The First Steps to Adulting

If you thought homework and sports were a lot of responsibilities, try being 18.

Sure, if you ran away from home your parents would not legally be able to force you back into their house. If you want to drop out of school and work full time, go ahead. No one is stopping you. You’re 18. The only thing you can’t do is legally drink or rent a car, but nothing is getting in your way of starting your life.

Maybe except all of the expenses, taxes and lack of time that may lie within your path to adulthood.

“I turn 18 in a little less than a month,” said senior Emmy Lam when asked about her experience becoming an adult. Her biggest worry as she comes closer to her 18th birthday is “having to face the realities of being an adult.”

You want to be able to set yourself up to grow as an individual and not suffer. You want to be prepared financially, be responsible for your time and how you spend it and understand that even if you don’t know what direction you’re moving in now, it’s a good time to start learning.

You want to start with finances.

Our lives and our society revolves around money. If you want to go to the store to get food, you need to be able to somehow obtain a car, whether buying or borrowing, to be able to drive to the gas station to buy gas, to which you use gas to go buy food. Without money, you would be stuck in the home that your parents are probably paying for because you don’t have enough to move out.

Set yourself up with a job. Lucky for you, at 18 you can work full-time, so no need to worry about not getting enough hours and lacking money. You have the opportunity lying at your feet. Even if it’s not full-time, you can still save up a good amount of money with the whopping $14 an hour at any minimum wage job just working 20 hours a week.

According to senior Dylan Howard, it’s important to “work hard and don’t be lazy” at any age. This pertains to any aspect of your life. Even if you’re financially stable at the moment, you want to think and plan for your future. So with the money that you save, you can start building your credit by applying for a credit card.

Credit will allow you to have more opportunities like buying a house and or renting a car. Personally speaking, money can buy happiness, and with the opportunity to move and buy a car, there’s a lot to be happy for right there. Let yourself be happy later, even if you’re stressed now, and get that credit score!

Invest in an IRA. Also known as an individual retirement account., the more money you save, the faster you’ll be able to retire. Retirement isn’t something that is handed to you. Similar to a 401K, it’s based on how you handle and grow your financial status.

Other than saving and investing, there are other aspects of being 18 to really take into account.

“Sit back and relax,” says Lam. “It’ll all be okay.”

Similar to working and becoming completely independent, enjoy your freedom. Enjoy knowing that you’re going to get your life started, but you still have time before you have every responsibility weighted on your shoulders.

Understand that you’re still in your youth. You’re a fresh adult that still has time.

You may be able to call yourself an adult, but realize you’re still in school and a teenager. The only responsibilities you should have to worry about other than a job are the opportunities you could miss. Now I know you work every weekend in order to save money for your future house and car, but that happiness is for the future. You can still experience life even when you think your life is just toil.

You might find yourself working for everyone else, but take time for yourself and take a trip somewhere. You’re in your prime moment of freedom before you have a family to tend to for years on end until you breathe again.

You want to let yourself prosper, not just your bank account. You want to grow your individuality, not just your work hours. You want to find new experiences, not just money in the bank once your working days are over.

If you overwork yourself and stress out your developing mind so young, you might “regret it,” said 18-year-old senior Brianna Beauchamp. “Don’t go crazy when you turn 18.”