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I am 20. There I said it, my teenage years are over. I am officially a part of the demographic that can read those articles about “things I wish I knew in my early twenties.” That’s me, a twenty-something college student trying to figure out who I am.


Figuring out who I am is made a little easier by the people around me. Everyday, and especially on my birthday, I am surrounded by people who love and support me. With those people by my side, this whole “life” thing gets a little easier. I see qualities in my friends and family members that I hope to someday reflect. 


With that in mind, I’ve decided to compile a very very short list (that is not exhaustive of the important people in my life, nor the outstanding qualities that they have) of things that I’ve learned from the world around me. 


  1. From my older brother, Mitchell, I’ve learned how to believe in myself and push for something greater. The journey might not always be the easiest, but the destination will be worth it. You also have to bet on yourself more than anything, no matter what anyone says around you. Miss you, Mitch!

  2. From my roommate and close friend, Maddie, I have seen what it is like to face adversity and handle it with strength, compassion, and just a little bit of complaining. You’ve helped me grow in the short time that we’ve known each other (even though it’s felt like forever) and you’ve shown me that it’s not a weakness to be in touch with your emotions.

  3. On the topic of emotion, I have seen what unconditional love and emotional vulnerability looks like from my beautiful mother. She is the one person in my life who has seen me at my most emotional times, my lowest lows, and my biggest decisions. No matter the circumstance, you show me that love does not waver. I love you, Momma Bear.

  4. My good friend, Jailen, constantly teaches me what it’s like to be a genuine human being. He’s so unabashedly himself and that is clear in the way that he cares about his family and friends. He’s a good person to the core, and I respect that so much. Jailen, thank you for being a great friend (and one of my first friends at Denison)!

  5. Dad, it’s been a long-running joke that I am a mini version of you. But I take that to heart; it is a major compliment when someone compares me to you. You’re my role model for being independent, the quality that I hold to the utmost importance in myself. Without that, I would not be who I am today. I wouldn’t want anyone else as my best friend!

    two women sit at the edge of the ocean facing the water
    Joshua Sazon | Unsplash

I have so much more that I could say, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll cut it off here. There are so many people and qualities/lessons that I could put on this list, so if you’re not on here, please don’t take it to heart. If you’re in my life, just know that you’ve made an impact in one way or another. You know who you are!


So here’s to another 20 years of learning and having fun! Those first couple of years were a bit hazy, lets hope I remember the first few years of my twenties… (I’m looking at you, 21).

Claire is a Cleveland native in her fourth & final year at Denison University and is excited to continue her role as the Co-President for the Denison chapter! While she studies Spanish and Political Science, she loves to write in her spare time. She wants to emphasize topics that she is passionate about, spread positivity and optimism in the world, and connect with people through her writing. When she isn't writing or studying, you can find Claire spending time with her family and friends, staying active, enjoying the outdoors, or listening to music.
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