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The “Teen Girl In Their Twenties” Phenomenon

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FIU chapter.

Have you ever felt like you grew in age and maturity but not in mentality or mentally? Years go by in college and you’re faced with the reality of entering the workforce, no more “homework,” and it feels like a door slamming you from behind. Especially since the pandemic, people feel like they’re frozen in their pre-pandemic age, be it 17 or 14. Well, it’s comforting to know that you’re not alone. There’s an entire community on TikTok that perfectly encapsulates that feeling– “Teen girl in her 20s.” This hashtag has garnered more than half a million views on the viral app, with girls supporting each other in a time of confusion and realization, 20s.

The moment you turn 18, you’re an adult. Legally, at least. But there’s something about being freshly 18 and arriving at university feeling so out of place and lost. “How could I possibly be an adult when I don’t even understand how taxes or insurance works? What do you mean by investing my money? What is a credit score?!” the frustrating reality of growing up is mushed, in my opinion, between the ages of 18-25. How could I be 21 but feel 17? Circling back to the pandemic, many people feel frozen at that age. I felt frozen at 17 for the longest time, and when I turned 20 I only felt dreaded since it meant I was truly growing up.

Additionally, there are some older faces making a comeback. Fall Out Boy is on tour, Paramore has a new album, and Y2K is the biggest trend. Nostalgia has been the trend of the 2020s, and with that around it feels even more difficult to “grow up”. Well, how can I grow up if Pete Wentz is shirtless on stage and Hayley Williams is performing Misery Business?! It feels like I’m trying to grow up but I just can’t. I’m just a teen girl in her 20s.

Hell is a teenage girl. We remember learning about our periods and having crushes, rivalries, insecurities, and best friends, going to school at 7 a.m. every morning. Coordinating on the weekends of who’s mom could take us where, and at the time it all felt annoying and horrible. I hated waking up so early, I hated not being able to drive, and I hated some of my classmates. But what happens when it’s all gone in the blink of an eye? I don’t even talk to half the people I knew in high school. Probably less. The classmates I befriended at university came and went each semester, it wasn’t an entire year like before. Where did all the time go? Where did the party go?

It’s difficult to navigate a new era of life, one that comes with pain joy nostalgia, and mourning. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only girl out there struggling to come to terms with the fact that I’m not a teen girl anymore. I miss 17-year-old me, but I look forward to 30-year-old me.

Ariana (she/her) is a Puerto Rican majoring in psychology with a minor in English. She is currently the social media director of Her Campus at Florida International University. Hoping to gain more experience throughout her college career, Ariana is an ambitious writer who is ready to take on whatever lies ahead!