As we’ve all returned to post-spring-break reality I’m sure many of us come to Durham with stories of our indecencies while sipping on Piña Coladas on tropical beaches, or of the inevitable boredom that comes with sitting on one’s couch for a week straight. Though we each experienced our own version of a spring break, we all share in the fact that we now face the final forty or so days left in this academic year. With this ending of yet another great year at UNH, there comes the unavoidable question of, “what next?”.
Over my spring break, I had the opportunity to visit my twenty-three year old friend who lived in California for the last three months. I left on Thursday morning, dead set on stalking celebrities and enjoying some 75-degree weather—a nice change from the 19-degree cold weather I would leave behind in Boston. However, what I experienced while I was there exceeded the already high expectations I had set for the quick trip. (The fact that I didn’t see Harry Styles despite eating lunch at his hotel still haunts me though). Over the course of the trip, I visited many cities along the Pacific Coast, seeing some of the most incredible sights along the way. I became entranced by California’s allure and by the time I got to LAX to fly home on Sunday afternoon, I had made a promise to myself to return to California after college with the intention of living there indefinitely.
Overexcited by the trip, I prematurely and impulsively informed my parents of my capricious post-college plans. Their response was just as I anticipated, “yeah… okay, like I’ll let you go 3,000 miles away from home”. But as I thought more about it, I realized that at age twenty-two is the only time during which I can do exactly that. I came home from spring break excited to turn twenty the following week, yet simultaneously petrified that I was leaving behind the ease of the teens. So to all of you twenty-somethings, here is a list I have compiled of different things you should do while in your twenties to make the transition into your first decade of responsibility a bit more exciting and enjoyable:
1. Don’t be afraid to be selfish—your 20s are the only time when you can truly take of advantage of your “you time”. Do it.
2. Put in the dreaded extra work to get your dream job—your bed looks really comfy, I know, but that internship application won’t submit itself. The hard work will pay off.
3. Find a passion—work will pay the bills, but be sure to have that extra thing on the side that strictly makes you HAPPY!
4. Delegate a day to be lazy—in college, Saturdays and Sundays (and maybe Fridays, too) are always “lie in bed and do nothing” days… give yourself one of those days to catch up on your favorite TV show or to just simply enjoy doing nothing.
5. Travel, travel, travel—whether you took that semester abroad or not, your twenties are the most opportune time to take in all different sights and places. From a spontaneous road trip to a month-long backpacking trip, make something happen.
6. Take responsibility for yourself—after four years of college, put that education to work and take the initiative to find a career.
7. Buy an adult wardrobe—as much as you love those skintight jeans, they will not secure you your dream job. Look the part at interviews with classy, sophisticated outfits.
8. Learn how to cook for yourself—a diet of Ramen noodles doesn’t count. Master the simple recipes to ensure you’re eating well.
9. Have a pet—a dog will not only be your best friend on lonely weekend nights, but will also teach you what it means to have to care for something other than yourself.
10. Live on your own—a roommate is always fun to have around, but allows you to get away with splitting apartment duties. Having the sole responsibility for all things domestic is a good thing to learn.
11. Diversify your friendships—your college friends will always be your best friends, but work colleagues and new faces can offer new perspectives.
12. Give back—volunteer at a shelter, hospital, etc. or even donate those college clothes that hide in the back of your closet.
13. Learn how to jumpstart a car/change a tire—it’s a task that might take all of five minutes to master, but is absolutely essential.
14. Pay off student loans—as much as you might be dying to buy the cute heels you’ve kept in your “shopping cart” online, prioritize your money and lift the weight of student loans off your shoulder ASAP.
15. Manage your money/savings/credit—establish smart spending habits to be sure you’re maintaining good credit and savings.
16. Learn the difference between love and infatuation—experience both so you can distinguish what is “real” and what is just not at all worth it.
17. Discover your spirituality—knowing what you believe in is really important. Embrace the unknown and be strong in your convictions.
18. Be informed—become a citizen of the world you’re living in. Stay up to date on local, national, and international news. Vote and take part in the larger society.
19. Read books—continue to learn every day. Seriously.
20. Prepare to turn 30 with no regrets how you spent your twenties.