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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

My experience with understanding the phenomenon that is “your twenties”

This year, I’ve witnessed my closest friends approach the most terrifying age known to man: 20. There are few significant ages that are as revolutionary of a shift as this. The first important marker of change is reaching double digits. Turning 10 was nothing but excitement and for the first time, I felt old. Then came the teens. 13 is not only Taylor Swift’s lucky number but a time when your parents see you as slightly more human than before. This is followed by the Sweet 16 where you feel like a real adult. Then, there’s the exhilarating 18! 18 is the age you can vote, buy lottery tickets and realize you can face real consequences for your actions. 

There are numerous nuanced ideas surrounding “your twenties” that are not only apparent when you watch any television show or movie but are consistently heard from parents and friends. I’ve always been told that being in your twenties is one of the most important and exhilarating times of your life, however, as my birthday approaches in a matter of months, all I can think about is how terrified I am. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of freedom, yet after getting a small taste of freedom in college, everything ahead seems like an amplified version of problems I have at 19. Living in an apartment, having to grocery shop and cook for myself, while also thinking about my future and career has been scary enough; however, nothing seems more horrifying than the next decade of my life. 

Of course, my friends who have turned 20 haven’t seemed to experience anything fundamentally life changing. Still, the responsibility that comes with freedom is daunting. Everything changes in this decade. Living with best friends will turn to living in solitude, and it’s scary to let go. The only way I’ve been able to shift my mentality is to imagine what could happen ahead of me. I could move somewhere like Paris or Amsterdam, maybe Rome. 

The possibilities are endless. Even when thinking about all the incredible experiences I have ahead of me, even the greatest things will come hand in hand with some sorrow or loneliness, but perhaps there’s something to be learned from it all. Maybe your twenties aren’t all the best times of your life, but it could be the most memorable because of what there is to learn. 

There’s no way to see what’s ahead. I can guess or hope for what’s to come but truthfully, while it seems like everyone has it figured out, no one does. People don’t know what they want to do for a job sometimes until they’re married or with children. I think that glamorizing this time does little good, because honestly, all the amazing trips, people and places can all be taken or found now. 

Sophie Hyman

Wisconsin '25

California – University of Wisconsin 2025 English and Anthropology