22 Lessons I've Learned By My 22nd Birthday

22 Things I've Learned In My 22 Years You'll Relate To, Too, As Long As You're Feelin' 22

In the wise words of Taylor Swift; I don't know about you, but I'm feelin' 22!


Today is my 22nd birthday, so what more fitting article to write than some things I've learned along the way. Lately, I've been reflecting on the hidden blessings that come with lessons learned throughout my years living on Earth. Some of the roughest moments in my life has lead me to the most wonderful things and people.

The world is a funny place, but celebrating my birthday, I wanted to write about lessons which stuck out; some funny and some that have shaped me for success along the way.

1. Life is short

How ironic, right? I've lost friends who've had their life taken from that way, way too soon. Every year I'm so grateful

2. After turning 21, birthdays aren't as cool 

I didn't believe anyone till it happened to me. I think the highlight of this birth year is I can play Taylor Swift's "22" on repeat. All. Weekend. Long.

3. There's nothing more attractive than a SMILE 

Being happy is contagious! I love being the one beam of light in a dark room. By this I mean, in a world of negativity and hate, be the light. Positivity is beautiful, positivity is bright. It makes others around you happy. Take a deep breath, smile and try it!

4. When booking flights, double and TRIPLE check the departure times

Nothing worse than spending $400 on a flight to Vegas for the weekend, think you're going home by noon on Sunday and in reality, you leave at midnight. Just change the flight departure time, you said? That will be another $300. Just saying...

5. In a world with leggings and jean, always pick leggings

It makes life so much more comfy.

6. Don't be afraid of ending a relationship in fear of being alone

While we are here, also do not let other people's opinions guide what decisions you make. You are your own person, you make decisions on what makes you happy. If it isn't putting harm on anyone, other people's opinions shouldn't matter and shouldn't determine your decisions and happiness.

7. The only thing that can cure a broken heart is time

I know it hurts now, but time will cure the pain eventually.

8. Don't stress over what you can't control 

My dad continuously reminds me of this when I'm having a crisis. If you can't control it, do not waste your time and energy stressing over it. Everything always works out.

9. Cheez Itz are better than Gold Fish


10. Owning a puppy is similar to having a baby

Don't even get me started — just trust me. They poop and pee on the floors, are not potty trained, chew up your new shoes, get into things they shouldn't be and all around trouble-makers (but adorably cute!)

11. Being unemployed after graduation is perfectly normal

Yes, there are students who have already landed a job. Yes, there are hundreds and thousands of other students who aren't employed out of college. I'm sure we all share that same anxiety, stress, and pressure, but with time and patience, the right opportunity will appear.

12. Blood is thicker than water

This is something I've always heard growing up. Simply put, family is forever and will always be on your side. Friends, however, even the ones you thought would always be by your side, may not always be in the long run. Personally, I have gone through this and learned the hard way. I'm very grateful for my family.

13. The sheer feeling of accomplishment after fulfilling a pen's full life

Are you confused? Well, a ballpoint pen or any pen for that matter has a certain about of ink before it is useless. Using said pen till the ink runs out? Super satisfying.

14. Ice cream cake trumps regular cake

This rule only applies if my grandma's homemade cassata cake isn't involved in the competition. If that is the case, we must go back to the reevaluation stage. I'll try all three for good measures.

15. Owning a plant is super fun

I own an aloe plant, she is the best. I always have killed all plants I've own in the past, but my aloe has grown beautifully. It makes me feel like I have my life together, even if it's just a little bit. Especially watching it grow over time!

16. Money isn't everything, but it sure can help many things

No, you don't need money to be happy, find love or your purpose. Although, money will solve poverty, hunger, paying your bills on time, etc. I don't have all the money in the world and if I had more it would benefit me in different aspects of my life. Sometimes, though, it's important to look around and be grateful for the things and people in front of you.

17. Yes, your parents were right

Truly about everything... but if they ask I didn't admit it.

18. Mixing liquors will end you

I learned this a year ago from today. For my legal drinkers out there, just stick to one family (i.e. vodka, rum, whiskey, etc.) and stay with that for the night. Your stomach and head will thank you the next morning.

19. Picky eaters get better with time and confidence

Hi, my name is Jillian Monczynski, former most picky eater ever. I finally decided to man-up and try different foods and I love them! To my other fellow picky eaters, don't be afraid! You could be missing out on your favorite meals.

20. "Men are like busses, one leaves and the next one is around the corner"

In the wise words of my grandma Fran, men come and go all the time. If you got your heart broken recently or maybe feel like you'll be alone for forever — don't. The next one is on the way. (This goes for ladies as well!)

21. Don't wish away your college years

I have about a month and a half left. I never want to graduate or leave my pals. *Sobs profusely*

22. The cool kids wake up early, not go to bed super late

Obviously, there is some humor with this one, considering I haven't fully gotten the hang of this yet. Waking up early gives you so much time and maximum productivity. Wake up, grab your coffee and get things done!

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter

I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.


One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.


If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become.

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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