21 Lessons I Learned By 21 That Are Worth Sharing

21 Lessons I Learned By 21 That Are Worth Sharing

We are three years into adulthood, we are legal to consume alcoholic beverages, and we don’t really have it all figured out yet.
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Some of us 21-year-olds are getting engaged and starting families, some of us are in college or finishing cosmetology school, some of us are working away and joining unions, but there are three things we have in: we are three years into adulthood, we are legal to consume alcoholic beverages, and we don’t really have it all figured out yet.

However, I’ve journaled down thoughts that I’ve learned over the years and I think they may serve as nice reminders for you all. So here are the 21 things I’ve learned by 21:

1. You’re young — know the difference between being selfish and valuing yourself.

It’s OK to put yourself first, your future depends on it.

2. When you’re upset, mad, or frustrated with someone, don’t start texting them a million things that you’ll later regret.

Take a breather, and call them and meet up with them later. Texting solves absolutely nothing.

3. Forgiving yourself and forgiving others is not an easy task, but it’ll set you free and allow you to move forward with your life.

4. Quality over quantity, especially when it comes to friends; valuing close, genuine friends is so much more important than being surrounded by the masses.

5. Your greatest power is being you, embrace that with everything you have.

6. No matter how old you get, you have to follow the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated because being kind and loving doesn’t cost you a thing.

7. Make decisions that excite you, don’t make decisions based on what someone else wants you to do.

You’ll end up going in circles.

8. When you put in the extra mile, it always pays off.

The effort will serve as guidance for what the next move should be for you.

9. There are spiteful people in this world that are venomous with their words, but those people don’t deserve a place in your universe.

10. Although there are hurtful people out there, there are also absolutely incredible ones who bring so much light and love into your life.

11. With that being said, you never regret telling people you love them, value them, and appreciate their existence.

Whenever you get the chance to engulf others in your admiration, do it.

12. Enjoying your own company better be on your to-do list.

People come and go, but you’re a constant and when the day turns into night, your mind must be kind to you.

13. You don’t have to be who you’ve always been.

There is room for change and growth and realizations to become who you are meant to be.

14. You aren’t going to be liked by everyone, you’ll be too much for some and not enough for others.

That discernment has nothing to do with you, and entirely to do with the person making those judgements.

15. You DO NOT need a significant other to be whole.

You DO NOT need a boyfriend. You DO NOT need someone to tell you you’re pretty, valued, and worthy; you should know you’re all those things without relying on those words of truths from someone else. You are complete, whole, and enough on your own.

16. Taking the opportunity that fuels your curiosity and excitement is one well taken.

Whether that’s moving, taking an internship, exploring a new country, you will find out new things about yourself along the way.

17. Holding onto rage and anger hurts you more than anyone else.

Let that baggage go and know you don’t have to be bitter.

18. Your circumstances do not and will not define you.

You aren't a statistic, you are a person and you can beat the odds.

19. Sex can wait, but it doesn’t have to; whatever you prefer is right.

Whether you’re in love or looking for a fun time, you must remember to be kind to your body and soul and make sure to value yourself and your sexuality. You don’t have to give yourself away to anyone who asks.

20. Let life take you where it wants you to go, you’ll end up exactly where you’re meant to be.

21. As cliche as it sounds, really, don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

You are an important and have a valuable mind that is unique, so know you have the ability to stand out and achieve all your wildest dreams. You will fail, oh you will fail plenty, but you just have to keep getting back up and try again.

So if you take anything away from my lengthy list, it’s that you are important, loved, and valued, and you should live your life with your urgency and drive.

Cover Image Credit: Ashley DeBoer

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11 Life Lessons I Learned In My 3rd Semester Of College That I Wish I Had Known In My 1st And 2nd

It's been more of a learning journey than I'd like to admit, but I'm glad I know these things now.

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The first year of college is rough—you're on your own for the first time, school just got stupidly hard, and you have no idea what you're doing. Once sophomore year hits though, you're pretty much an expert—you've probably settled into your major, joined a few clubs you're passionate about, and finally figured out how to handle this whole "life" thing. While reflecting on the past year and a half of our lives, my friends and I compiled a list of the core things we wish we had known before now.

1. Befriend people who intimidate you 

Mean Girls

My first two semesters of college, I spent a lot of time being jealous of my peers who seemed to have it all together and were doing "better" than me. Once I actually became friends with some of these people, I realized that they're also just people and have struggles just like I do. I also found that by surrounding myself with equally (or more) motivated people, I was able to accomplish so much more.

2. Learn to say no every once in a while 

No

The opportunities on a college campus are just about endless, so it's easy to get caught up with so many things to do that you don't have time for what you actually want to do. Learning how to say no (and not feeling guilty about it) has helped me focus my energy and time on what matters most to me.

3. Mental health is so important 

Meditate

'Nuff said.

4. Stop telling yourself you can't be good at things 

Help

About halfway through the semester, I started running for the simple reason that I've always told myself it was something I couldn't do. After training for and finishing a 5K, I've proven myself wrong and gained a confidence that has transferred over into all aspects of my life.

5. You need all different types of people in your life 

Hug

It's important to have a balance of friends and family in your circle. You need some who you can laugh with, some who you can cry with, and some who nudge you out of your comfort zone.

6. Romantic relationships do not, and should not, define you as a person 

Patience

Over the years, I've been very insecure about my (non-existent) dating life. I've felt that I'm "less than" for having an S.O. This semester, I learned that having a strong support system is much more valuable than a strong romantic relationship. The right person will come along eventually.

7. Stepping out of your comfort zone usually works out well 

Comfort Zone

I have a lot of fear when it comes to meeting and talking to new people. I don't like to do things alone. This semester, I finally stepped out of my comfort zone in this regard by trying things by myself without a friend with me, and honestly, I had a blast.

8. Enjoy your alone time 

Roommates can become instant best friends. However, their presence automatically means you lose a large chunk of your alone time. When you get a free moment to yourself, take advantage of it. Your mental health will thank you.

9. Take part in events, no matter how cheesy they may seem 

Yes, colleges can be corny with some of their more wholesome activities. These events will only be available to you for a short portion of your life. I've found that sometimes you can make better memories at things like that than you can at a bar.

10.  Try things, even if you don't think you're good enough to keep up 

Try

So maybe you were the star in high school. Maybe you weren't. Either way, you shouldn't stop yourself from trying out for sports or activities in college because you think you "aren't good enough." No matter how big your college is, there's no way you'll know whether or not you can do something until you actually try to do it. More times than not, something will work out in your favor.

11.  Take advantage of the ridiculous amount of opportunities available to you. 

Do it

Your college years are going to be full of opportunities—both academic and social. You have every chance and every tool to succeed, it just comes down to actually taking the leap and making those opportunities work out for you.

Even though all of these things would have been nice to know in the past, I think that not knowing them made us into stronger human beings overall as we've learned and grown from our mistakes. So don't be afraid to fall into these traps yourself–sometimes, the best way to learn is to fall a few times before you can get up and stay up.

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