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4 Things I Realized Coming Into My Twenties

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

From teenager to young adult: the ups, the downs, and the awkward in-betweens.

The shift into the years of the 20s from being labeled a teenager is the most transitional period. Aspects of your personality change, you grow from lessons learned from high school and early college, and you begin to take on more serious pursuits towards long-term goals. You begin to earn respect as someone who is reformed from their younger teenage self, while also still trying to develop your identity and aspirations. Simply put; your 20s set the foundation for adulthood. This is a scary realization, especially if you’ve just entered your 20s, like me.

I’d like to reflect on the little changes I’ve seen so far — as a way to relate to newly 20-year-olds and as a summary of this weird transitional chapter in my life’s book before chapter 20 becomes chapter 21, chapter 22, and so on. So here’s what chapter 20 taught me:

1. growing pains

Growing up means that you adopt more responsibilities, and consequently, you spend more time away from loved ones, old friends, and/or family. Things and people that are familiar to you become distant as you progress in your career or educational journey. Seeing your family and childhood pets happens once in a blue moon, and you may feel homesick over your previous chapters. But this is okay and normal. As you become more individualized and figure out your path, you become separated from things from your past.

2. pressure to succeed

Especially in a college environment, you are surrounded by peers that are working to succeed and accomplish different things. There is also a societal pressure that pushes young people to pursue the path of going to school, earning a degree, and working through adulthood. It’s not the right or exact direction for everybody, but it’s the socialized, conventional norm. Whether in college or not, you feel the need to push yourself to attain greatness. This is not necessarily a bad or good thing, and young people should be ambitious. But societal influences can stress young people to conform to some sort of standard for validation. A big thing college taught me was that most students have this same feeling.

3. maturity

In every chapter of my life, I can pinpoint certain traits/habits that I left behind each year. The biggest difference between my high school/teenage self versus now is that I have more self-love than I ever had before. To me, this looks like less negative self-talk, being okay with putting less makeup on during my daily routine, setting more boundaries with others, and not being afraid to stick up for myself. I have more self-actualization than ever before. As I get older, this comfortability becomes stronger. You start to care more about things important to you instead of simple pleasures. There is a great deal of personal development that comes from your 20s, and I’m looking forward to experiencing what’s to come.

4. friendships come and go

Friends come and go, and that’s okay. As you continue to grow and learn, you will attract new friendships as they align with your interests and choices. Friendships will fade, and old connections might fall out of your life. This is part of the growing pains, but you gain a lot from finding new people to surround yourself with. Your friendships become more genuine once they are not localized to a specific environment. As you move on to bigger and better things, this transition will reflect in your social circle. But it’s also important to continue to nourish old friendships that are close and mutually empowering, just be okay with letting some people go if you don’t like the person they’re becoming. The saying goes that you are who you surround yourself with, and it’s perfectly valid to cut ties with anyone that holds you down or back.

Here’s to many more chapters and realizations!

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Talazen Smith

U Mass Amherst '23

Talazen is a Spring 2021 Her Campus member for UMass Amherst. She is a Junior majoring in Legal Studies and minoring in Sociology. She is also a Content Editor for the UMass chapter, a writing tutor in the UMass Writing Center, and a member of Alpha Chi Omega.
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