Now that I'm halfway to 21, I've realized some of the most important things that I've learned/done/seen in my two decades on this earth.
1. Get a credit card (and learn how to budget your money).
Being a young adult is ridiculously expensive, so make sure you stay on top of your game. Also, it's literally never too early to start building good credit. Research what credit card is best for you and just use it to buy groceries once in a while or for emergencies (AND THEN PAY IT OFF RIGHT AWAY)!!!
2. Perfect your LinkedIn.
You might think this is an old person thing, but I promise that it will help in your career journey... so many potential networking opportunities can come from this so make sure yours looks good.
3. Find something you're good at.
THIS CAN LITERALLY BE ANYTHING. Playing an instrument, art, running a small business, taking photos, tutoring, going on mission trips, literally anything that you're passionate about and enjoy doing - this will make you happier and seem super impressive.
4. Master the 'fun facts' about yourself.
You're going to have to sit through boring ice breakers in class, so you might as well stunt on your peers and have some gems ready. For example: I say that "the first thing on my bucket list is to take a DNA test on Ancestry.com to see if I'm related to the creator of Kellogg's cereal."
5. Register to VOTE!!!!!
Be part of the change we need to see in the world, it's falling apart and we are the generation that needs to save it. Do your civic duty.
6. Watch the sunrise.
Good for your mental health... and your snapchat story.
7. Go to a music festival.
One of the most fun things you will do, dancing to your favorite songs with your favorite people.
8. Make a vision board.
Super lame and cheesy but this helps you get excited about your dreams and ideas and plans. Laying everything out in front of you and looking at it every day can actually help you achieve these dreams faster.
9. Road trip with friends.
Every single person needs to do this once in their lives; you don't even have to go far (drive to the next state or go visit your grandparents... just pack up the car and drive).
10. Learn how to change a flat tire.
You don't realize how useful this will be when you're in a sticky situation with your friends. Ask your dad, I'm sure he would be so excited to show you.
11. Get a planner (and actually use it).
This will help you get your shit together... and we all know you need it.
12. Learn a foreign language.
The world is changing, learn a language other than your own and be able to communicate with other people.
13. Take a risk.
Go cliff jumping, ride that roller coaster you're kinda scared of, get bangs or dye your hair blue. Do something that makes your heart race a little bit and I promise you'll feel better afterward.
14. Deep clean your closet.
Get rid of that shirt that you're holding on to "in case you go to a Hawaiian-themed party one day." You're never going to wear it and if you get rid of enough stuff, you can probably make a good bit of money (pro tip: sell your gently-used clothes at Plato's Closet!!!).
15. Tell your friends and family how much they mean to you.
Make their day, they need to hear it as much as you need to say it.
16. Figure out a plan.
Whether that be for next week, next year or the next two decades, figure out what you want to do with your time and make sure you start working to accomplish those goals.
17. Do an activity by yourself.
OK, you might feel a little lame at first, but I promise that this is kind of freeing. Go see a movie, take a cooking class, go to yoga, anything really. One time, I went to a concert by myself because no one else wanted to go, and it was honestly one of the most fun nights of my life. Sometimes you have to be your own best friend and do things that make YOU happy.
18. Find your go-to dish to cook.
You can impress people by having them over for dinner or show your parents that you're not incompetent — either works!!!
19. Fall in love.
If it's not with a significant other, then fall in love with yourself. Now is the prime time for us to get down on ourselves — we're young and scared and unprepared. So make sure you tell yourself that you're proud of where you are and where you're going.
20. LSU Edition: hit all the iconic spots!!!
Jump in Dodson fountain (or you won't graduate). Dance in the sprinklers on the parade grounds in the middle of the night. Try every ice cream flavor in the dairy store. Go see who lives in your old dorm room and make friends with them. Watch the sunset from the top of the Barnes & Noble parking garage.