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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at OSU chapter.

At 20 years old, I decided to reflect on a few things I’ve learned as I’ve grown that could help others.

1. Learn to love yourself; you’re not changing

It is normal to have insecurities, but growing up one of the most important things I learned is that I cannot change the way I look. In general, learning to love yourself is such a vital aspect of life. You should stop looking in the mirror and dislike what you see; you should be happy that you are you, someone who is still fighting in this world and has gotten through 100% of their bad days. If you’re struggling to love yourself, try to look in the mirror and thank yourself for being you. A small start is still progress!

2. It’s okay to be alone 

Everyone knows what it’s like to feel lonely. Feeling lonely lets you grow and become a stronger person. Sometimes when I’m in my room alone on a Friday night, I get this sense of loneliness that just consumes me. I could hang out with friends, but I decide not to because I am learning to be comfortable with being by myself. It takes time to be comfortable to be with yourself. Yes, it does feel uncomfortable, but once you become comfortable with being alone, an endless amount of possibilities open up.

3. Time moves by way too fast 

When I was turning 20, I had so many different emotions. For years I wanted to be this age, but when it got closer, it started to scare me. I am closer to the life I want, but did I enjoy the life I had? I tend to always look towards the future and rarely spend time in the present. The classic, “Enjoy today because tomorrow isn’t promised” is always a good quote to keep in the back of your mind.

4. It’s okay that I don’t have my life figured out by now

I never wanted to go to college, but I decided to go because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I found a major I enjoy quite a bit, but I am still unsure what I want to do. Part of me has other dreams that have nothing to do with my major, but for right now I am trying to pursue my Bachelor’s, and that is okay. I believe no one has their life figured out, even your parents — although they look like they know what they are doing, they are probably struggling as well. It is okay not to have everything figured out!

5. Don’t put energy into things that aren’t worth it

Life is precious. I know sometimes it takes time to learn something, but once it feels wrong the first time, let it go. For example, if the person you’re in a relationship with is not taking the time to see you, let them go. No person is truly that busy to see you or give you their time; if they wanted to, they would!

6. Live your life, don’t worry about other people’s opinions

One time a guy I liked told me, “You have no life.” This hurt me mentally for years, and I always felt like I had to prove my life to someone. Now I know the only person I have to prove myself to is myself.

7. When it comes to school, stop waiting and start doing; it won’t come to you

While applying for internships, I always mention that I do not have any experience, so I say I am a hard worker and am quick at learning new things. I realized this would not cut it and that I had to work harder; if you want something, you have to work for it.

8. It’s okay not to want to get married 

I grew up thinking I had to get married, but in reality, that is not everyone’s end game. It is okay to want to live by yourself, travel by yourself and simply enjoy yourself. If life makes you happiest a certain way, then do it! 

9. It is okay to take a different path

I always thought growing up was supposed to get easier, but there is not just one path provided when getting older. You might think your life is supposed to be set up like this: Go to college, get an internship, find your significant other, graduate, find a job, get married and have kids. This stereotypical life is what movies and social media have engraved into our minds. Recently, I noticed that others are taking different steps toward the “ideal life.” It is okay to be different and want different things in life because everyone’s path differs!

10. Choose your hard 

There is this quote that I love, that says “Choose your hard.” In life, any path you take will be hard one way or another. Being in the right relationship will be hard, being in the wrong relationship will be hard. You choose what you put your energy into.  

11. How to deal with anxiety 

Anxiety may be a sensitive topic to talk about, but it is good to be open about your feelings. I never let my anxiety hold me back and always follow through with what I am scared to do. Doing breathing exercises has helped me tremendously in the past few years, so give it a try!

12. Problems will always appear in your life

I keep waiting for the day that life will be perfect and everything will fall into place. However, there will not be a day when this magically happens. I am a firm believer that things will get better, but even then, problems will still appear one way or another. So, accepting this fact improved my life a lot because I stopped waiting for everything to work out. There will always be something that is not going your way in life, and that is just how it is and that is okay. Problems are a part of life.

13. Never lose your friends because of dumb situations 

I almost lost my best friend because of a guy. She was in her first real relationship, but she did not know how to balance her life with him and with me. Always choose your best friends because they are your best friends for a reason!

14. Always tell people what they mean to you 

I have grown up losing people I love at a young age. Both of my grandparents on my mother’s side passed away when I was in middle school, and my grandpa on my dad’s side passed away during my senior year of high school. None of them passed away suddenly, so it was easy for me to say my goodbyes, but I always imagined what if it was sudden and I did not get a warning. This thought breaks my heart. During my eighth-grade year, my brother lost one of his best friends to a tragic car accident. That was sudden and no one got to say goodbye. Ever since that accident happened, I always try to tell everyone how I feel before it is too late, and you should too. Life is too short.

15. Don’t wait for romance; go for it, take the chance!

With relationships, I typically wait a long time until I can put my foot down and say I like someone. However, sometimes it is good to take a leap of faith and hope for the best, even if it does not work out. No matter what happens, you get to grow as a person from the experience, and I believe the lesson is always the best part since it lets you know what to look for in the next relationship and know not what to settle for. My favorite part about expressing my feelings is learning about my self-worth and the strength I can gain from the experience!

Overall, these are a few things I’ve learned as I’ve grown. I hope at least one of these pieces of advice helped you think differently about your life for the better!

Cierra is a 2nd year Strategic Communications major and minoring in Design Thinking and Non-Profit Management. She is on track to graduate early (May 2025) which she is excited about. After college, she hopes to work in international communications because one of her dreams is to travel as much as possible while doing the job she loves.