21 events as a 21-year-old

A photo I took at the Smoky Mountains.

A photo I took at the Smoky Mountains.

This is my first blog post as a 22-year-old.

And there’s no better way to start off the next year than looking back at the year before.

I’ve written a list of 21 milestones that happened to me when I was 21 — academic, work-related, or personal.

Not all are spectacular or earth-shattering, but they are all events that I still remember, so that must mean something, right?

In an effort to avoid clichés, none of my list items pertain to buying alcohol legally.

So here are the 21 events from my year of 21-ness.

  1. I met an astronaut when I visited NASA in Florida with my family.
  2. A fellow reporter and I wrote about college students’ abuse of Adderall and the consequences of using Adderall without a prescription. One student told me, “It’s literally a magical hangover pill.”
  3. I saw a bear at the Smoky Mountains.
  4. I saw how screwed up a system can be when I was hired to intern at an Atlanta weekly publication. I had to quit a few hours into my first workday because I was never told that I would be required to receive college credit for my unpaid internship. I wasn’t taking classes that semester, so in order to receive college credit, I would have been forced to pay fees. The price tag: almost $1,000 for an unpaid internship.
  5. I went to Kansas City twice to visit my grandmother.
  6. I saw live performances by Florence + the Machine, the Foo Fighters, the Avett Brothers, Neon Trees, and Pearl Jam (though the band wasn’t so great in concert) at Music Midtown.
  7. I participated in a walkout in August with other staff members from The Red & Black, the independent student newspaper at the University of Georgia, to fight growing censorship issues. After five days, our group’s demands were met and we went back to work. You can read about it in The New York Times or the Huffington Post.
  8. After the walkout, I returned to my position as news editor, which was the most difficult job of my life. It wasn’t just that the work was demanding and my cell phone was always ringing; I dedicated 45 hours a week on top of being a full-time student. After that semester, any job I do seems easier in comparison.
  9. I mentored a high school student every week.
  10. I covered a presidential election for the first time.
  11. I graduated with a diploma in journalism from UGA.
  12. I earned a minor in French, which took all 3.5 years of college to get it. I began French 101 my first semester of freshman year and took at least one French class every semester throughout college. Now I can properly pronounce beef bourguignon.
  13. I went to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia that was down the street from UGA to study on a sunny day.
  14. I moved three times: once out of my apartment at the end of junior year, one time to another apartment at the beginning of senior year, and once more a few days after graduation when I moved back to my parents’ house.
  15. I moved back to Atlanta. I’ve lived here most of my life, but I left to go to college.
  16. I traveled to Paris, which was my first trip to both France and Europe. And I got to properly pronounce beef bourguignon and prove to the sometimes surprised French that not every American speaks only English.
  17. I got my first post-college job along with a salary that is above minimum wage.
  18. I went to a trampoline park.
  19. I’m now into Twitter. Before, I barely ever tweeted anything. I just had an account because every journalist does. Now, I enjoy coming up with pithy 140-character lines.
  20. I got business cards from work for the first time. It feels so real when you finally get to see your name on a small piece of paper.
  21. Between my subscriptions and the magazines I’ve worked for, I have read at least 48 magazines this year, though it’s probably been more than that.
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