Live on your own timeline

Society puts a lot of pressure on young people to have their lives together by a certain age and to have a certain image throughout their time in college. By the age of 18, we are expected to know what we want to do for the next thirty-odd years before we retire. In our early 20s, most people are expected to be married and thinking about planning their families. Once we have families, we’re supposed to mold our children into brave, fearless and charismatic leaders.

While I’m not knocking any of these things, I personally believe that not everyone is supposed to take the same path. Those who know what they want to do when they are fresh out of high school are, in my eyes, considered the lucky ones. To those of you in this position, hats off to you and your hard work. You are leaders and model students for those both younger and older than you are.

If you have found the love of your life in your early 20s, you deserve to be congratulated. Dating in today’s world can be difficult because of significant others or the pressure to be in relationships. I feel like most people fall in love with someone for the wrong reasons in today’s world. In some relationships, people will turn to Tinder, Bumble, Grindr or other social media and dating apps when they are fighting with their significant others. Some people cannot find the strength to tell the truth when they are wrong, which is never easy but always has the best outcome in the long run. My cousin got married at the age of 18, and I have never seen a couple happier together than the two of them. They are the cliché type of love you hope to find and never lose.

I feel in both college and marriage, people need to take time to mature and find out what they really love for themselves and within themselves. This helps set the bar for how successful you want to be, how you want to achieve that success, how you want to love others and, most importantly, how you want to love yourself. In a world that is filled with stereotypes and unrealistic expectations, I think it is vital for people to grow up a little bit before determining their futures or building one with another person.

I personally cannot speak on raising children, as I only have a puppy in my life, but from what I have seen of my friends who do have children, they are raising bright, loving and intelligent children, seeing them gives me hope for a better future.

Throughout my 22 years, I have learned a lot and grown so much as an individual, friend, sister, daughter and student. I took a year to discover what makes me happy and what I would enjoy doing with the rest of my life. Throughout that year, I learned more about myself, my future and the world than I ever could have imagined learning in any classroom. I appreciate my classes, the opportunities I’ve been given by my university, the relationships I have and my future so much more.

Maybe I am a little biased on this topic because I have experienced my own personal failures, but I have gained so much strength and knowledge through those. I hope students reading this realize they don’t have to fit the mold society puts us in to be successful, popular or whatever they are trying to be. Take a step back and take a breath and it will all work out the way it is supposed to.