake experience, but other drinks are squeezed into the room remaining in the cooler for the kids, not to mention the wide assortment of chips and other foods in the snack bag.

6. Giving the idiot who goes 30 in a "No Wake

Zone" a piece of your mind.

There's nothing worse than floating in the water, all settled in and minding your business, when some idiot barrels through. Now your anchor is loose, and you're left jostled by the waves when it was nice and perfectly still before. This annoyance is typically answered by someone yelling some choice words to them that are probably accompanied by a middle finger in the air.

7. You have no problem with peeing in the water.

It's the lake, and some social expectations are a little different here, if not lowered quite a bit. When you have to go, you just go, and it's no big deal to anyone because they do it too.

8. You know the frustration of getting your anchor stuck.

The number of anchors you go through as a boat owner is likely a number that can be counted on two hands. Every once in a while, it gets stuck on something on the bottom of the lake, and the only way to fix the problem is to cut the rope, and you have to replace it.

9. Watching in awe at the bigger, better boats that pass by.

If you're the typical lake-goer, you likely might have an average sized boat that you're perfectly happy with. However, that doesn't mean you don't stop and stare at the fast boats that loudly speed by, or at the obnoxiously huge yachts that pass.

10. Knowing any swimsuit that you own with white in it is best left for the pool or the ocean.

You've learned this the hard way, coming back from a day in the water and seeing the flowers on your bathing suit that were once white, are now a nice brownish hue.

11. The momentary fear for your life as you get launched from the tube.

If the driver knows how to give you a good ride, or just wants to specifically throw you off, you know you're done when you're speeding up and heading straight for a big wave. Suddenly you're airborne, knowing you're about to completely wipe out, and you eat pure wake. Then you get back on and do it all again.

12. You're able to go to the restaurants by the water wearing minimal clothing.

One of the many nice things about the life at the lake is that everybody cares about everything a little less. Rolling up to the place wearing only your swimsuit, a cover-up and flip flops, you fit right in. After a long day when you're sunburned, a little buzzed, and hungry, you're served without any hesitation.

13. Having unexpected problems with your boat.

Every once in a while you're hit with technical difficulties, no matter what type of watercraft you have. This is one of the most annoying setbacks when you're looking forward to just having a carefree day on the water, but it's bound to happen. This is just one of the joys that come along with being a boat owner.

14. Having a name for your boat unique to you and your life.

One of the many interesting things that make up the lake culture is the fact that many people name their boats. They can range from basic to funny, but they are unique to each and every owner, and often have interesting and clever meanings behind them.

15. There's no better place you'd rather be in the summer.

Summer is your all-time favorite season, mostly because it's spent at the lake. Whether you're floating in the cool water under the sun, or taking a boat ride as the sun sets, you don't have a care in the world at that moment. The people that don't understand have probably never experienced it, but it's what keeps you coming back every year.

Cover Image Credit: Haley Harvey

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Poetry On Odyssey: Doubt

It is time to wage war on our emotions, yet to do so we must be ready for the unknown.

What is it

Where does it come from

Why is it here

How is it so strong

When will it go away

Who even is it?

Questions on questions

They pile up higher and higher

But for what?

Is it only to be answered with another question

A question that can’t be answered,

Or can it?

Its name is doubt

Or is that even its name

I have become so unsure,

Because of its silly game.

Doubt makes us worry

Doubt makes us unwilling

Doubt makes us lost.

The very definition of doubt

Is a question

Or maybe it’s “to question.”

Doubt may be a hinder

Yet it does not cripple

For doubt can be overcome.

Our grass doesn’t have to be compared

No, not to the other side

See our grass can be watered

Watered right where we are.

It may take time,

But it will grow,

For it is proven.

We can’t question what is true

We can’t assume things we have yet to experience,

Yet we can grow what is right at our feet.

Sometimes we have to go with what we know,

And not with what we feel.

We have been given a mission

A purpose, if you recall,

Not to sit on the side

Yet to take the lead for all.

This is a stand we must make

One that will be hard to do

But hold on the promise

That we have all been there too.

For just as angst comes to prey

Doubt is by its side

But we know what’s to be done

We know how to fight

For we must only stand in the light.

Our grass will grow green

No matter how dead it seems

Don’t forget to add the water

Because that is all it needs.

You’ve got this,

Keep going,

You’re going to do great

I’m proud of you my friend

For this is not the end.

Cover Image Credit: Rex Pickar

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