So, you're now an adult. At least, legally you are considered one, and as such new responsibilities are barreling down the train track whether you're ready or not. This can seem overwhelming, and it's not uncommon to freeze up and feel the urge to panic. It's going to be okay, I promise. Just remember, you are surrounded by adults who have already been there, and would love to provide guidance. In the meantime, to help you later in your young adult years, here are 8 simple things to get started on sooner rather than later.
Get a credit card.
Having a good credit score is essential in the adult world to buying and renting, and the way to do that is by getting a credit card. Unfortunately, most credit card companies (like a lot of jobs) want you to have experience owning a card before they'll give you one. The solution? Get one of the student ones and cancel it before they start charging fees. Most of them will give you the first year fee free, so just have it for 10 months then cancel it and use that score to get a new one. Easy peasy.
Open a bank account.
If you don't already have your own bank account, get one and start saving. Interest accumulates over time, and you'll need a bank account to use a credit card.
Register to vote.
As a citizen of the United States of America, once you are 18 you have a right to vote. This does matter, your vote does count, and not using our right is like throwing away your vote. Take advantage of the power offered you, and then use it wisely. You have no right to complain about the way things are if you aren't take the time to make a difference with your vote.
Build your resume.
When you're 18, your resume isn't going to be very impressive. That's fine. However, it's a good idea to create one and start adding to it. Volunteer! Go be a camp counselor! Find opportunities to get involved in areas of interest. No experience is invaluable, and every job gives you new skills that can be applied elsewhere. It's all about getting that experience and being able to showcase it in a positive light.
As in babysit, pet sit, and house sit. When you're in school, it can be difficult to work a regular job. Sometimes a part-time fast-food position doesn't make enough. A great ( and super fun) way to make money will manage your other responsibilities are to take care of kids, pets, and homes. The key to getting a lot of these jobs is building a good report for yourself. In other words, always do a good job. People talk, and when they talk about you, you want it to be good. Simply doing the dishes, taking the dog on extra walks, and helping kids with their homework even if you're not asked to go a long way.
An important (if often undervalued skill) is cooking. Being able to cook for yourself is important, healthier, and will save you money. Yes, it can be time-consuming, and cooking for just yourself can be challenging. It takes practice to get the portions just right. There's no harm in eating leftovers but pay attention. Food poisoning is something worth avoiding.
Pick a path.
Many of us freak out trying to choose what school to go to and what degree to get. For the most part, this doesn't matter too much. What you choose to do in your younger years doesn't have to be what you do for the rest of your life. If you're not 100% sure what you want, get a more general degree that can apply to a lot of areas of life, and you're set. As for what school, you're only there a few years, and those will fly by. Whatever you decide to do, just make the best of it and have some fun along the way.
Be nice to your parents.
Parents have this incredible ability to irritate teenagers and young adults. Just remember they're only being annoying because they care about you. Don't dismiss their advice just because they're frustrating you, and don't be so prideful as to reject their help. You're young, and they're older and wiser than you. Let them help you get started. It's one of the last things they'll get to do for you, and their wisdom will come in handy. Give them hugs, and don't forget to call home every once in awhile.
Life can seem big and scary, but if there's one bit of advice that I can impart on the next group of 18-year-olds, it would be this. No one ever knows exactly what they're doing. Adults all feel like kids, just with more experience and responsibility. It's okay to be unsure, and don't hesitate to ask questions and make mistakes. The key is to learn from them and grow along the way.