21 is the BEST age. And not just because you can legally drink (let’s pretend we haven’t been sipping on Coronas since we were thirteen). 21 is such a milestone — you really feel like a woman, like you’re finally finding yourself and your purpose. It’s an age that you start to get your shit together (start, not have). Remember that. As my 22nd birthday approaches, I’m reflecting back on the best year of my life thus far. Let’s recap:
1. IT’S YOUR 21st BIRTHDAY BITCH. Prepare.
There are so many fun things you have to do on your birthday. You have to dance on a bar. You have to get completely shitfaced. You have to find your face in a saloon bathroom’s toilet bowl but make sure your girls are there to hold your weave back. But most importantly…free drinks! Before your big day, Google search your area’s restaurants and bars to see who gives what free drinks. Odds are you’ll get drunk for free from the first place you hit. Pace yourself, because it’ll be a long night if you don’t. Today is the one-day that you can be selfish and live for you; so don’t answer to anyone and do the damn thing, pretty mama.
2. Know your limits.
Don’t take 5 shots of fireball after you’ve chugged two beers. Try to avoid shots as much as possible unless you’re starting the night off with them. Find what you like. And repeat after me: Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear. Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Also, try not to throw up inside of bars. It’s really gross.
3. One word…Tequila. Second word…Floor.
Have very few tequila nights. I promise that you’ll never be able to look at a margarita the same if you overdue it right off the bat.
4. There are lots of fish in the sea.
The guy who you swear will father your children, probably isn’t even worth the stress of “why isn’t he texting me back?” So ditch him, and live for you. The right guy will appear out of nowhere, when you least expect it.
5. Planning is good.
Make a list of what you need to do for the week and plan your week out. If you have 3 tests on Friday, don’t wait until Thursday to study. Be realistic with yourself and do your best to get your shit done. Also, crossing off what you’ve done feels amazing, try it, I dare you.
6. Study, study, study.
You can never know the material enough. College is only stressful if you don’t do your work. Stay up to date with what’s happening in each of your classes, do the readings and you won’t fall behind. Also, go to class. Attendance is important, and you may think your teacher didn’t notice that you skipped 3 of his classes, but trust me, he knows, and your grade will be affected.
As much as you possibly can. Try to put some money away every week to be able to take a nice vacation at the end of the year. 21 is an age that you really start to appreciate things, people and places. Take advantage of your curiosity and your wanderlust desires.
Again, save your money. Don’t eat out four nights a week. Learn to cook at home. Don’t get drinks at an expensive place when you can have the same thing in your apartment for $8 snuggled up with your cat. Be smart.
9. Learn to be healthy.
There are so many ways you can improve your health. Drink more water. Get more sun. Exercise. Eat more salads and less cheeseburgers. It’s really not that hard.
Get a gym membership or find an at-home workout you can manage. I love to pull out my yoga mat and just take twenty minutes every day to find my center and stretch my body. Try to work out 4 times a week, at least. It may seem like a lot, but it really isn’t and your body will thank you. You’ll feel great afterwards, I promise.
11. Reward yourself.
As much as you should save your money, learn to splurge. Reward yourself from a long workweek or school week and get those $150 Steve Madden booties you’ve been dying to own (curse you Steve Madden emails that enable my shopping addiction)!
12. When shopping online, look for discounts.
You can find almost any discount code to save you a couple of bucks on shipping. There’s also this really neat app, RetailMeNot. It’s awesome. Check it out.
13. Get an internship.
You should be interning at this point if you haven’t already. It adds great experience to your resume and will prepare you for the real world. College plays mind tricks on us to make us think it’s all parties and drinking games once we graduate. Yeah, not so much.
14. Take it easy.
Don’t drink every weekend just because you can. I mean, if Becky is having wine/Drake night at her crib, definitely go. But if you’re spending $200+ a weekend on going out, you should change something up or you’re gonna find yourself stripping to afford that Italian rose Moscato you love so much. Also, your liver will secretly love you.
15. Coconut oil!
There’s this neat stuff called coconut oil. If you haven’t already discovered it, go pick up a jar (located in the cooking section of grocery stores), and use it on EVERYTHING! Your face, your body, your hair, even your food. It’s so good for you. Indulge in that shizz.
16. Eat when you’re hungry.
I know I said to be healthy, but if you haven’t eaten since 8am and it’s now 4pm, go get some chicken, or some pizza, or a big mac. Feed yourself. Just remember, you’ll feel better after eating a chicken Caesar salad rather than a fatass burrito from Chipotle.
17. Be selfish with your time.
I cannot stress this enough. Find what ignites a fire in your bones. Find what make you immensely happy. Do these things as much as you possibly can.
18. Represent squad goals.
Find your tribe and love them hard. Don’t feed into petty high school drama, be above it and do YOU. Don’t entertain negative people who just add stress to your life.
19. Unplug once in a while.
I know we’re in the social media generation, but find time every day to unplug from the technologies that consume you, and just focus on yourself. Don’t check up on people you don’t like, just to confirm you still don’t like them. Mature up and let shit go. That girl from high school who ruined your life is probably still doing shitty, so let karma do its thing. Also, cut down how much you go on Instagram, Twitter or whatever app you check 58 times a day. You can find much better use for your time. Besides, what are you really missing? Pictures of a frat party you didn’t go to because you were studying the last of your chem notes?
20. Food for thought.
Every day for ten minutes, reflect back on the day you had and what you accomplished. Focus on what you got done, rather than what you still have to do. Take it day by day and I guarantee the overwhelmed feeling will dissipate.
21. Find inspiration everywhere.
Find what makes you tick, what inspires you to be better. Inspiration can be found in art museums, restaurants (I’m looking at you, pineapple pizza), movies, or Pinterest, definitely Pinterest.
Featured image source: thoughtcatalogue.com and designlovefest.com
Victoriana White of Hudson, NY, is a Fashion Journalism student at the University at Albany. Her goal is to work at a Fashion magazine in New York City. She enjoys yoga, coffee, dogs, interior design, Pinterest, Tumblr and all things hair and makeup!