Rachel is a 16-year-old born and raised in NYC. She enjoys singing, debating, traveling and writing. Her favorite subjects are English and Science; she wishes to pursue a career in either of them in the future.
Here is THE LIST for things all teens should do or at least TRY to do while you’re still young. Many people always dream about their past and how they wished that they did something while they still had the chance. And let’s just face it, once you settle down a few years after college, you’re not likely to even THINK of fulfilling your dreams of the past because you have too much responsibilities and work from your job and et cetera. So, before you reach….let’s say, the age of 25, you should finish this list. Most of these aren’t “climb Mount Everest” hard, but if you finish it, you won’t ever have to worry about looking back on your life with regret.
1. Get a job as early as you can. Whether it’s picking up groceries for your elderly neighbor, even if it’s non-paying, job experience is job experience. So when you want to apply for a nice paying job that you really want, you will already have job experience and references, who might even help you by telling your potential boss how hard you worked even though you weren’t getting paid. This will show that you have good work ethics and are a great worker.
2. Start a “you” fund. By the age of 16, some banks allow you to open your own checking/savings account, like Bank of America. Every time you get a paycheck, put ___% in the account (no matter what). I know it would be really great to get that cute summer tote that is also on sale, but you could always save up whatever percentage of your paycheck that you DON’T put in your account. And it’s not like you don’t have a lot of bags already. Teens contribute the most in this world’s economy; it’s better to be thrifty and save the extra few bucks for something that you would REALLY need in the future. Trust me, even a few dollars a day can accumulate to be a lot of money. Just never sway from the percentage of your paycheck you set to input in the bank. Your “you” fund could help you out in your college years when you really need the money for books, food, and rent.
3. Travel to the place you always wanted to go to with close friends. Since you could travel alone as soon as you’re 18, the summer right after you graduate High School is the perfect time to do just that. Way before graduation, set a money schedule to save up. This way you don’t have to ask your parents to pay for your or your friends’ tickets. You would be able to pay for your ticket and a few souvenirs from your little vacation. Just remember, it’s okay to take a little money from your “you” fund but never splurge on things you won’t need. Sure that bracelet from the hotel’s shop would be a nice memento but then you wouldn’t need that seashell, that new bathing suit, that…well, you got the picture.
4. Write a memoir/make a film diary. Your high school, college and early career years will be hardest and most stressful time you could have (without a family, of course). You may not always have someone to listen to you, so you can vent on your camera or notebook. In the future, you might choose to look back on your past hardships. You never know; your past you might have advice for the current you! Not to mention, I find that my past experiences inspire story ideas. Memoirs are one of the best books on the market today. Some memories could seem so ridiculously funny or heartbreakingly poignant, that it’s fictional, but it’s not. So save some of your journal entries. You never know if you could make money off of them later.
5. Talk to a stranger. Now I don’t mean you should talk to some random dude off the street that you’ve never seen before; that’s a safety hazard. No, I mean, someone you see practically everyday on the bus or in class that you hardly talk to. Asking said people for advice I find is really helpful. They don’t judge you on your past mistakes (because they don’t KNOW them) and they will be honest with you (because they have no reason NOT to). Most people normally only keep within their own cliques; doing so could make you miss out some great friendships. So, that kid sitting in the corner who hardly talks in class? Why not say hi? You never know if they could become a good friend.
6. Go skydiving or something else that you always wanted to do. Write a book, run a marathon! Do it while you’re still young, healthy, and unattached to some big time job. It’s a perfect thing to do during or right after college. Most of these things aren’t that expensive, so it shouldn’t really put a dent on your “you” fund.
7. BUDGET YOURSELF. It’s always easier to form good financial habits when you’re young.
8. Find your dream job and GET IT. Always strive for your dreams. There’s no use for you getting a six figure paycheck if you’re bored out your wits everyday of the week. I find the best jobs are those that doesn’t feel like work. What’s the point of getting a lot of money if you don’t enjoy what you do?
9. Get a dog or cat or fish or…..pet rock. Pets can help teach you responsibility, especially when you’re the only one caring for it. They can also be the ones that encourage you to exercise, considering some of them need to be walked.
10. Something to live by. Here is a personal saying that I adapted from the original saying: Live life like it’s your last day on earth, but make smart choices, in case it isn’t.
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