20 Lessons You Learn Before You Turn 20

Today’s a big day, everybody: It’s my 20th birthday! I don’t know why, but 20 seems so much more older than 19. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m officially “in my twenties” and I have to start acting more like a responsible adult. Whatever the reason is, I’ve certainly learned a lot in my 20 years of life, and today I thought I should share some of those lessons with you!

20 Lessons You Learn Before You Turn 20

1. Friends come first, boys come second

I wish I could shout this from on top of a skyscraper because everybody needs to hear this. Your friends are much more important than the boy you’re dating. Even if you two do end up being together forever, you are going to want your friends by your side. If you constantly neglect them, they might not be there for you when the going gets tough.

2. Eat ice cream if you want to

Same goes for the donut, the extra slice of pizza, whatever you want. It’s okay to break a diet! In fact, I encourage that you do from time to time! What’s life without a little junk food?

3. Watch your bank account…

Chances are that you’ve already learned this lesson the hard way because I know I have. Money (sadly) does not grow on trees, so if your bank account is getting uncomfortably low, you might want to slow down the spending.

4. …But it’s okay to treat yourself once in awhile

That being said, don’t lock your bank account up and throw away the key! Sometimes a girl needs a little retail therapy. So get that Starbucks drink or that new pair of shoes. You deserve it!

5. Spend as much time with your family as you can

Your family is your biggest support, your number one fan, your rock. I could go on and on with metaphors, but it’s all true. If you’re going to school in a different town than your family lives, take time to call them. Answer their texts. They’ll appreciate it more than you know!

6. Always stay true to yourself

That girl in the mirror is freakin’ FANTASTIC and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t dress a certain way because that’s what’s trending, don’t let people pressure you into things you don’t want to do, and always speak your mind!

7. Never. Give. Up.

This applies to so many things: the job you need, the leadership position you want, and just life in general. Even if something seems impossible, keep going for it. Never stop until you are 100% satisfied with the results.

8. Academics are important…

If you’re going to school, that should be one of your top priorities. I don’t care if there’s an awesome party going on Thursday night, if you have an exam at 8 AM on Friday, don’t go to the party. Yes, your friends might think you’re lame, but when you get an A on the test and they don’t, you’ll be the one laughing.

9. …But don’t beat yourself up over a bad grade

Everybody gets bad grades. Literally everybody. We’ve all seen way more red pen than we’d like to, but the days still move on. There will be more ways to prove yourself in class, and one bad grade will not ruin your GPA!

10. Take time to relax

Kick back and relax! You’re only 20 years old, don’t stress yourself out to oblivion. Organize a girl’s night with your best friends or binge watch a show on Netflix. You can worry about other things tomorrow.

20 Lessons You Learn Before You Turn 20 : Take Time To Relax

11. Everybody has bad days

I heard the phrase “It’s a bad day, not a bad life” a few years ago, and it’s stuck with me for quite some time. Believe me when I say that things will get better.

12. Do good things for others

There’s nothing better than seeing someone smile because of something you did for them. This can be little gestures like holding the door open for someone or something bigger like doing them a favor or giving them a gift. Let people know you care and they’ll care for you.

13. Don’t just watch, observe.

We spend so much of our time looking at our phones or caught up in our own world that we forget to see things for more than their exterior. Next time you’re walking to class or at the mall, take a few minutes to observe and think about your surroundings. You might be surprised by what you see!

14. Sleep is more important than you know

Call me a major dork, but I like going to bed around 11 pm on weekday nights. When my alarm is set for 7 in the morning, I like to make sure that I have a good amount of sleep. There is no amount of caffeine that would ever be a healthy replacement for sleep. So next time you have the opportunity, go to bed early! You’ll thank yourself in the morning.

15. Never stop reading

Remember in elementary school when they made you read 20 minutes every night for homework? You should never lose that habit. I get that sometimes there’s just not enough time, but reading is so healthy for you! It generates creativity, keeps your brain on alert, and so much more.

16. Show up to things on time

Or early for that matter! It’s understandable that some things can get in the way of this (like traffic), but if you’re perpetually late, it starts to look bad.

17. Be careful about what goes up on social media

Future employers look at ALL of your social media profiles, even the one that you thought you had on the highest privacy setting. As a young adult, you need to make sure that you curate your social media so you only show your best self. If you’re under legal drinking age and there’s a photo of you with a red solo cup on your Facebook page, it looks very unprofessional. I’m not here to tell you that you can’t make your own decisions on the weekend, but I do suggest you don’t put photographic evidence up where everyone can see it.

18. If you feel sick, get help

Whether you’re mentally or physically sick, get the help you need. Go to the doctor, get medicine, and take it easy. It’s so easy to get sick from stress or any one of the millions of germs on college campuses.

19. Always take the chance to travel

If you have the opportunity to study abroad, take it! If you get chosen for an internship across the country, take it! You will never regret traveling.

20. You will never be the you that you are now

Finally, take every moment for what it’s worth because you are always changing. Take opportunities when they come and be your best self.

I hope that these lessons that I learned were inspirational to some of you! What are some things you’ve learned so far? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

42 Replies to “20 Lessons You Learn Before You Turn 20”

  1. You are the best!!!!

    1. Haha thanks Mom 🙂

  2. Yes to all of these!
    20 feels like so long ago even though I’m only 24.
    You seem pretty wise for your age and I am sure with time you will only become wiser 🙂

    xoxo, Jenny

    1. Thanks Jenny! 🙂

  3. Are you sure you are o ly 20? The best advice for everyone. Great job.

    1. Thanks Sandy, that means a lot! 🙂

  4. this is such an awesome post. I love the, “always stay true to yourself”! I am a firm believer in that! x, kenz http://sincerelykenz.com

  5. Yes yes yes to #1. I’ve lost friendships this year because some girls that I used to be close to put their boyfriends above everything. Romantic relationships are important, but not important enough to forget about your friends! Happy birthday though- hope your day is wonderful!! 🙂

    xoxo A

  6. Happy Birthday! I love this post! And I totally agree with so many of the points you mentioned. Especially staying true to yourself.

  7. I love the part about making reading a habit! It’s so true that we need to keep the 20 min a day for reading time like we did when we were little 🙂 I try to do so every night!

    1. Thank you for reading! 🙂

  8. Happy Birthday Anna – I hope it’s a good one!

  9. These are amazing things that you’ve learned! A lot of these, I’ve learned too. Especially the bank account one! Happy birthday!
    The Fashionista’s Diary

    1. Thanks Lauren! 🙂

  10. God, these are so good.
    I feel like you’re a way more together 20-year-old than I ever was!
    Great post!

    1. Thank you! I try my best!

  11. Yes, yes, yes! I agree with all of these. I felt the same way when I turned 20… it feels SO much older than 19. Happy birthday, hope it was a great one!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

    1. Thanks Kayla! And you’re right, 20 does feel quite a bit older than 19 does!

  12. YES to so many of these!!!! Especially #1! I’ve lost some good friends because they were more focused on their relationship, and I felt left behind. My number one goal of when I’m in a relationship is to remember my friends and do things with them too!

    1. Hey Ashley! It’s so disappointing when you lose friends because they’re more interested in their love life!

  13. Such great lessons! I wish I knew all of these at 20, you are one wise lady 🙂

    Happy Birthday girl!
    Emily at Style Cubby

    1. Thank you Emily!

  14. I’m in my mid-twenties and I’m not sure I can say I’ve even learned all of those yet!

    Kayla || Keynotes from Kay

    1. I have a hard time believing that, Kayla! But thank you 🙂

  15. Love this post and needed this! I still can’t believe I’m 20 years old. Thanks for sharing this girl!
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

    1. Thanks Amy! Being 20 will take some getting used to I’m sure, but I’m excited for this year!

  16. This post could not be more true and was such a sweet read!! This is wonderful advice for ANY one no matter the age!!

    xo Ashley

    1. Thank you Ashley! 🙂

  17. Yes to all of these! The grade one, relaxing, and the boys! I have a fiance but my girlfriends still know that they come in equal with him! Happy Birthday, your 20’s are pretty great (says the 21, almost 22 year old)

    1. Thanks girl! I’m hoping that my 20’s are amazing!

  18. Great read!!! LOOOVE your blog 🙂

    1. Thanks girl! That means a lot 🙂

  19. Yes, yes, and yes to all of this!! welcome to your twenties!

    Pick Your Beau

  20. Happy belated birthday, Anna! I hope your 20th was everything you wanted it to be and more. These are all important lessons for anyone to know. My favorite being #20 – seriously so true! Take time to be in the present and love who you are in that moment. You will never be the you that you are now!

    1. Thank you! I try to remember #20 a lot because I feel like so many people are focused on what’s coming up that they don’t take the time to appreciate the now!

  21. Love this! I’m 24 now and I still have to remind myself of many of these quite often! I particularly like #2 – what fun is living if you can’t enjoy a sundae?! 😉

    1. Thanks Haley! And to answer your question, not being able to enjoy a sundae would not be a fun life at all!

Let's chat!