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22 Things I’ve Learned at 22

When we turn a certain age, we all love to reflect on the year and wonder what we have gained by turning another year older. This year with the pandemic, nothing was perfect, but I was able to grow and reflect on what it meant to be myself and how to enjoy life in a small way. I felt more in tune with myself and my feelings. Everyone was doing the same things I was doing which was staying home so I didn’t feel the pressure of trying to impress anyone through social media or trying to do something better constantly. I didn’t feel the need to fit in anymore instead I focused more on myself and was able to learn more about my needs. 

Here are some lessons and insights I’ve learned at 22 that I will continue to incorporate them into my life. I hope these insights resonate with you and hopefully you can incorporate them in your own life to become a stronger and better you every year. 

1. Put yourself first.

Self explanatory. You are #1. You need to put your needs and feelings first before anything because at the end of the day, you’re the only person you need. 

2. Say “no” more, say “yes” less.

I’ve always had a problem with saying “no” because I wanted people to like me. It’s okay to set boundaries for yourself and saying “no” does not make you any less of a person than when you would’ve said “yes”. The only person you need to please is yourself. You also do not need to put yourself down or do something you don’t want to do for the benefit of the other person. 

3. Friends come and go.

Not every person you are friends with is going to be there at the end of your journey. Friends are there to teach you lessons and guide you on your path. They’re not always at the finish line with you, and that’s okay. 

4. Learn to live in the present,  not in the future. 

Personally, I am constantly stressed about my future instead of really taking in on what’s in front of me. Always be present because everything is happening right in front of you. If you are constantly thinking about the past or the future, you will miss all of the good that is happening right in front of you. 

5. Nothing stays the same forever. 

6. Social media is not everything, so disconnect once in a while (FOMO).

Social media has a way of making us feel like we are alone or the “fear of missing out”. Trust me you are not missing out on anything. Just do you.  

7. Spend more time alone. 

8. Not everyone needs to know what’s going on. 

Not everyone needs to know everything because half the time, no one cares.  

9. It’s okay to cry.  

Crying is not a signal of weakness or defeat. It’s your body telling you that you’ve been holding in too much, so you need to cry. 

10. Cleanse yourself of everything every once in a while. 

Clean out your closet, pantry, books, pictures, etc. Are you using everything you currently have? 

11. It’s okay to cut people out of your life, even family.

You do not need to keep toxic people in your life because they are your family, or you’ve been long time friends. If certain people are not benefiting you, you have the right to set boundaries and cut them off. Do not keep people in your life because you think you have to. You don’t. 

12. High expectations are good and bad. 

High expectations are good in certain aspects. It’s good to have high standards of yourself once in a while to accomplish your goals. Do not expect everything to be perfect or up to par because nine times out of ten you will be disappointed. 

13. Save your money. Please save your money.

You do not need to go out and spend $12 on a cocktail to seem cool. Save your money since emergencies can happen.

14. The only person you can rely on is yourself because at the end of the day, you are all you have. 

15. Overthinking will get you nowhere. Promise me, I am the queen of overthinking. 

Stress will make you break out so to keep your skin clear and pretty, just relax. Some things are simply out of your control. 

16. Look at the positive side of things instead of the negative. 

How you see things is what you will attract. Trust me. 

17. Stop comparing yourself. 

DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF. This is a hard one for me but your journey is not the same as everyone else’s so don’t think you’re not pretty enough, smart enough, or a failure because someone else is on a completely different journey than you. Everyone is different and everyone is special. You are not any less special than someone else so do not compare yourself. 

18. Try something new. 

Get out of your comfort zone and try something new every once in a while. You might find something you enjoy. 

19. Sweets are your best friend. 

That pint of Ben & Jerry’s will be your best friend in many different situations. Trust me. 

20. Celebrate your accomplishments. Don’t dwell on your failures. 

You have accomplished a lot in your life but don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments. Don’t dwell on your failures or mistakes. Those failures are lessons for you to learn to lead you to another great accomplishment. 

21. Kindness goes a long way. 

22. When in doubt, dance it out. 


Hope you can incorporate these life lessons into your own life and remember to always put yourself first in the future. 

Semaj Nitta

Loyola '21

Loyola Chicago Senior from LA :)
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