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Turning 21 in Boston: my recommendations for a memorable birthday

For the longest time, I was confused about how to feel about turning 21. Turning 18 was a milestone and turning 20 last year was an entrance into a new decade of life. 21, however, seemed daunting in the sense of adulthood taking over quicker than you’d expect. From being a senior in college, to graduating next year, to constantly applying to full-time jobs, time flew way quicker than I think any of us realized. Birthdays in general are always something I’m more quietly excited about, but this year, I wanted to make it a point to celebrate myself.

Amherst is the quaintest little town with its own attractions, but physically and mentally, I’ve always been a big city girl. So, naturally, Boston was a huge contender for a weekend of fun with nine of my friends being just a two-hour drive away. We planned out our whole weekend, deciding on a hotel in Downtown Boston where we wouldn’t have to spend any money on Ubers. Brunch spots were about a 10-15 minute walk away; if there’s one tip I would suggest for planning a weekend in a new city, proximity matters!

We got to Boston around 6 p.m. on Friday — which was the day of my birthday — and spent the evening exploring the nightlife, then we went out for brunch the next day. If there’s one place I would recommend from this entire trip, it definitely would be Worden Hall; we spent an afternoon for brunch there before shopping on Newbury Street. They were very accommodating of our large group, and the food ranged from breakfast burritos to a full English breakfast to breakfast pizzas — the best deals on brunch and extremely delicious food! Their truffle fries get brownie points and make for a great sharing plate for the table.

All of this being said, it was really fun to plan something out for myself and others, and to take the time to make sure I was celebrating myself. I’m not usually someone who you’d catch saying “Celebrate yourself!” a lot; I definitely would say I suffer from terrible imposter syndrome, especially being in college. Nevertheless, having this one day to look forward to amidst midterms and never-ending assignments was a bigger boon than I expected. I would consider myself to be someone who’s task-oriented and can get lost in work without taking a good break for myself. If you recognize yourself as someone in the same boat, I really do suggest planning out even the smallest trips to look forward to. It’ll significantly boost your enthusiasm for the week and give you something to look forward to. It may not be a big city trip, but even going to Trader Joe’s over the weekend or making a to-do list is a win!

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Vaidehi Bhatia

U Mass Amherst '23

Vaidehi is a writer for the University of Massachusetts Amherst chapter. She is a senior majoring in Data Science with minors in Business and Computer Science. Be on the lookout for lots of articles about fashion, beauty, relatable college experiences & wellbeing!