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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
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Opinion: Turning 20 — thoughts and concerns

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Graphic by Cameron Johnson

Saying goodbye to her teen years, opinion writer @anasofiasloane reflects on the changes which surround turning 20

 

The passage of time is a peculiar thing.
Fresh in my mind are the days when I would walk to school hand-in-hand with my mom, excited to play tag with friends at recess and color butterflies on construction paper before nap time. It seems like just a couple of years ago that I stood outside my locker in seventh grade, trying to fit as many tacky wallpapers and magnetic decorations in the metal contraption as possible. I swear it was yesterday when I sang along to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” on repeat, feeling like the lyrics were personally written for my 17-year-old self.
But here I am, countless seconds, minutes and days later, facing a troubling reality: I turn 20 in less than a week.
My family and friends insist that starting this new chapter is nothing to fear — age is just a number, I’m still young and nothing will change after the clock strikes 12 a.m. on Nov. 5. Nonetheless, it feels like I’m standing at the edge of a precipice. Behind me are the comforting and what seemed to be eternal teenage years; in front of me lies a chasm of uncertainty, responsibility and expectation. Taking the inevitable step forward is difficult.
Entering this new decade feels like a safety net has been stripped out from under me. As a teenager, there’s a degree of freedom that accompanies every word and action. Questionable choices and unwise behavior — like staying up till three in the morning, using confusing slang or making dumb mistakes — are expected and written off as an outcome of juvenility. However, the narrative is different when “twenty” is the prefix for one’s age. Though still young, adulthood looms ominously, making all things more serious.
For instance, the 20s are a time of great change in terms of career and self-determination. Jobs are chosen, first-time apartments are rented, relationships become serious … the list goes on. Gone are the days of childhood innocence and teenage foolishness.
Do I feel prepared to live up to these expectations? Not really. To be honest, I barely feel 18 most of the time.
I don’t know where my major will take me. I don’t know what city, let alone what country, I want to end up living in. I don’t have a favorite color, animal or music artist. Half the time I can’t even choose what I want to eat for dinner. With so many unknowns, the shoes I have to fill feel far too big.
The one thing that offers me solace is growth.
My transition from high school to college was a time fraught with fears, insecurity and discomfort. I switched my college choice at the very last minute, was doubtful of my ability to succeed in collegiate classes and didn’t want to move out of my childhood home or leave behind my family and friends. I had absolutely zero idea what the next few years would look like, and that scared me.
Looking back now, I smile. Over the course of one year, the frightened freshman I once was is gone. Though college certainly hasn’t been easy, every high and low has shaped me into the stronger person I am today — someone I know my high school senior self would be proud of.
With this in mind, I know my grievances about turning 20, which seem insurmountable at the moment, will work themselves out in the end. In fact, I’ll probably look back at my 19-year-old self and laugh. Because what comes after 20? 30.
Ana Sofia Sloane is a political science student and opinion writer for The Battalion.

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Ana Sofia Sloane
Ana Sofia Sloane, Associate Opinion Editor
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