The Pew Research Center says Generation Z is made up of more diverse people than previous generations. People in this generation have one thing in common, though: They all have promise and potential. While they may all differ in levels of privilege and opportunities, each young person has inherent value and something to offer the world if only they are given a chance.
If you are in your late teens, about to graduate high school, and already to feel lost and conflicted, there are plenty of steps you can take to live your late teens to the fullest and to set yourself up for success.
Learn how to save
The majority of Americans who have financial regret say that their biggest one is not saving enough money in their younger years. Your late teens may seem like a time to spend freely and enjoy what you have, but financial literacy also takes a lot of discipline and learning from your mistakes. Saving money is like a muscle: The more you practice it and the earlier you start, the stronger your saving habits will be. The earlier you start with building up financial health, the better.
If you can, travel the world
Explore gap year programs around the world. This will help you build up some experience before you go to college, and it will help you feel like you sowed your wanderlust oats before spending the rest of your days in a college or university.
Find ways to help the world
You only need to look through Twitter to see how much need there is in the world. Generation Z also has a reputation for being aware of what’s going on in the world, and rightly so, because we are battling with so much injustice everywhere. Your late teens are the perfect time for you to figure out what advocacy you’re passionate about and finding practical ways to help.
Master the art of advocating for yourself
Advocating for yourself may look like the following:
- Knowing how to ask for help when you need it.
- Learning how to set boundaries when you feel like people are encroaching on them.
- Mastering looking at people in the eye when you’re talking to them and giving a firm handshake.
- Understanding your value and never short-changing yourself in relationships.
- Gaining the ability to apologise and humble yourself when you make mistakes.
Being your own champion can go a long way in finding healing when you’re wounded and jumping on available opportunities. Contrary to popular belief, there are very few perks to being a wallflower.
Know how to prioritise
None of us have unlimited resources, whether it’s our finances, time, or energy. Your late teens are the perfect time to know the people and things in your life that hold the most value and prioritising them. Put first things first, like your family, school, future career, health, financial life, and other significant relationships, and everything else will fall into place.
Find your passion
Indeed, life is not a race, and you might very well discover your true passion in your 20s, 30s, 40s, and even beyond those years. But if you discover them in your late teens, you will be on track to achieving your goals as early as possible. Find out what makes you come alive with passion, what refuels, motivates, and recharges you. While not everyone has the luxury of doing their passion for a living, you can still do it on the side for the rest of your life.
Form healthy habits and routines
Remember the discipline of saving and how it’s like a muscle? Forming healthy habits is the same way. The earlier you start, the more these habits will be ingrained into your psyche and day-to-day comings and goings. Eating right, exercising regularly, waking up early, not procrastinating—these are habits that don’t come naturally to us. Starting early in life might help you turn these habits from duties to discipline to delight.
Learn the value of hard work
And lastly, it’s never too early to learn that hard work is of utmost importance. Those with less privilege and fewer opportunities will already know this. But for the others who have the world at their fingertips, hard work is still paramount since nothing is promised to us, as the COVID-19 crisis has taught the world. So no matter your stature and position in life, learn the value of hard work and perseverance, and you’re already setting yourself up for future success no matter your current circumstance.