21st Birthday or Just Another College Weekend: the unrealistic expectations

Melissa Rosman, Editor-in-Chief

For as long as I can remember birthdays have been glorified. People count down the days by hand or with iPhone countdown apps desperately waiting for their day of celebration.

One specific “college” birthday often awaited anxiously as the “best day of your life” is your 21st birthday. This past week, I woke up with 21 years of life and a normal day. Besides the birthday celebration my roommates elaborately planned, the day was normal: grocery shopping, prescription pickups, cleaning, it was no “21 and Over” type of day. College students possess this set of imaginative, unrealistic expectations for the night of their 21st birthday—unlimited alcohol, hooking up with a guy or girl of their choice, having so much “fun” they don’t remember the night… and while this may happen, for most students, this is just a typical weekend. What makes your 21st birthday stand out from the rest?

In my opinion, birthdays are generally overrated past the age of 10; you’re just another year older. However, my 21st birthday has held the position of most overrated night, ever. It means only nine years left being twenty-something, one-year left of college and one year closer to accepting full adult responsibilities. So why the cultural craze? Many students are excited about being able to look a bouncer in the eyes without crossing their fingers and hoping for a miracle that their fake ID will work. Other fake ID-less students wish to join their friends during the magical Oneonta nightlife in the bars. Yes, the bars are fun when you go out once in a while. But they are really just house parties that you need an ID to get into, where you have to pay for alcohol, but are offered a wider drink selection.

I have to admit, being a senior and turning 21 eight months behind my friends, I did fantasize about being able to walk into a bar with ease and undaunted confidence. However, underclassmen— it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. If given the chance I would revert back to age 18 in a heartbeat. I would submit to freshman year gen eds, turn in my ID and go back to taking the bus to frat houses and parties hosted by friends of friends of  “somewhat” friends. So if you’re an underclassman reading this, don’t stress about being underage and enjoy your themed parties and lack of an ID. It will come one day and you will be just two semesters away from graduation and a little disappointed in your illusory four years worth of plans. In the meantime, plan to celebrate your birthday with good-hearted friends surrounding you, a slice of Tino’s pizza at 2 a.m. and if you’re lucky enough, your significant other to bring you home.

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