This fall I'll be turning 20. A new decade. How great, especially with how this decade has started. No, seriously, I have never been more worried to continue the process of moving out of my parent's house, to get a credit card and establish a goal credit of above 750, finding a job without it impacting my college education, continuing my college education, and learning how to drive. You could say there's a lot of things I still need to do and honestly, you wouldn't be wrong for hating this long list, like still needing to know how to drive, but in my current defense, there's a pandemic.
1. Moving out of the parent's house
Okay, so I firmly believe that if you can stay at your parent's home comfortably, especially rent-free, do it. Seriously, it's not weird for people to live their parents while in their 20's, but I am deciding to move out and live on my own, whether it be during the school year and living on campus, or during the summer months at my apartment. I have never lived in a house with my family, it's always been a 1 or 2-bedroom apartment. Since my younger sister is older now, she needs her own space and because I do too, it's time to find an apartment for myself. Another reason I want to move out, even though I love them, my family drives me crazy. Experiencing life through traveling and meeting new people and finding different opportunities can't be done in the city and the apartment I've lived my entire life. This is the literal saying of the "bird leaving the nest."
2. First credit card
So apparently, it's normal for some parents to put their children's names on their credit cards as authorized users, and then once they become of age, a credit has been established. I didn't have this luxury as my dad had bad credit for a good portion of our lives. Which is the downside to adding your child on your credit card...if you for some reason end up with bad credit, so will your child. I had put a freeze or a notice on my credit and social security number when I turned 18. I was still in my senior year of high school and my focus wasn't on building credit and earning money, it was about graduating. When I entered my first year of college, my focus was still on school, so I never even thought about taking out a credit card to establish a credit, which is ironic since I take out student loans...putting me into debt. I just applied for a credit card and was approved [enter excited screams]. Having a credit card can be scary and also make it very easy to fall into massive debt, but I am pretty determined to do well with one considering the things I want to do in my life, and I have managed my money well with checking and savings accounts. I believe I will do well with a credit card. Even though it'll be a long process, I don't think it will be extremely difficult to gain a decent credit score by the time I graduate with my degree.
3. Finding a job while maintaining financial aid
I don't know how common knowledge this is because everyone's financial situation and the package they receive from universities are going to be different. For me, and I hope other people are aware of this as well, I may be able to have a job, but I can't earn over a certain amount or it'll be determined that I can support myself. Which is the dumbest thing considering the capped income I may receive before tax is $12,000 a year. That's a whole other rant on how outrageous it is to not be able to earn more money if I am able to in order to support myself during the school year. At the same time, I learned this past year that money isn't just needed for having a good time with friends and being able to buy nice things for my dorm. I became sick after the holiday break and had to visit urgent care twice. Even with insurance, my medical bill was insane. I don't know if it's because they didn't like my insurance or what, but I had never received a copay past $10 and they gave me one for over $100...and billed me a second time after. On top of this, I was unable to go to work for a week, so my monthly income drastically decreased and the usual things I buy with the medicine I needed to pay for added on were putting a dent into my savings. This incident and losing my job during the pandemic have actually taught me how to be extremely safe with my money, and the fact that I still have a small income coming in and growing in my savings for when I go back to school is something I'm really proud of myself for doing.
4. Continuing my college education
Like many people, wondering what is going to happen to me and my education was a heavy question during the lockdown. I had almost made the decision to transfer to a community college in Seattle or defer for a semester until I can transfer to another 4-year university in Washington State. Especially with the housing situation at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. For my housing this upcoming year, I had chosen community housing in Alice Ball. This was the black student union community house. After completing the renewal process for housing, because my choice is different from the majority, I had already received a room assignment, but not a contract. The same day they announced that not every student would be provided housing was the same day they emailed me about pulling my room assignment. My three options for continuing school all had issues.
a. Transferring to a community college in Seattle
b. Deferring for a semester to a year by transferring to a 4-year university in Washington State
c. Continuing at UHM
No matter what decision I was to make, I would have had multiple issues within each choice, which made me choose which problems I would be able to handle instead of choosing which I want.
5. Learning how to drive
So, I turn 20 in a couple of months and don't know how to drive. People seem to think that this is a really weird concept, and I honestly don't really understand why they don't understand. I've lived in the Seattle area my entire life. I'll admit, a car could be helpful in some situations, but because I thought I was going to be living in Seattle my entire life, I never thought about learning to drive. It's a city thing. You can live your entire life in certain cities without a car or a license. Since I have chosen to move to Hawaii, I do want to learn how to drive. Not because I plan on getting a car in Hawaii, but because I don't plan on staying here for the rest of my life, and wherever I choose to go next may not be by the beach or in the city. In all honesty, not knowing how to drive is not that much different from most people in college because not everyone has a car anyway. Also, again, there's a pandemic.
How to do the whole transitioning thing from being a kid living at home to getting out of the house and making my own decisions is 1 million times harder in our current situation right now than it was before. I used to be able to say I didn't do these things because I was lazy and I was given the luxury to put it off. But now, I realize that doing things earlier is the best. Doing some, if not all, of these things during a pandemic is probably the best time to do it. Considering the fact that everything is either on a standstill or going back and forth to opening and closing, life just isn't the same right now for the movement of things. So why not work on things that only I affect and not what a pandemic affects.