Though it can be expensive, going to college is definitely worth the investment. You’ll make friends, acquire connections, and be around (moderately) smart people all day, every day. The younger you do it, the better. While it’s possible to launch your college career at 30 (and I’m not discouraging you), there’s no question you’ll have more energy to deal with the trials and tribulations of university life when you’ve got all that youthful energy to work with.
2. Watch Doctor Who.
Ah, Doctor Who, one of the best science fiction shows in existence! This is a show that can change your entire perspective towards life (for the better) if you give it a chance, especially if you’re still an impressionable teenager. Plus, it’s the longest running sci-fi series ever, so if you start watching it as a youngster, it’ll probably still be there for you to enjoy once you’re middle aged or older.
3. Start a workout regimen.
People who are fit later in life started making the right choices at a young age. If you build the foundation in your teens and twenties, finding the time to go exercise for 45 minutes a day is a relatively easy task. Once your fitness plan becomes part of your routine, you’ll find it difficult to live without it. I’d outline the benefits of this, but they’re pretty self-explanatory.
4. Play video games.
Not to lecture the baby boomers among us, but a lot of problems would be solved in today’s world if people found the time to play video games. They improve your reaction times, allow you to become familiar with all kinds of technologies, and introduce you to fantastical stories and worlds. Don’t miss out on one of the best inventions of the last century; pick up a controller today!
5. Read a history book.
As a history major, I’m probably biased in suggesting this, but oh well! It angers me how the majority of people reference the past in vague platitudes that are no more accurate than your favorite Greek myth. Start educating yourself at an early age, and learn the truth. You’ll be amazed how often you catch politicians and pundits lying once you’ve read actual historical sources!
6. Get a smartphone!
Yup, I added an exclamation point. These little devices are pretty much a necessity if you want to take advantage of everything life has to offer. They boost your productivity, social networking potential, and familiarity with technology by a bucket load, so it’s best to become acquainted with them before you reach the three decade mark.
7. Build a computer.
In today’s world it’s useful to know how computers work, inside and out. While you don’t have to be a programming expert, you should at least be able to open up your desktop tower and know what you’re looking at. I’m by no means a math and science oriented person, but it’s still useful to be able to do these things without having to rely on ridiculously overpriced services like Geek Squad. Why do this before hitting 30? We live in an age of technology; knowing little things like this can give you the upper hand in the job market. Plus, it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run if you start tinkering early.
8. Fire a gun.
Before I get gun activists yelling at me, I swear I have a good reason for putting this here. I didn’t fire a gun until I went to a range a couple of years ago, and while it didn’t make me an ammo-spewing maniac, it did teach me to respect how powerful these things are. If anything, you should get a sense of the damage they can do in order to better understand the ongoing US Second Amendment debate as an adult.
9. Find a best friend.
I’m an introvert, so I couldn’t care less about having tons of friends. All you really need are two, three, or even just one best friend to make the world a brighter place. These sorts of relationships are more easily forged when young, and they’ll last a lifetime.
10. Write a fictional story.
I know most people hate writing, but hear me out on this one. Everyone should try writing a piece of fiction when they are young and imaginative, not only because it’s fun but because you’ll develop your writing skills (which most people neglect nowadays). Additionally, you may be surprised at what you come up with.
11. Read or watch the news.
I lectured baby boomers once in this article and now I’ll do the same to millennials. While the news is usually boring and/or extremely biased, it’s nice staying up to date on current events. It’ll also help when talking to older people, since they appreciate when us young folks are aware of all the important (and unimportant) things happening around the world.
12. Watch “Rocky.”
Everyone references this famous underdog flick, but few have actually watched it in its entirety. The original “Rocky” was nothing like the exaggerated stuff that came later with Ivan Drago and Clubber Lang. It was an emotional and gritty tale about a destitute Italian boxer trying to prove his self-worth by accomplishing something that nobody believed he could do. This is the type of Cinderella story everyone needs to see at a young age, especially since we’re living in a time of economic hardship. If nothing else, it will inspire you to finish that paper you need to write!
13. Address your own political biases.
Everyone is biased when it comes to politics. That being said, it’s better to know where you stand than to foolishly assume that all of your views are always correct. That is why you should become familiar with whatever political positions go against yours, especially at a young age when you are more open to considering multiple angles. I did this by growing up in a conservative town and attending a super liberal university. While it was a bit jarring going between each, it was a worthwhile experience that helped me attack my own biases and misconceptions.
14. Go to a foreign country.
I haven’t done this yet myself, but I’m definitely making it a goal to do it before I hit 30. Why? Mainly because I’ve had several friends who’ve gone, and they each came back to the United States filled with more wisdom and acceptance for other ways of life than they had before. It’s best to do this when you’re young since you still have a moderate amount of freedom to move around, and because there are lots of opportunities to go abroad through colleges.
15. Rock out at a concert.
I generally dislike being around people (cue high-functioning sociopath jokes here). That being said, even I enjoy a jaunt to a concert every now and then. You can definitely do this after 30, though I doubt it’ll be as much fun since you more than likely won’t want to be stuck in a writhing mass of young people doing all sorts of strange dance moves.
16. Familiarize yourself with a foreign language.
Notice I didn’t say “learn” or “become fluent in,” though that would be nice too. As long as you can become decently acquainted with a language, I’ll give you a pat on the back (or a high five, whichever works). The younger you are, the easier it is to pick languages up, so there’s no excuse not to try!
17. Pull an all-nighter.
While you could do this at 30 or above, you’ll probably acquire some form of narcolepsy and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone! This is much easier to do when you’re a hip and happening college-aged kid, so do it while you can. I can vouch for the fact that seeing the sun rise twice in a day is pretty sweet.
18. Troll a celebrity on Twitter.
We all know how self-important celebrities can be. Turns out they’re like that on Twitter, too. Do yourself a favor and try trolling them with a few witty, sarcastic, or borderline rude tweets. Sometimes they’ll reply to you … that is, if you’re good. If you do this before you hit 30 they’ll forgive you for being a crazy kid, past that and you might get hit with a lawsuit.
19. Go on an insanely long hike.
I’m talking like a six- to twenty-mile odyssey. Preferably one that goes uphill the entire way. You’ll feel accomplished, and you’ll lose so many calories that you can eat whatever you want for a week! By doing this before 30, you lessen the risk of passing out and tumbling down the mountain.
20. Watch “24.”
What? You’re under 30 and haven’t watched Jack Bauer shoot down a helicopter with his pistol? Sure, you could watch this fantastic television series when you’re older … but then you’ll miss out on one of the best (and sometimes unintentionally hilarious) shows of the 21st century, and you’ll miss out on all of the cool references at parties. It’s been out since 2001 so you have no excuse!
21. Acquire a taste for coffee.
Coffee is great. I’m in my twenties and I go through at least three, four, five, sometimes six cups a day. Not only is coffee arguably good for you, it’ll keep you awake while you’re in college or grad school. Let’s face it, you’ll be drinking it later in life regardless, why not start while you’re young so that you can take advantage of its magical powers now?
22. Get lost while driving.
This will probably happen regardless of you reading this list or not, but still, in the case that your GPS never messes up (unlike mine), turn it off one day and go explore. When you’re young, you have the time to do random stuff like this; plus, you have an excuse to get lost since you have no life experience yet and folks will understand (right?).
23. Learn some astronomy.
This could be a class you take in college, or something you do on your own time. Either way, learning about space (the final frontier) is an awesome experience. Looking up into the night sky and seeing all of the stars is humbling, and makes you forget your earthly issues. This sensation only becomes more powerful once you know exactly what you’re looking at. This is better to do in your formative years so that you can use your youthful vigor to demand more funding for NASA. (Yes, I am biased!)
24. Don’t listen to conventional wisdom.
As a young person, you’re often told by others that you can’t or shouldn’t follow your dreams because of X or Y. Don’t listen to all of that jazz. They’ve never been in your shoes, and there’s no way things can turn out too badly if you put enough effort into what you’re doing. You only have one shot to live life the way you want to, so don’t miss your chance!
25. Get yourself organized!
My mom is an elementary school teacher, and she always talks to me about how one of the main skills they teach kids is how to keep their lives in order. Evidently this is an issue even amongst college-aged kids (as I can attest to). So, fix this by injecting a little bit of OCD into your life at an early age. Keep post-its, uh, posted around your desk to remind you of things you need to do. Use the reminders app on your iPhone. Keep a planner, and update it regularly.
26. Stop drinking soda.
It was tough, but when I was around 16 I cut myself off from soda for good. At first I couldn’t fathom drinking plain old water or iced tea at restaurants or at home, but over time I got used to it, and eventually acquired a taste for it. Nowadays, all of that high-fructose corn syrup in soda is overwhelming (read: disgusting) to my taste buds. Get started on quitting the sweet stuff before 30, and you’ll be healthier for the rest of your life.
27. Take a theater class!
I always hated theater in junior high and high school. As a senior in college, I discovered that I had room in my schedule to take an intro to theater class, and while I was fearful at first, I begrudgingly enrolled because I wanted to broaden my horizons. I knew I made the right choice after the first day of class. Take this when you’re young because you’ll learn valuable lessons about interacting with people, how to lose your stage fright, and stuff like that. I also got a girlfriend out of the class so I really can’t complain!
28. Become a leader.
People generally shy away from leadership positions. I’m no exception. That being said, as I did with theater, I bit the proverbial bullet and took on a leadership role in college to get over my fears. Turns out I wasn’t so bad at it! Everyone should have some sort of experience directing things while they’re young; you’ll become more of an independent thinker and won’t take as much crap when you’re older.
29. Move out of your parents’ house.
Sure, sticking around with Mom and Dad will save you tons of money. By the time you’re 29 though, you should really start thinking about getting your own place, not only for your own sake but for your parents’, who by that point are probably fantasizing about being empty-nesters day and night.
30. Cook your own meals for a week.
Most people go out to eat more than they make their own meals (no, I don’t have a statistic, but I’m probably right). In college I had to cook for myself regularly, and while it wasn’t always pretty, I became quite creative with what I was putting on the plate. Plus, it’s good practice for when you’re older and need to stick to a strict budget (eating out is so expensive). It’s far easier to choose to cook your own dinner when you know how to make things that are actually (mostly) edible!
Did I miss something?