(18 Things To Do Before You Turn 18) 18 is probably more of a milestone mark than any other age in our lifetimes. It’s a recognized graduation step from the dreamlike childhood to a somewhat anxiety-inducing adulthood. While the age brings with it a sad reflection of the simpler times that just went by and a frightening realization of accountability for one’s own life and decisions, it also brings in a wider array of freedom and independence than one craves for from the depths of their preteens.
While most people who turn 18 have no knowledge of their responsibilities or no idea of what being an adult constitutes, they still celebrate the coming of age by exploiting their new-found freedoms to their fullest. A trend that can be easily observed in India is that most teens who flounder onto the threshold of 18 are often very unprepared and highly disoriented. The years that lead up to this adulthood are immersed in a grueling education process and most students are just torchbearers of unspoiled theoretical knowledge and have a dearth of actual living skills. There is absolutely no seamless translation into adulthood.
As an Indian teen who has been there and has suffered from such a jerking disorientation, I’d like to hand in some very practical advice to help out with any of those who are going to be entertaining similar situations.
Here are some of the most important things to do before you turn 18!
1. Be Careful With Documents
As a kid, all I knew about my documents was that every time I needed something, I must approach my father. He’d conjure it out of the depths of his wardrobe and voila. But during the grueling process of university admissions, I soon realized what loss of a document would entail. Everything from correction of faulty documents to obtaining duplicates: the process is grueling and exhausting. Things to do before you turn 18 and go to a party: here’s a more somber advice: get a folder and organize all your documents together. It will definitely make your life a hundred times simpler. Therefore, it is one of the most important things to do before you turn 18.
2. Navigating Government Offices
At number 2 in our list of things to do before you turn 18 is “navigating government offices”. You have probably never stepped into a government office for bills and so on and let’s just appreciate modern technology for enabling us to live so. Because navigating a government office and getting what you want is an ordeal that you can equate with a chakravyuh. Excited about the driving license? Yeah, you won’t be when you spend a hundred hours walking around clueless in an RTO. Excited to vote? Let’s see if you can survive the real test of figuring out how to get a voters’ ID. And no, the trigonometry you learned the whole of last year will, surprisingly, not help you out here.
The only thing that will let you come out victorious from this quagmire is a strong will to get what you need and a bold tongue. And also a really good ‘Where is the manager’ line.
3. Navigating Public Transport
Gone are the days when you could jump in and out of your school bus and call traveling boring and exhausting. When there are a hundred different buses with a wide variety of numbers and a dozen metro stops to choose from, you’re on your own. I refuse to believe that anyone has a proper idea of how the public bus system works. I think we all just wing it and hope we end up home at the end of the day. But Google Maps has a really good system where it lets you track buses between your current location and destination along with their appropriate timings. Make full use of it kids otherwise the mechanism of public transport will swallow you whole.
4. Do Research For University
If you belong to a typical Indian family, the months that lead up to your turning 18 are more dedicated are busy preparing for your 12th-grade exams and the plans for university seem distant. But most admission processes for universities abroad begin months ago and these processes are not a piece of cake. So, in the end, you may have an impressive academic record but you would have missed out your opportunities at some really good colleges.
Therefore, important things to do before you turn 18 also include searching for rankings, campus culture, employability and entrance exams for all colleges on your radar.
5. Marks Aren’t Everything
Even if you spent all your childhood preparing for a plethora of exams, those makes don’t define you. Don’t value yourself by your board percentage because the adult world doesn’t value you in that way either. You may be an A percentile student but if you plan on throwing that around for preferences, you might be in a but of a fix. You’re on your own in a world where you have to figure out how to live. And your calculus marks aren’t going to help you. Pull your head out of that book and look around. It’s time to build a career. And that isn’t limited to your marks either. Become a well-rounded person.
6. Politics Doesn’t automatically Equal Patriotism
It’s time to work for your country. It’s always good to give back to society and completely acceptable to dip your feet into the chaotic world of politics if you believe that you can bring about refreshing change. But be careful about the hatred that comes tagged along with politics. No issues are solved with hate. And it will do you good to always remember that. Voice your opinions passionately but also mind your own business when others’ views are concerned.
7. Time for self-reflection
At number 7 in our list of 18 things to do before you turn 18, we have “self-reflection”. Work on who you are as a person. You are no longer living in a uniform community where you are expected to conform to a definite image. You no longer have a defined system as to what to do with your time. Be careful because that’s great power. But be impatient to add to who you are. Try out all that you can. Be more than just another nobody before its too late to exit mediocrity.
8. Learn To Love Your Own Company
Being alone and being lonely are not the same. Enjoying your own company is one of the most important things to do before you turn 18. Always find the right people to live your happy moments with but also learn to enjoy your own company. No two people are generally headed towards the same direction and at some of the other point, you are bound to be alone. And there is an enumeration in being with oneself and being able to enjoy life in an unrestricted manner. Enjoy living with yourself and your life will truly transform into a happy place.
9. Mental Health Matters
No life doesn’t have to be running from morning to night trying to be better than others at the same common thing. Breaks don’t have to come when you are completely burnt out. Your days don’t have to start with hating what is planned for the day and sleeping dissatisfied with your performance. Although our country doesn’t see depression, anxiety and Lani attacks as serious enough symptoms, learn to diagnose yourself. Learn to know when you are burnt out and dissatisfied and make it your priority to go back to being happy again. The internet is a treasure trove of information for self-care. Indulge yourself. And come back more rejuvenated and productive than ever.
10. It’s Okay To Take A Gap Year
Your neighborhood aunty maybe horrified. But if you believe that you can be more productive when your goal is clearer and when you’ve had time to work towards being in a particular institution or workplace, then do it. Travel the world, serve at NGOs, work calmly for that entrance test, read and learn to fall in love with who you are. It’s okay. The year isn’t stolen. It’s yours. And you may be more productive in taking a year off to reacclimate as opposed to throwing yourself into the mindless pit for another 3 or 4 years.
Here are some more self-explanatory things to do before you turn 18:
11. Professions don’t end at Lawyer/Doctor/Engineer. Do what makes you happy. Because this is you for the next 50 or more years of your life. For there is a passion, you will find the means.
Also read: Obstacles In Popular Professions
12. It’s okay to start over at any point. In any situation. Mistakes can be undone or painted over beautifully. No fault is powerful enough to be the end.
13. No, they are not talking about you not are they judging you unless they expressly mentioned that to you. Life is too short to worry about rumors and judgments. Let it go and try new things.
14. Things to do before you turn 18 include internships. Do Internships in fields of interest other than your current professional field. It will help widen your approach to issues of your own field and make you a more rounded person. Never stick to a single field.
15. Learning financial resourcing is one of the most essential things to do before you turn 18. Even if the money you handle on a daily basis is limited to your food and transport, learn efficient financial management. This is one thing you won’t be learning from others. Don’t come to realize its importance in a more deadly scenario.
16. Morals have their roles to play but there is no hard rule that life will be fair to you. Don’t believe that you deserve anything. Therefore, things to do before you turn 18 include that don’t develop cynicism when you don’t get what you unfairly believed that you deserved. Cynicism on life will only get you bitter and leads you nowhere.
17. Find a cause you believe in and work for it. Don’t let it be mainstream and corporate. It will make you a better human.
18. There will never be a set of rules and instructions. Things to do before 18 include searching many times and in many situations. It’s all about who you are and how you want to put that forth. It’s all you. Every single decision defines you. So don’t go with the crowd.
Being your own person is so much more than just walking around with an unparalleled liberty. That’s only a means for you to establish your personality. Don’t celebrate the means. Celebrate what you make of it. And make sure you keep this list of ‘Things to do before you turn 18’ in mind!
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