Campus Life
20 things I’ve learned in 20 years
by Mackenzie Murphy | January 7, 2020

Surviving your twenties in 2020.

When I pictured my twenty-year-old self, I envisioned something much different than who I am today. I dreamt of a lavish lifestyle; living on my own, eating out every night (semi-true now that Uber Eats is a thing), surrounded by a bunch of friends and attending the hottest parties. Essentially, I wanted to be Lauren Conrad from The Hills.

Now having turned 20, I’ve since discovered life doesn’t play out like a reality TV show. Kris Jenner isn’t around every corner to guide me and my career. There are lessons we sometimes have to learn the hard way.

Here are 20 lessons I’ve learned in the past 20 years:

1. Being alone is OKAY

Alone time is needed for your growth; it is self-care. Learn how to be your own best friend.

2. You will outgrow clothes, friends, and attitudes 

Hips get bigger, friends come and go, and your mindset will evolve. Don’t fight it; evolve like a Pokémon into your best self.

3. Body pillows are game-changing 

Timmy Turner from Fairly Odd Parents sleeping

Buy one as soon as possible. Your back will thank you.

4. Kindness is your superpower

Use kindness to strike up a conversation. Make someone’s day by being kind. Be kind when you want to be rude (especially then). Kindness will take you places.

5. Prepare for the future, but live in the present

Life is consistently moving and changing. Allow for flexibility to accommodate new opportunities in the future, as well as enjoy the now.

6. Your parents are almost always right

Mindy from The Mindy Project eating cooking dough, stating "Oh cookie dough, please solve my problems"

Except about not eating raw cookie dough. Eat as much cookie dough as you want.

7. Long-distance is doable 

With friends, relationships, and family, it may seem obvious to forgo new experiences for the sake of comfort. But do not let the fear of losing the ones you love because of travel hold you back from actually traveling.

8. Therefore, travel as much as you can

Whether you are going three hours away or 13, leave the comforts of your city and explore!

9. Enjoy the little things

Zombieland rule #32 "enjoy the little things"Just like in Zombieland; while surviving zombies or finals, celebrate even the smallest of wins.

10. Take as many pictures as possible

Not just for the ‘gram or bragging rights, but for the memories. Keep the ugly ones too. When you’re reminiscing with your friends, you won’t care about the double chin.

11. Everything is temporary 

Whether good or bad, everything will come and go. Enjoy the good moments and wait out the bad. You’ll be okay!

12. Say “no” sometimes

Micheal Scott from The Office screaming NOOOOOONo one will hate you. If they do, they’re not worth saying “yes” to anyways.

13. Gossiping is not cute

Build your friends up, ask about their lives and goals, how their dog is doing; do literally anything besides talking badly about others, it’s boring.

14. No one actually knows what they’re doing

It’s not just you. Take things at your own pace and do what feels authentic to you. We’re all in this together.

15. Use sunscreen

Guy on beach squeezing sunscreen into mouthAging starts in your twenties, so slather that on sis.

16. Thank those around you

Thank them for listening, supporting you, and for being the wonderful human they are. Everyone could use a pick-me-up and loves to hear they’re appreciated.

17. Check in with yourself and your friends

With the hustle and bustle of life, we often don’t make time to really gauge how we’re doing. Check in on your mental health, and the mental health of your loved ones.

18. Naps never get old

Little girl takes nap on beachLike ever. Always take the opportunity to nap.

19. Help others

Volunteer, help your friend move, or teach your grandpa how to text. The people around you make the world go ’round; let these individuals and your community know you care.

20. And lastly, make lots and lots of mistakes

Mistakes force growth. Take a risk; if you fail, who cares! Get back up, learn, and become the boss you know you are.


Fit a nap in between classes at the IGNITE Sleep Lounge. No appointment needed – just bring your student ID.

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