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I can now say, as of this past weekend, I am officially 21 years old. I have to admit, I have been having a hard time wrapping my mind around this birthday. From random thoughts, to advice and lessons I have learned over time, here are 21 thoughts about turning 21. 

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1. I am getting old

I feel like I have been flirting with childhood these past few years, but turning 21 means I am officially an adult. No more messing around, time to fully accept that time is just going to go by quicker and quicker.

2. Money

I miss when $20 felt like a lot. Turning 21 means that life expenses are going to add up quickly. The cost of student loans, rent, and food is no joke. 

3. Career

Lately all that’s been on my mind is figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life. Deciding what the next step in my education will be and where I want to live is an entire headache in itself (but an exciting one!).

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4. Graduating

I am sure everyone can agree that freshman year was only like two days ago. Realizing that graduation is going to sneak up on me, I am trying to absorb every minute of my college experience. 

5. Bars

Going to bars with friends is one thing I am really excited about. Hopefully this summer when the pandemic (fingers crossed) starts to come to an end I will be able to go out and play the part of being a new 21 year old. 

6. No more rules

Other than being able to rent a car, I feel like there are officially no more rules and restrictions. The barriers between being a kid and an adult are officially gone. 

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7. Self-love is so important 

Self-love and acceptance is one of the most important things I have learned growing up. Learning to give yourself the validation you deserve, advocate for yourself, and embrace your own flaws will help you thrive in adulthood. 

8. What will I accomplish in this decade 

Knowing that this decade will likely be full of major life decisions, I cannot help but wonder how everything will turn out. This can be a daunting thought, but navigating major life choices is all apart of growing up. 

9. Make lists

Write down everything! Lists are going to be your best friend in the world. That is one thing I have learned in college, and I can confidently say it is a game changer. 

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10. Overdressing is okay 

There is a sort of balancing act between dressing your age and fitting in with the trends. However, one rule still remains - overdressing is okay!

11. Question everything 

There are no dumb questions and there is no excuse to not educate yourself at this age. Question everything around you and continue to grow your understanding of the world. 

12. Trust your gut

Trusting your gut and inner instincts will allow for a lot less mistakes and regrets. Learning to trust yourself will be an important part of making big life decisions and surrounding yourself with the right people. 

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13. Take care of your mental and physical health

Along with self-love comes taking care of yourself and listening to your body. Taking care of your mental and physical health means eating nutritious meals, sleeping enough, and getting the right support for yourself. 

14. You cannot compare successes 

As you get older, it is important to understand that everyone's story is different. You cannot compare your education, salary, or lifestyles when everyone is just trying to figure it out on their own. 

15. Make your bed everyday 

Getting up and making your bed every day is one of those things I hated doing as a kid. Now that it has become a part of my routine, I have realized the productivity it promotes. 

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16. Learn to cook 

This year was my first year living off campus, and along with that came learning to cook. Since you are pretty much going to have to cook for yourself for the rest of your life, learning to cook food that you like is so important. This has been a big goal for me this past year and has taught me so much. 

17. Learn to adapt to change

Life constantly throws curveballs at you, so being able to handle whatever comes your way will be vital. People will come in and out of your life and things will happen that are out of your control. Being able to handle these situations with ease will make life so much easier. 

18. Stay organized 

Staying organized is not always easy, but does help reduce stress. Setting up a routine, keeping lists, and cleaning your living space can make a big difference.

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19. Caffeine is your best friend 

I sadly can admit I officially have a caffeine addiction. I put it off until this year, and now I am wondering why I ever did that because having a coffee and sitting on the couch in the morning is sometimes the best part of my day. 

20. Don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and family

Being an adult is hard, that is no shock. Having a support system of family and friends that have your best interest in mind will be a necessity.

21. Appreciate everything

Appreciate small moments with your friends, phone calls with your parents, and even classes that make you lose your hair. Appreciating the little things in life will add up quickly, and make you realize how great it was.

After reaching this milestone, I cannot wait to continue to cherish the small moments and try and slow down and appreciate life as it comes. Years to another year around the sun! 

 

All Images Courtesy of the HC Media Library 

Abbey LeClair

U Mass Amherst '22

Abbey LeClair is a senior at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, majoring in Psychology on the Neuroscience track. She loves to spend her time hanging out with friends, listening to music, and dancing for the UMass Dance Club. Feel free to follow her on Instagram: @abbeyleclair
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