Turning 21 Was Fun And All, But Here Are 5 Things That It’s Taught Me About Myself Thus Far

Turning 21 Was Fun And All, But Here Are 5 Things That It’s Taught Me About Myself Thus Far

Growing up isn't all fun and games.


I turned 21 in October of 2018. I kept having dreams about it and being able to order my own alcoholic drinks and purchase from places on my own. That was the most exciting part: feeling completely legal. I'm no heavy drinker and I don't party, so when the day actually came, it felt like just another day. As sad as that sounds, my 21st birthday was nothing too special.

I did get to celebrate it in lots of cool ways like going on vacation for a few days with my parents and boyfriend. That was fun, but once I came back home to the reality of life and all of my responsibilities, I was downed.

There are a lot of things that I've learned in the 21 years that I've been alive, but there are 5 more specific things that really stick out and are the most meaningful and educational.

1. Living on my own isn't as nice as I anticipated.

Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash

Moving out can seem like such a fun thing and living independently is a huge added bonus. Not having to have parents tell you about things that need to be done, cleaning up after your family, etc. Once I moved into an apartment and lived there for a few months though, all of that changed.

There are lots of things for me to still learn about life and myself, but being on my own and taking care of everything myself that my parents could have been there to help me out with is the biggest struggle. Having to make all of those phone calls myself, driving to and from both of my jobs, putting in the hours each week to make money to pay for the bills, and so much more.

Being in my own bedroom without my parents living with me seemed so fun, but I now understand how much I still depend on them and how much I miss them and wish that I had made the decision to stay at home with them.

2. Becoming money-independent isn't a walk in the park.

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

When living on my own, there are bigger things like rent bills, a car payment and a vet fee since I have a cat. Having a cat is my own choice just as well as living without my parents is, but it makes sense since it's much closer to school than me commuting from home would be. I was able to save a lot of money living with them though, so money is much tighter this way and budgeting comes into hand.

3. Responsibilities become heavier.

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

After turning 18, my parents stopped receiving Social Security in my favor, and I became a form of spending money. Since I was born, my mother has taken care of me and kept me underneath her wing when it comes to food, shelter and clothing. After some time, it was important that I was shown how to take care of myself for when I won't always have my parents and for when I have to start paying back my student loans. If I want reliable transportation, a cell phone, to be protected by health care and automobile insurance, a place to live and food and clothing to have, I needed to be shown how to obtain all of those things myself. I'm still working on taking each and every one of these responsibilities on for myself, but I'm happy to have been explained how important this will become.

4. There is still a lot of growing up to do.

Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash

The beginning of adulthood is a time of excitement and stress. Learning what my future will be like and what it will consist of is a lot to take in. Knowing how many burdens will be moved to my shoulders, wanting to eventually settle down and be married, share joint accounts with a SO, etc. It's a lot to understand and a lot to have to learn to earn.

Becoming an independent is the biggest part of adulthood, and as a 21-year-old full-time student and part-time employee, I still have a lot on my spoon to take in and take onto my own life from others, being my parents.

5. Handling stress, panic and anxiety alone is scary.

Photo by DANNY G on Unsplash

Being diagnosed with depression and OCD, having to handle a mental breakdown, a panic attack or a very depressive state is also completely dependent on how I manage it alone. For the most part, my panic attacks happen at late hours of the night or wee hours of the early morning when no one else is awake for me to call and talk through it with (there are hotlines and crisis text lines though). Taking my medications is all on me; taking responsibility and showing up for important doctor's appointments is on me; not abusing forms of treatment, overdosing, etc. is all dependent on a patient.

Because I live with other roommates that I'm not entirely close with, I feel like I'm backed into a corner a lot, or am in a state of constant loneliness when I can't see or talk to my mother, boyfriend or best friend. This is an extremely challenging part of my adulthood experience and is one that will continue to develop and turn into something that is much more serious. It's already a serious matter, but soon enough, it will become my responsibility to have insurance to cover expensive therapy and psychiatry appointments and to be able to pay for medication.

In the end, growing up can seem and actually is fun in some aspects. Responsibilities, finances, grades, and well-being are important things to keep in mind when going about one's life and taking advantage of what one has. I personally didn't realize the duties that were put onto me when I moved out right away and abused what I had as far as money and responsibilities go; but since I've been around for 21 years, I feel that I've learned a lot and have a lot more to learn. But I'll get there.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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There Is No 'Right Way' To React To A Shooting

Everyone is different.


After the shootings this year in New Zealand, Brazil, and close to home for some of us Aurora, people have been reacting in different ways. With some offering their thoughts and prayers, donating money to help pay for the funerals of the victims, fighting for action in regards to ending gun violence, candlelight vigils basically anything that can help them in this time of grief.

There is no right or wrong way to react to a shooting — everyone grieves in their own ways. We should not judge one another for how we grieve in a tragedy.

People have been saying that thoughts and prayers won't do anything. However, maybe it can be a comfort to some people—a way to let people know that they are thinking of them and that they care.

Sometimes people may want to donate money or blood to help out any survivors who may have suffered from blood loss or create GoFundMe accounts to either help out with medical expenses or to pay for the funerals of the victims or even start charities like Islamic Relief USA. Donating your time and money is a good way to help out because you are making a difference that is a form of action you are taking.

There is also grieving in the form of vigils. One example of a vigil is this guy who makes crosses every time there is some kind of tragedy. Vigils are often a good way to remember the victims, to pray for the healing of the survivors, to talk about what they were like as people.

Some people even want to take action by demanding that the laws change a good example of this would be March for Our Lives, which happened after the Parkland shooting last year. This march was fighting for gun control or should I say changes in the gun laws America currently has.

Some people also do acts of solidarity, for example, wearing a hijab like the prime minister of New Zealand did when she went to go visit the Christchurch shooting survivors. My community college had something a couple of years ago called Hijab Day to help show solidarity with our friends. I participated, and it was quite an experience—no one should ever be afraid to be who they are.

There is never a right or wrong way to react, and no one should ever criticize one another for how they react. It's not a test where there is a right or wrong answer—everyone is different and that is okay.

No one should ever have to be afraid to go to school, go to work, or go to their place of worship or wherever they decide to go. Whatever we decide to do to make a change, as long as we are taking some kind of action, is good enough for me.

Nothing ever gets done by sitting around and doing nothing, so whatever it is you do, get out there and do it. As long as you are showing support it doesn't matter how you show it.

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