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What I’ve Learned About Myself Before Age 20

No one ever talks about being 19; it’s seen as the “odd year” in a young person’s life. Yet, what no one ever told me is how much I would grow up at 19. As cliché as it sounds (and is), I am not the same person I was before this entire school year started. Sure, I had already been in college before and my freshman year was a “learning experience,” but I found myself in a completely different scenario this time around. For starters, I had random roommates, and while I was hesitant about what would happen or what they would be like, I lucked out.

My roommates are basically little angels and they’re so incredibly precious (I mean this wholeheartedly and not in a condescending way, I promise). It’s never been easy for me to open up to people because of how introverted I am, so I apologize to them through this if they ever feel that I am distant. I just honestly love being in my own company.

Through having new roommates, I naturally spent a lot of time at home or in my bedroom. I thought a lot… I think a lot. And while they don’t know everything about me, I find comfort knowing they’re there.

At 19 I learned to manage the stress of college better- something that I ultimately let weigh upon my shoulders my freshman year. I started balancing my schoolwork, getting more involved, and going out more. While not every experience was great, I grew from that. I was happier than I ever was my freshman year because I was finally experiencing college the way I wanted to, not the way I was too afraid to do so at first.

At 19 I learned how to respect myself more and actually stand up for what I believe in. No more of being a “people pleaser” no more of putting on a smile just to save some face. I learned that I truly don’t care what people have to say about how I act or what I do. I learned to confront my issues head on and not hide behind the fear of “what if.” It’s easier said than done, I learned that too.

At 19 I learned the worth of my body. I always knew to respect myself and not let anyone treat me in a way I wouldn’t want to be treated. Yet, at 19 I finally put it to action. I don’t let people walk all over me. I don’t let random guys try to touch me while I go out with my friends. I don’t let people’s opinions of me hold me down. Life is too short for all that BS.

Sure, I’m only “19.” Sure, I have a lot of growing up left. And while I refuse to share the very personal details about my life on the internet, I want whoever is reading this to know: 19 is not an “odd year.” It’s your last teenage year. Make it count. Even if you’re already past that point in your life, make any year count. Grow a little. Expose yourself to new things. Learn from your mistakes. Embrace the bad moments in your life, they make you who you are.

All photos courtesy: Alejandra Villabona


Alejandra is a Junior at Florida State University double majoring in Media Communication Studies and Editing, Writing, and Media. Upon graduating from FSU she aspires to become a screenwriter.
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