While adulthood is a wonderful thing (at times), I’m sure we all can agree that being educated on certain topics could have prevented some mistakes and even helped us achieve a higher level of success that we’re currently at in our lives. If you were like me, then you may have gotten some of that good advice but were too stubborn to listen. Like, of course I had it all figured out at 18 years old! I’m 18, so I’m grown now. The thing I used to always tell my dad was, “Let me fall if that’s the outcome, but you don’t know for sure that this is going to turn out the way that it turned out for you! Your thirty-something years of experience at life doesn’t make you an expert.” Although it was true that he wasn’t an expert because, let’s face it no one is, I wasn’t trying to hear it. In my mind, I literally knew it all and had life all figure out, because I was 18 and “grown now.” Right? Right? WRONG!
There are definitely things that I wish I had known before transitioning into adulthood. I remember that very moment that my mom said, “I’m not paying your cell phone bill anymore. You’re going over on your data plan every month after I told you to watch it, so you can pay for it now.” Ladies and gentlemen, that was my very first lesson in “Bills don’t pay themselves.” I totally learned the hard way that you must PRIORITIZE or you will quickly REALIZE that the services you thought you could pay later to instead get that outfit or go on that trip, will most definitely get cut tf off. Priorities, people. You can ignore them, but they will only bite you in the rear when you do.
So here I am at 27 years old, dealing with the aftermath of some of the mistakes that I made during my 18-25 years of life. Hell, I’m sure I made a few at this very age as well, but here are the top three things that I wish I knew before the age of 25:
1. The importance of credit.
You need it to buy a car, you need it to buy a house, a cell phone, basically anything if you live in this world. Screw up that credit and you’re only screwing up your life. Now, what I wish more black families were taught is how to build your child’s credit before they go off to college. In school, I was so confused as to how these kids were buying brand new cars and apartments. I just didn’t understand. Here I am, searching high and low for someone to co-sign ANYTHING for me (which I guarantee you I didn’t need) but these kids were doing it on their own. No cosigner needed. It’s wasn’t until I got a little older that I found out that some parents actually open credit cards in their children’s name and make small purchases on the card, while paying the bill on time for 10+ years. So, of course, they’re leaving home with a 750 credit score! Unfortunately, I haven’t heard of too many black families doing this. I’ve had countless conversations with my peers about credit and someone always says that they wish someone would’ve discussed this with them when they were younger and emphasized the importance of the role that credit plays in your lifestyle and well-being. You’re lucky if your parents even mention credit! Well, my dad did. Did I listen? Of course not! Well looking back on it today, I sure wish I did!
2. Save your coins.
Now that I’ve mentioned credit, it’s important to also mention saving money! How many times have we made impulse purchases then get home and immediately suffer from buyer’s remorse? Well for me, too many times! Adults have certain responsibilities such as bills or maybe you have children. Spending unnecessary money is not a wise decision. In life, anything can happen! That nice, cushy job that you have today could very well be gone tomorrow. The question is: are you financially prepared for something like that? If not, it’s time to do some re-evaluating.
3. The importance of internships.
I wish I knew this before turning 18! Some college students are completely against the idea of unpaid internships, which I just can’t understand. If you’re in the right internship program, you have a foot in the door to the industry that you want to build a career in so that’s an opportunity that you must seize. Not many people know this, but I was working at sprint 2 years ago, however, I knew that wasn’t where I wanted to be. I spent the next few months reaching out to every entertainment/public relations company in the Houston area and bugged the crap out of them. I even emailed Beyonce’s dad, Mathew Knowles. I wasn’t 100% sure I’d get a call back from any of those companies, let alone Mathew Knowles. However, Mathew’s assistant did reach out to me about an unpaid internship with the company. I knew that it would be difficult to work at his company 3-4 days a week without pay and work at Sprint, but I also knew that it was going to be worth it in the end, so I accepted the offer. Not long after that, I was offered a full-time position with the company. Although I hadn’t worked there too long, the name and experience definitely helps my resume stand out from others and I’m sure I wouldn’t be at the great company I’m at today without that unpaid internship! It took me until the age of 25 to figure it out, but better late than never!
If I had known better, I’m pretty sure I could have avoided unnecessary bumps in the road in life but as they say, you live and you learn. It would’ve been great to have learned before I lived, but sometimes experience is the best teacher, and for someone as independent and stubborn as me, I insisted on learning it that way. Unfortunately, that only leaves me amending the things I either didn’t do or had done incorrectly in the past. I’m still learning today. FYI: At 27 years old, I still do not have all the answers, and the truth is, I never will. That’s something that I had to learn, but a great lesson nonetheless. Always remember, If you’re not learning, you’re not growing so always keep an open mind and never be afraid to be wrong. If you’re wrong about something, just make sure that you’re to open to finding out what is right.