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By: Angelique Suarez

I just turned the big 21 last week. Even though I still have much to discover, I’ve learned so many things! Most of these ideas are based on my own experiences, but they are lessons that can benefit anyone who has been through them before, so here are some things I’ve learned in 21 years.

  1. Don’t take yourself too seriously!

Life’s too short to be serious all the time. Remember to have fun and let loose a little. Laugh at yourself (or others). You’ll be happier!

  1. Love yourself!

Embrace who you are; everyone has flaws and things they need to work on in their lives, so don’t be too hard on yourself! There’s only one you – don’t forget that.

  1. Don’t apologize for being yourself!

For most of my life, people have called me out for being weird and liking things they don’t necessarily like. I’ve learned that you can’t allow people to dictate who you are and what you like just because you don’t fit in with them. Find people who like you for who you are, not what you want to be.

  1. Never do anything you do not want to do because you feel obligated to!

Your happiness and comfort comes before others. Never feel pressured into doing something that you don’t want to do.

  1. Do not freak out over the little things!

What seems catastrophic now will probably be forgotten sooner rather than later. It’s okay to make mistakes; we are still learning. Take deep breaths and keep calm.

  1. Experiment!

All of my peers know that I’m always trying new things with my hair and style. If you want to dye your hair blue then go for it! We are constantly evolving! Go explore. Find out what you like and go get it!

  1. Do not settle!

If you think you can do better, you probably can. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want or deserve.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone!

You might find out something new about yourself when you are trying out things you never thought you would see yourself do. Don’t be afraid to do something different and cross over into new territory.

  1. Remember to have fun!

It’s easy to lose sight of having fun when you’re worried about maintaining school, work and a social life – all at the same time. Remind yourself of the simple things and do a little bit of rule bending. I promise you won’t regret it!