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The 21 Stages of Your 21st Birthday

The big two-one. You don’t feel that different, but you are glad it will be a bit easier (shall we say) gallivanting around Bank Street every Thursday. You can now relate to the scariness that you are closer to Taylor Swift’s “22” than to Abba’s “Dancing Queen” as well as each of the following moments on the day of your 21st year.

1. Waking up early is a major key. You just can’t sleep because you know that birthday texts are already rolling in at 7:30 am from parents and friends abroad. This is the one time when you’re happy to have part of the squad in Europe and Africa.

2. You shampoo AND condition your hair today. While beauty isn’t everything, you want to look presentable. You put on whatever makes you feel confident to take on the day ahead.

3. It’s 8:55am, and your phone is BLOWING UP with more b-day texts! Camels be up for those 9 ams and 10:25s. You text back: “THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Love you!!! Hopefully, I’ll see you in Cro tonight.” You are #grateful that you don’t have class today.

4. Birthday girls gotta eat so to Harris you go. Aww you see more people you know and get birthday hugs! “THANK YOU! SEE YOU TONIGHT!”

5. Yeah, what are you going to do tonight? Your friends have been suspicious all week. You decide you might want to do some work work work work work work work because you are unsure of your bodily existence and motivation tomorrow.

6. OMG mom and dad are FaceTiming!!! Literally besties for the resties! Hi!!!! “Yes, I love your cards. I will send you pictures from dinner(?)/whatever I do later! AKA Please can I come home and you can make me amazing meals while I watch The Bachelor?”

7. Yikes, it has been 8 minutes since you last checked your Facebook wall. Happily, you see that red box, and it’s irresistible! You LIVE for the random pictures and TBTs that are resurfacing from those closest to you. LOL

8. In terms of homework, you could write two essays, prepare flashcards, read a few journal articles, and/or watch educational videos. You guess you’ll go to Club Shain and see what happens.

9. Cro and the lib are close, so naturally you’ll stop to check your mail before finding that third floor table. It is the one day where you know that your box will be filled with pink and yellow papers and cards. Thank you to all of the people that continue to spoil you each year. Side note: Does anyone have the box number 1738? #legend

You thank Scott and Steve for your packages and can’t decide whether you should open presents up in your room or the lib. Room it is and you decide your VIP pass to Club Shain won’t expire because of one more hour.

10. When you finish opening new workout gear and thanking gift givers, you see it’s about 1pm. Def time for lunch. You hit up your group text like “Come to lunch with me now because it’s my birthday.” You appreciate the friends who are not too busy to eat and enjoy a birthday Morrisson of course! “No onions please!”

11. You realize that the gifts did not end in the mailroom and pick up your Harris balloons and cupcakes that the alum in your family ordered for you because he/she never got them. This is an awesome and super special gift!! You can’t wait to 1) Have your friends take pictures of you with the extraordinary display 2) Eat all of those baked goods yourself 3) Tell everyone how cool dining services is(!) #CamelPaksforthewin

12. Hmm you guess you have to go to the library now. Time is ticking, and as stressed before, you won’t get work done tomorrow. For every 20 minutes on, you give yourself 40 off…on Buzzfeed, Facebook, Insta, Her Campus, Netflix, or, when really desperate, Camel Directory. Just the usual!!!!

13. Suddenly, an iMessage pops up on your computer. Your friends are coming through: “We will pick you up outside of [insert your dorm here] at 6:15.” Perfect! You can finish up what you are working on soon and get on with the partying. Also, you need to go to Campus Bar tonight.

14. Ah, good old Exit 90 is where you are getting off 95 right now. You order your first drink in a favorite like Engine Room, Latitude 41, or Red 36. It’s awkward when the waiter doesn’t card you, but you guess this. is. adulthood? Word of caution from Disclosure featuring Sam Smith: don’t order something out of your comfort zone. You may think it is a fun and fancy idea; however, if you don’t like the drink it will end up being a bad o o o o men! For example, champagne and tequila do not mix well!

15. Fast forward to the surprise party pregame! So nice that all of your friends are here and your besties got you a ridiculously cute cake. Literally, you could cry right now but “Sorry” is on so you gotta dance. You have to go to Campus Bar tonight.

16. Any birthday crown, sash, or pin works to add to your bomb.com outfit, and you don’t hate it because everyone knows it’s your birthday and will spontaneously sing to you. Dear attractive hallway strangers: if you sing to me, then are we dating?

17. Additionally, drinks are thrown at you left and right as you twirl from South to Ridge to Winch to Cro. You are not complaining because this is what 21 is all about! Yay! Is that Leo as Gatsby gliding out of a magical Caroline Black Garden? No, it is just a kid trapped in the fencing. “Hi! I don’t think you can get out that way.”

18. Cro, Cro, Cro! You are where you are MEANT to be! Definitely time for mozz sticks or a grilled cheese etc. As you walk through Oasis, you tell everyone it is your birthday. After you finish eating, the 21 year olds in the birthday crew will to go to Campus Bar.

19. On second thought, you think it is actually time to go back to your room. Get the friend who responds to your “Please come check on me” text promoted to sainthood immediately. #blessed

20. The next day you wake up thirsty for water – we all know that ET meme! – and craving Muddy Waters. “I will take a bacon, egg, and cheese and a coffee cake and a bagel and cream cheese and a muffin please. Oh, and a Gatorade please.” No worrying about that $10 minimum this morning!

21. The rest of the day will be spent multitasking. You text all of your friends thanking them for the best. birthday. ever. while starting a Netflix series. Twenty-one, Twenty-FUN!


Julia is a senior who loves writing for Conn's Her Campus chapter! While she is studying economics and environmental studies, she is also interested in fashion and beauty. Her Campus has allowed Julia to incorporate these personal interests into her weekly schedule.
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