When I was younger, I always imagined turning 20 would magically transform me into an adult, similar to the Sailor Moon transformation sequence on my favorite TV show. The moment the clock struck my birthday hour I would metamorphose from a wee child playing with Barbie’s to a briefcase-toting, coffee- drinking, car-driving adult.  The older I got, the more I realized this was not the case.

Through observations of my older friends and brother, I noted that turning twenty is generally confusing.  You’re not a whiny teenager anymore, but people still don’t take you seriously because you’re young.  The great philosopher Britney Spears sang it best, “Not a girl, not yet a woman.”

Suddenly, you’re expected to pay for rent on your apartment, all while maintaining a steady diet of ramen noodles and orange soda. You’re also met with anxiety, specifically the “Oh-No-What-Am-I-Doing-With-My-Life” variety.  You’re in the middle of your college career, and in two short years you will graduate and be shoved into the real world full of job interviews and taxes and 401Ks. OH MY!

Rather than focus on the mildly traumatizing parts of turning 20, I am looking forward to the better aspects of growing up.  For example, I am excited to be out of that angst “my-parents-are-the-worst” phase. After coming to college, I realized how much my parents sacrificed for me to attend this University.  I also came across the realization that – Hey, parents are people too, who have feelings and hobbies, and are actually genuinely interesting members of society.

This sudden epiphany of maturity made me value the time I had with my family while on breaks, as opposed to arguing with them over petty things.  So, I am looking forward to hanging out and getting along with my family (as nerdy as that sounds.)

Remember when you were in grade school, and you asked your mom for permission to go to so-and-so’s house? Then, once you turned 14 you stopped telling your parents your whereabouts, and only texted occasionally to affirm that you weren’t lying in a ditch somewhere.  To me, turning 20 is similar to that.

It’s about becoming confident in your own decision-making, and having a smaller safety net available in case you screw up.  Granted it’s terrifying idea, but it’s the best way to learn about yourself and learn from your mistakes.

My twentieth birthday transpires during fall break.  While I highly doubt that I’ll be turned into an adult once the clock hits 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 16, I know I will have to grow up eventually.

Luckily I have a great support system, both at home and at Gannon, that will help me every step of the way while I try to figure out my life.  It’s scary to think that 10 years from now I might be married, have my own place or even have children; but for now, I am taking everything one day at a time.