Adulting: 10 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Graduated High School
As a millennial who has been removed from high school for almost ten years now; it’s fun to look back and think about all the things I did and didn’t do when I graduated from high school. When you graduate, you’re 18-years-old and you’re ready to explore the world! Here are are 10 things I wish I had known.
1. Those AP classes that your high school offers, they’re important!
For those of you who attend a high school where AP or advanced placement classes are offered, take advantage of them. The AP classes are important because many times college credits are offered for those courses. This will help in the long run because the more you can knock out before you actually get to college, the better!
2. Apply for scholarships and take the process seriously.
When I was in high school, I applied for multiple colleges but I didn’t take advantage of any of the scholarship opportunities that were available. There are so many scholarships out there that could potentially award you $500-$5000. Do your research and talk to your high school counselors to see what you can apply for!
3. Start saving at 18—Your 28-year-old self will thank you!
At the ripe age of 18, it’s highly unlikely that you have endless amounts of money to save. However, if you can save just $25 a week, by the end of one year you’ll have $1,300. If you do this for 10 years, you’ll have $13,000 saved. Which doesn’t seem like a lot but a recent study shows that 67% of Americans ages 25 and up have less than $1000 in their accounts. Start early!
4. Try to pay for college out of pocket as much as possible.
Let’s face it, college is expensive! The cost for higher education keeps increasing and there doesn’t seem to be anything that we can do about that. However, there are thing you can do to help pay for it. After you’ve applied for those scholarships and grants and exhausted every opportunity of free money possible, you should try to pay for school out of pocket as much as you can. I’m not telling you to work a full time job. If you have to take out loans, only take out what you absolutely need! The refund checks have to be paid back and with interest! Find ways you can make money while in school such as getting a nanny job, dog-sitting, tutoring, etc. You’ll thank yourself later.
5. Junior College is a cheaper option!
This is big! Going to a community college often has a negative stigma behind it and this is for no good reason. Community/junior colleges often times offer the same course as the big universities for much cheaper. My advice, get your General Ed course done at a community college first, and then transfer to the university of your choosing.
DISCLAIMER: BE SURE THAT THE UNIVERSITY THAT YOU WANT TO ATTEND WILL ACCEPT THE COURSES FROM THAT COMMUNITY COLLEGE. EMAIL AND SPEAK TO ADVISORS ABOUT THE PROCESS.
6. Those “besties” in high school will change and so will you, that’s okay!
Graduation day is always such a beautiful day for families and students. You get to look back on the past four years and reminisce on the memories and friendships made. This can also be a sad day for some. Many students are thinking about the few short months they have with their friends before they have to part ways until Holiday Break. My advice, make the most out of that summer. Fill it with new, fun, and safe memories. During your time away, you may keep some friendships from high school and others may dwindle. It’s okay, you’re both growing and evolving and sometimes that growth does not include each other. Just love the process and cherish the memories.
7. Move away from home!
If you’re going to school, moving out of your parents’ house is a great idea. This will allow you to grow up and gain a sense of adulthood and responsibility. Moving to a different state and experiencing something completely new from your hometown will be a very exhilarating experience and will also promote a lot of growth. If you’re set on staying in town, live in the dorms. This will still give you some independence and force you to have some responsibilities. Also, if you have the chance to live aboard for a semester, GO FOR IT. Experience other languages and cultures and create unbelievable memories.
8. It’s okay to be “undecided” your freshman year.
It’s unreasonable to ask an 18-year-old what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Don’t succumb to the pressure of feeling like you need to have a major decided. Take the general education classes first and spend that time going to clubs and events and really channeling into what you want to do. Taking courses for one major and later changing it will create a delay in graduation. It is also unnecessary courses taken and therefore unnecessary money spent.
9. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!
Life is about who you know! That “no new friends” concept in bull! Your current pool of friends is great! They know you well and you all can laugh together but they can’t necessarily get you where you want to be. You have to get out and meet new people who have different skill sets, more knowledge, and access to different things. It’s okay to make new friends and acquaintances to push you to the next step or offer a different outlook on life.
10. Your credit is important!
When you turn 18, you’re bombarded with pre-approved credit card offers. My advice is simple: this is money that you have to pay back. Speak with a trusted and educated adult. Ask them to educate you on credit and why it’s important. Having this knowledge will put you in a favorable position when it’s time to buy that house, car, or something else that you will need finance. It will also keep you out of a lot of trouble.
What are some things you wish you had known when you graduated from high school?