8 Essential Pieces Of Advice Every Girl Must Hear Before Turning 18

By the time you reach the later stage of your teen years–as in, like, 17, 18, 19–it’s pretty normal to feel a little rudderless. You know, like, you have the vague, uneasy sensation that you (might) have a lot of potential to do…something with your life, so your life should have a little more drive and direction than it might have at the moment, but not really knowing where you want to take your theoretical potential. It’s exhausting!

Unfortunately, this rudderless feeling doesn’t go away by the time you finish being a teenager. But, fortunately, I found a question on Reddit today that reads as follows: Women 30 on up, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to your 18 year old self? This is an excellent question! I am 24, and, while I technically know more than I did when I was 18, I still find that I crave the advice of those who have lived slightly more life, and, as a result, have some wisdom to bestow. So, check out this legitimately wise, useful advice that every girl needs to hear before turning eighteen:

Most Guys Suck, TBH

BluebellElm22 said the one thing to keep in mind throughout one's teen years is that "He is a bad person." Evergreen content! Sure, not all men ever are bad, and chances are good that, at some point in your life, you will meet a guy who is technically a good person. But if you are dating, hooking up, or hanging out with a guy (whether it's sexual or non-sexual), and you have a bad feeling about him, trust your gut instinct. There are a lot of bad guys out there.

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But Know How To Build Credit

Still, once you feel like you're ready, you can take some (very small) baby steps with credit cards. SleepySalamander said, "I would also add to this that once you're nearing the end of your college career, start doing your own credit research because it is important to have some credit built. But credit cards should not be relied on for everyday expenses. You'll likely need one to get an apartment and things of that nature later on. I got my first card in junior year of college and only used it for one or two bills, keep it paid off, my credit score is in the 750 range and 25 yo me is thanking 20yo me for that." So, if you feel like you can budget and keep up with bills on your own, getting a credit card (but only one) isn't a bad idea.

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Be Careful With Credit Cards

Timeforme39 said, "DO NOT go into college and sign up for every credit card those companies start throwing at you. Just don't. Learn something about budgeting and finances. Credit card debt will haunt you for longer than you realize and it's hell to claw your way out of." Basically, just try not to get carried away with the allure of credit cards--those companies target young, vulnerable college students, so it's easy to fall down a hole of debt if you buy into their spiel.

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Pay Attention To Your Mental Health

Some common themes that came up frequently in the thread were mental health and therapy. Basically, if you can get therapy, do it. MadtownMaven said, "Get treatment for mental health issues now. There’s no need to suffer for years when there is help out there. Cognitive behavioral therapy can work. Do it." This is especially good advice if you're in college--many universities offer on-campus counseling, so you have a rare opportunity to see a therapist with little to no cost to yourself.

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Be Careful With Money

This might not be the sexiest advice, but, if you can, try to start saving your money. Imnotscarlet said, "Maxing out your expenses so you can enjoy your youth and then having to live frugally when you're older, is doing it backwards. Open a savings account. Start a mutual fund. Prepare for your financial future because no matter how far away it seems, it's a lot closer than you think and you're gonna need a lot of money when you get there. I'm not saying you have to live like a nun right now, but you do need to have a long-range plan even if you just put aside $10 a week at first. Because you're going to be young for only a very short time but you will eventually be old for the rest of your life. Do you want to retire in your 60s (or even your 50s), or do you want to have to work as a Walmart greeter when you're 78?" To be clear, there's nothing wrong with working at Walmart! But, if you can prevent having to do so when you should be retired, you might as well give it a shot now.

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Know How To Say "No"

Learning how to say "no" in any situation that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable is so, so important. In fact, mels_bels said, "The day you learn to say NO will be the best day of your life." Yep. Piggybacking on that, katashscar said that it's important to know how to express yourself when you "feel uncomfortable," and feel okay saying things like "You're in my space," "please stop talking to me," "You're making me uncomfortable," and "F*ck off." Basically, try not to worry so muhc about being polite or fitting in somewhere. If you feel uncomfortable with someone, let them know and get out of there.

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Keep Up With Your Schoolwork

Aeronerdette said, "Learn how to study, and join a study group. Stop procrastinating." This is good advice for anyone, tbh! If you're eighteen, you're probably in school of some sort. Take it seriously--unless you go to grad school later on, this is the last chance you have to actually be in school. Make it worth your time.

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Know That You Don't Have To Be Having Fun, Like, All The Time

Part of the pressure from being in your late teens is the fact that everyone around you seems to be telling you that these are going to be the "best years" of your life. Newsflash--this isn't true. Ramamamathrowaway said, "These are definitely not the best years of your life. Don't let someone else tell you - let yourself decide. Stop trying to live up to someone else's expectations...Things are gonna work out in a beautiful way. Keep your chin up." This is great advice because it reminds you that you don't need to spend your teen years focusing on how you should be having the most fun ever, because it's your absolute last chance to do so. Once you take deep breath, step back, and relax, chances are good that you'll have a lot more fun than you would have before.

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You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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