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20 Things I Have Learned by My 20th Birthday


I just turned 20 years old this past weekend, and with that has come a bit of reflecting on the first two decades of my life. As I leave the teenage years and enter those roaring 20s, there are many life lessons that have shaped me into the woman I am today. Anyhow, here are 20 things I have learned just in time for turning twenty:


1. “This is my book and this is how I want to write it”

I heard a youtuber say this in a video and it has always resonated with me. It is a gentle reminder that my path is only mine to forge and I am going to live my life the way I want to.


2. Take risks and try new things.

It can be easy to sike yourself out and take the safer road. Remember that going out of your comfort zone is where you grow the most. 


3. Never settle for less than what you deserve.

There’s a reason Thomas Jefferson called it the “pursuit of happiness” and not “settle for contentment”. If you are not satisfied with your life right now, do what you need to do and do not stop until you are happy!


4. Hard work pays off.

I know this is a bit of a cliche, but it is absolutely true. Keep moving forward towards your goals and you will enjoy its consequences.


5. Chocolate and sweets are not your enemy.

Forget what the scale says every time you step on it. Those extra couple of pounds are the memories of fun nights, celebrations, and good times. Your body takes care of you, so take care of her. Celebrate your body!


6. Nobody is perfect.

Take it from the Hannah Montana song: Everybody makes mistakes, and that includes you.


7. Social media is a highlight reel, not the full story.

I would constantly see beautiful women having fun and looking perfect. It took me time to realize that even the skinniest of models get bloated sometimes. I think this also serves as a reminder that everyone has their own lives outside social media. You will not see every struggle and imperfection projected on other’s accounts.


8. Don’t let others dictate your life and your feelings.

The only one that should be in control of your life is you. Never let anyone invalidate what makes you smile, cry, or any of your feelings.


9. Drink more water.

Your overall well-being will thank you. 


10. Isolation is okay.

Keeping up with a social life is exhausting. Sometimes you just need to take time to yourself when you feel burned out.


11. Confidence is beautiful.

Whether you have it now or are still struggling with your self-esteem, you are beautiful! Self-confidence is a process that is always worth it!


12. Surround yourself with people who love you.

Do not waste time with toxic people, whether they are lovers, friends, or family members. If they make you feel like crap, eliminate them from your life.


13. Travel often.

It is a wonderful thing to open your mind to new places and experiences. Life is not meant to be stuck in one place, so explore the amazing world around you!


14. Read as much as possible.

There is nothing like escaping into your own made-up fantasy and taking time away from reality. Reading is this little getaway that can distract you, inspire you, or educate you.


15. Your life will go at your own pace.

Do not compare your first chapter to someone’s twentieth. Trust the process and be okay with how long it may take to accomplish things in life.


16. Save your money.

You’d be surprised how quickly a college student can go through money (because let’s be honest, we’re all broke here). Everything is expensive, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t budget and prioritize what you need.


17. Sometimes you just need to break down and let it all out.

Life sucks sometimes, but instead of holding all these emotions in, you just need to cry, stand back up, adjust your crown, and continue moving forward.


18. Focus on the good.

Life is too precious to constantly look at the negative side. Count your blessings and look at all the love and positivity that life has to offer.


19. “Whatever it takes, just find your voice, and when you do, fill the damn silence.”

Shoutout to Dr. Meredith Grey for this quote. Never sit back and let other people take over. Make up your mind and do not be afraid to speak it no matter what others say. Your voice is meant to be heard!


20. Be the key to your own heart.

If I could ever give some type of self-love advice to anyone, it would be this. Life is meant to be filled with love and happiness, and the only person that can truly accomplish that in your life is you.

Alyssa Marcus

Providence '23

Alyssa is a senior Political Science major with a Spanish minor at Providence College and co-president for Her Campus!. She is also involved in PC's Mock Trial Team, Admissions Ambassadors, and Student Alumni Association. In her free time, she loves photography, traveling, and exploring coffee shops in Downtown Providence!
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